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09 December 2021

European News Publishers Hail New Zero-rating VAT Rules

European news publishers have welcomed EU Finance Ministers’ adoption of amendments to the EU VAT Directive which will allow Member States to zero-rate journalistic publications in print and online.

News Media Europe executive director Wout van Wijk said: “By allowing Member States to zero-rate journalistic publications, Member States recognise the vital role of the press to our democracies.”

In the UK last year, the Government announced that e-books, e-newspapers, e-magazines and academic e-journals will be VAT zero-rated following sustained campaigning by the News Media Association.

The plans were then fast-tracked to provide a boost to readers and publishers during the coronavirus outbreak.

In Europe, NME has lobbied to allow the zero-rating of journalistic publications in the wake of the COVID19 pandemic to provide immediate relief to the sector.

Previously, zero-rates were as a general rule prohibited under the VAT Directive unless specific derogations were granted to Member States as part of their EU accession treaties, NME said.

The European Commission’s 2018 proposal to amend the VAT Directive as regards rates formed the basis for the legal changes highlighted above.