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Parliamentary questions
14 December 2010
Question for written answer
to the Commission
Rule 117
Ivo Belet (PPE)

 Subject: VAT rate for newspapers and magazines

Various Member States apply reduced rates of VAT or even a zero rate to newspapers and magazines. This is very much bound up with the importance of news reporting to a democratic society. However, if the same information is supplied on websites or in a digital version, it is subject to VAT at the normal rate. It is argued that the difference is justified because of the distinction between supplying goods and rendering services.

In the light of the Digital Agenda and the development of a genuine knowledge-based economy, ought this distinction still to be maintained?

Would it not be desirable to eliminate the difference in treatment between offline and online news reporting, making digital newspapers and magazines likewise subject to a reduced rate of VAT, so that equal competition can be ensured between paper and digital news reporting?

As news reporting is an activity of general interest, ought it not to be eligible for exemption from VAT under Article 132 of Directive 2006/112/EC?

Original language of question: NLOJ C 265 E, 09/09/2011
Last updated: 20 December 2010Legal notice