France: Towards a super reduced VAT rate for digital press publications

According to a recently published press release, France is considering to apply a super reduced VAT rate for online press publications (2,1% instead of 19,6%) and this without the approval of Brussels.

As reported in previous posts, France and Luxembourg already started on 1 January 2012 to apply (super) reduced VAT rates for e-books (5,5% in France and 3% in Luxembourg) making them the cheapest countries to sell e-books in the whole EU.

The EU Commission saw this as an infringement against the EU VAT Directive and initiated infringement proceedings against both France and Luxembourg (Case No 2012/4080).

With this new proposal to apply a super reduced VAT rate for online press publications,  France seems to go for a frank approach and prepare itself for the negotiations in the framework of the review of the EU VAT rates on which a proposal from the European Commission is expected next autumn.

About Sophie Claessens

Senior Tax Manager PricewaterhouseCoopers Tax Consultants Belgium email: sophie.claessens@be.pwc.com Mobile: +32 473 91 05 67 Office: +32 3 259 3169

Sophie Claessens is an international VAT advisor, based in Antwerp, Belgium, with a particular focus on business-to-consumer industries, including telecommunications, media, internet and e-commerce. She supports major industry players on sector-specific issues, including VAT compliance at both an operations and strategic level, and is directly involved in policy work for businesses in these industries, both at the Belgian level and at the level of the European Commission. She is responsible for indirect taxes in the communications sector at PwC Belgium and is a driver of PwC's Business Working Group on the EU 2015 VAT changes. She has authored articles for publication in Belgian and international tax journals.