Keith Gascoigne

Writer’s Blog


Epublishing: VAT on ebooks

I didn’t know that there was VAT charged on ebooks until recently – when I uploaded my first ebook for sale. When I tried to find out about the rate of VAT on ebooks I was confused. It seems that there has been no joined-up thinking about this mess in the European Union - whatever it calls itself now. Every country has their own rules. As far as I know (according to The Book Seller); France charges 5.5%; Luxembourg 3%; in other countries ebooks are exempt from VAT at the moment because there is no VAT on print books.

According to one report, VAT on ebooks will be charged at the rate that the purchaser’s country levies on books and ebooks so if a purchaser lives in France that person will pay 5.5% TVA and if he or she lives in Luxembourg the tax will be 3%, etc.. It could only happen in Europe.

For a start there shouldn’t be VAT on ebooks because this is a tax on learning as we all should know after the problems preventing VAT being levied on printed books some time ago and yet some governments see fit to tax learning through ebooks. This is oppressive, destructive and against the right of man, woman and student. It seems to me to be a deliberate ploy to put off people reading and finding out things for themselves and is plainly and simply wrong.

I can’t remember any debate about this anywhere either so has it been slipped through while we were all looking the other way – being constantly diverted from what is important to us by the mountains of trivia in the mainstream news and media now to obfuscate and confuse, as so often happens in things politics now.

If you are a reader of ebooks, as many people now are, and the numbers grow every reading day, how do you feel about paying yet another tax on your reading?

If you are an author of ebooks how do you feel about paying another tax from your income (there is a limit to the price readers will pay for an ebook and often authors will reduce their prices and absorb some of the taxes on it to remain competitive). Authors, like most working people, already pay income tax, and act as an unpaid tax collectors for our inefficient government.

We might feel a little different about paying another tax if we all knew that the money taken from us in taxes would be well spent but we are all finding out that much of it is wasted in inefficiencies, stupidities. political sleaze, greasing the wheels of politics, paying the taxes of the rich and powerful who seem to be getting off paying taxes while the masses of us have to pay more and more in taxes. An average family now needs an extra 46% income to cover the rise in the cost of living since 2008 (see report by UK Joseph Rowntree Foundation at or see the UK Guardian newspaper). 2008 was when we were all taken for a very expensive ride by a combination of our governments and the major banks after the inefficient governments allowed the bankers to do whatever they wanted and screw everything up and then leave the people to pay the bill.

There should be no tax on reading. If you are a reader then complain to your government, the ebook retailers, anyone.

If you are an ebook writer (like me), then remember that we writers are the source of all the products that the major ebook retailers sell so we do have some power to stop this idiocy and threat to our livelihoods.


Class: Epublishing tax.

Tags: corruption, political-incompetence, tax on reading, writing, etc., etc., etc..

Date: 2014-06-27.