Bulgaria country outline, flag and text composite

On 10 June, the Bulgarian Parliament adopted a proposal to reduce VAT on several goods and services, including books (only print), from the standard 20% rate to a reduced rate of 9%. 

The measure, which will enter into force as of the 1st of July, is part of the government’s recovery plan from the COVID-19 crisis. It is meant to be a temporary initiative, until the end of 2021. It is nonetheless very significant, as Bulgaria was one of two EU Members States to never have applied reduced VAT on books (the other being Denmark) – whereas the other 25 have a reduced or super-reduced (or even zero) rate for print books, as do the UK and EEA countries Norway and Iceland. 

Moreover, 18 Member States apply a reduced rate to digital books. The possibility to apply reduced VAT to print books has been enshrined in EU legislation since many years, whereas only in 2018 was the legal framework modified to include digital publications. Two Member States (Spain and Estonia) and the UK adopted or sped up the adoption of reduced rates on digital publications as a crisis-related measure.

Thanks to Enrico Turrin of FEP for this update.

The UK decision to “axe the reading tax”, the abolishment of the 20 % value-added tax (VAT) on digital editions, has been fast-tracked and entered into force on May 1, 2020.

IPA FEP VAT Report cover crop

Following legislative change in the European Union (EU) on 2 October 2018, EU Member States continue to reduce VAT rates for eBooks and audiobooks, often aligning them with physical books. Slovenia and Poland are the latest countries to act while the Publishers Association in the UK Campaigns hard.

IPA FEP VAT report cover

Following legislative change in the European Union (EU) on 2 October 2018, EU Member States can align the VAT rates for eBooks and audiobooks with physical books. A number of countries have been quick of the mark but in others publishers are campaigning hard.

EU Flag

The International Publishers Association welcomes the news that the EU’s Economic and Financial Affairs Council has unanimously agreed to allow Member States to apply reduced VAT rates to eBooks, bringing them into alignment with physical books, which in most cases carried a lower rate.

The IPA has welcomed a progressive new law announced in the United Arab Emirates on Monday (31 October) that exempts reading materials from VAT and entitles employees to read during working hours.

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