In a further effort to modernise VAT for the digital economy, the Council agreed on 2 October 2018 to allow EU Member States to apply a reduced, super-reduced or zero VAT rate to electronic publications (such as e-books), thereby allowing alignment of VAT rules for electronic and physical publications. Several EU Member States have already made use of this option in 2019 (e.g. Belgium as per April 2019 and Sweden as per July 2019). Below an overview of the EU Member States that will change their VAT rates on electronic publications in 2020.

This is a welcome development as it creates a level playing field for publication businesses. The most notable absentee so far is the UK, which will continue to apply the standard VAT rate (of 20%) to electronic publications. Note also that the above reduced VAT rates may not be applicable to publications wholly or predominantly devoted to advertising and/or video content or audible music.