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VAT Exemptions

Dáil Éireann Debate, Tuesday - 6 May 2014

Tuesday, 6 May 2014

Questions (171)

Seán Kyne

Question:

171. Deputy Seán Kyne asked the Minister for Finance if, in the context of the growth of e-readers and e-books and in the benefits of encouraging, from an education and literacy perspective, reading, if consideration will be given to reviewing the charging of VAT on e-books; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [20309/14]

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Written answers (Question to Finance)

The VAT rating of goods and services is subject to the requirements of EU VAT law with which Irish VAT law must comply. In this regard, all digitised publications, including e-books are treated as the supply of a service liable at the standard rate of VAT, which in Ireland is 23%. While Ireland applies a zero VAT rate to printed books including atlases, children's picture, drawing and colouring books and books of music, by virtue of a derogation under the VAT Directive for such exceptional treatment, there is no option under EU VAT Law to either exempt e-books from VAT or to apply the zero VAT rate or a reduced VAT rate to such products.

The different VAT treatment of printed books and e-books reflects the nature of these products, the latter being a richer product often providing content beyond simple text to include embedded digital music, software, film and internet links. While it is possible to reduce the standard rate on e-books to below 23%, such a reduction would, under EU VAT Law, have to apply to all goods and services at the standard VAT rate, which would be excessively costly to the Exchequer.

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