Scrap the reading tax!

It has been a longstanding principle that VAT is zero-rated on sales of printed books, in order to prevent a tax on reading and a tax on knowledge.

An anomaly in EU law has prevented the Government from extending the same status to digital publications such as audiobooks and e-books. But earlier this month the European Commission agreed to allow all member states to give e-books and audiobooks the same VAT-free status as printed books.

We are asking our members to write to your MPs, urging them to call on the Government to implement this change as part of the upcoming budget on 29 October. We have drafted a template letter below, and you can find out here who your MP is and how to contact them.

If you do write in, it would be really helpful if you could let us know by emailing tgallagher@societyofauthors.org so we have an idea of many emails have been sent. 

Template letter

Personal messages are always more effective in getting the attention of MPs, so please customise if possible, and remember to include your address in the email to prove that you are a constituent.  

Subject: Scrap the reading tax

Dear

I am writing as your constituent and a member of the Society of Authors regarding VAT on digital publications such as e-books and audiobooks.

It has been a longstanding principle that VAT is zero-rated on sales of printed books, in order to prevent a tax on reading and a tax on knowledge.

An anomaly in EU law has prevented the Government from extending the same status to e-publications such as audiobooks and e-books. But earlier this month the EU agreed to allow all member states to give e-books and audiobooks the same VAT-free status as printed books.

It is now within the UK’s power to scrap the reading tax by reducing VAT on e-books and audiobooks to zero. The cost to the Treasury is likely to be negligible. But the impact on authors and readers would be considerable, enabling more books to be sold and more people to experience the pleasures and educational benefits of reading.

It is important that the UK does not delay and risk putting itself at a competitive disadvantage with other EU countries. I would therefore be grateful if you could write to the Chancellor ahead of the Budget on 29 October, urging him to bring digital publications into line with printed books by reducing VAT down to 0%. Together, we can scrap the reading tax.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Yours sincerely,

COMMENTS

Roberta Mansell (13/10/2018 08:40)
" Dear Sir,
As a dislexic I know that any opportunity to read anything is vital. I also have two autistic grandchildren who are unable to attend main stream schools so any way they can access information and literature is a great boon.

Thank you,
Roberta Mansell, 32 Norfolk road, Southampton SO15 5AS"
Gerry Abbott (13/10/2018 11:24)
" To impose VAT on E-books is to discourage reading. Get rid of the tax."
Helen McCabe (13/10/2018 10:34)
" I am unsure whether I had to fill in the details of rights to vote as I always have had them and are on the voting list. I am always sent a letter to vote by proxy. Why have I had to fill in another form?"
Despina Katsirea (12/10/2018 10:27)
" Reading is reading in whatever form this appears, taxing the one form and not the other tends to be illegal, and preventing people from choosing in which form they want to read a book."
David McDowall (12/10/2018 08:14)
" Dear Zac Goldsmith, I'm a member of the Society of Authors as well as your constituent. Personally, I have nothing to gain from scrapping VAT on e-books, but I strongly believe in the importance of giving every encouragement to reading. It was the Tory MP for Oxford University, AP Herbert, who achieved the removal of purchase tax from books, on the grounds that the government should do all it could to encourage learning. Disincentives to literacy and the book trade harm individuals and the British economy. E-book VAT is an anomaly. Please oppose it.
Many thanks

David McDowall"
Doreen McBride (12/10/2018 04:47)
" To add vat to e-books is illogical. A lot of people read them and a tax on learning is foolish."
LEAVE A COMMENT



 Security code