The following article with the title “EU Takes on VAT Treatment of E-Book Sales” has been written by David D. Stewart, a legal reporter of Tax Notes International, and publishes in Tax Notes International on 16 July 2012, page 199.
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As reported previously here, here, and here, France and Luxembourg have unilaterally decided to tax e-books at a (super)reduced VAT rate. They decided to tax them as “normal” books instead as e-services as they should be treated by the letter of the EU VAT Directive. This gave e-book traders established in France and Luxembourg a considerable advantage when selling e-books to their EU customers compared to e-book traders in other EU countries as it made the e-books in France and Luxembourg approx. 12% cheaper than before (reduction to a 3% super-reduced VAT rate instead of the standard rate of 15% in Luxembourg and to 7% instead of 19.6% in France).
May seems to be a very busy month for everyone dealing with vouchers.
First the ECJ’s judgement in the case C-520/10 Lebera has been published on 3 May 2012, which was shortly followed by the text of the proposal for the new Voucher Directive changes to the UK voucher rules, effective as of 10 May 2012. Quite a busy week for a subject discussed for years without any major breakthrough.
Luxembourg is currently probably the nicest place to establish an e-business sales entity in the EU (“e-hub”) and this will probably not change before y2015. This is due to several reasons: Find out more
Here is the big announcement – I have managed to snatch the last speaker spot at the Internet World 2012 taking place in London next week (24 – 26 April 2012). I will be speaking at the free for all seminar on Thursday, 26 April 2012, as part of the Digital Solutions Theater. The workshop starts at 3 PM London time and should last 20 min. This is perfect – I will be speaking about “VAT and Monetisation” after all and my guess is that if I speak a minute longer everybody will be running out of the hall (through fire exits or jumping out of the windows if necessary).
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Satit Rungkasiri, the director-general of the Revenue Department, said he was reluctant to impose harsh measures on the mostly young entrepreneurs who operate e-commerce sites. Authorities in fact want to encourage the growth of e-commerce as trade barriers fall with the launch of the ASEAN Economic Community in 2015. Mr Satit said: Find out more
In 2015 all European countries will charge VAT on all eservices provided to their residents no matter where the eservice provider will be located (i.e. in Europe, America, Asia or elsewhere). This will be the result of the new B2C VAT rules and the technology which will enable to enforce these new rules. The VAT taxation will lead to increased sales prices of digital products (by as much as 27%) and/or decreased the profit margin for the e-businesses. In addition compliance and admin costs will increase as a result of increased tax compliance and reporting procedures. All this will directly impact the profit line. Alternative is even worse – e-businesses not willing to register and charge VAT will be shut out of the European market.
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The Luxembourg VAT Authorities have issued a Circular stating that no distinction should be made between books on physical and electronic means, meaning that the super-reduced 3% rate already applicable to books should also apply to e-books. The Circular is effective as of 1.1.2012 (read more). It seems to us that Luxembourg has adopted this position as a response to France’s recent decision to adopt the reduced rate of 7% for e-books published by companies based in France (read more), even though Luxembourg officials claim that it is based on the content of the “Green paper” on future of the EU VAT system, which is actually aiming to plot the future of the EU VAT system (and not current VAT legislation).
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