Procedure : 2016/0374(CNS)
Document stages in plenary
Document selected : A8-0189/2017

Texts tabled :

A8-0189/2017

Debates :

Votes :

PV 01/06/2017 - 7.2

Texts adopted :

P8_TA(2017)0233

REPORT     *
PDF 689kWORD 93k
9.5.2017
PE 599.762v02-00 A8-0189/2017

on the proposal for a Council directive amending Directive 2006/112/EC, as regards rates of value added tax applied to books, newspapers and periodicals

(COM(2016)0758 – C8‑0529/2016 – 2016/0374(CNS))

Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs

Rapporteur: Tom Vandenkendelaere

AMENDMENTS
DRAFT EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT LEGISLATIVE RESOLUTION
 EXPLANATORY STATEMENT
 OPINION of the Committee on Culture and Education
 PROCEDURE – COMMITTEE RESPONSIBLE
 FINAL VOTE BY ROLL CALL IN COMMITTEE RESPONSIBLE

DRAFT EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT LEGISLATIVE RESOLUTION

on the proposal for a Council directive amending Directive 2006/112/EC, as regards rates of value added tax applied to books, newspapers and periodicals

(COM(2016)0758 – C8‑0529/2016 – 2016/0374(CNS))

(Special legislative procedure – consultation)

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the Commission proposal to the Council (COM(2016)0758),

–  having regard to Article 113 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, pursuant to which the Council consulted Parliament (C8‑0529/2016),

–  having regard to Rule 78c of its Rules of Procedure,

–  having regard to the report of the Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs and the opinion of the Committee on Culture and Education (A8-0189/2017),

1.  Approves the Commission proposal as amended;

2.  Calls on the Commission to alter its proposal accordingly, in accordance with Article 293(2) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union;

3.  Calls on the Council to notify Parliament if it intends to depart from the text approved by Parliament;

4.  Asks the Council to consult Parliament again if it intends to substantially amend the Commission proposal;

5.  Instructs its President to forward its position to the Council, the Commission and the national parliaments.

Amendment     1

Proposal for a directive

Recital -1 (new)

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

 

(-1)  The difference between expected VAT revenues and VAT actually collected (the so-called 'VAT gap') in the Union was approximately EUR 170 billion in 2013 and cross-border fraud amounts to a VAT revenue loss in the Union of approximately EUR 50 billion a year, all of which makes VAT an important issue to be addressed at Union level.

Amendment    2

Proposal for a directive

Recital 1

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

(1)  Council Directive 2006/112/EC1 provides that Member States may apply reduced rates of value added tax (VAT) to publications on any means of physical support. However, a reduced VAT rate cannot be applied to electronically supplied publications, which have to be taxed at the standard VAT rate.

(1)  Council Directive 2006/112/EC1 provides that Member States may apply reduced rates of value added tax (VAT) to publications on any means of physical support. However, a reduced VAT rate cannot be applied to electronically supplied publications, which have to be taxed at the standard VAT rate, thereby creating a disadvantage for electronically supplied publications and holding back the development of this market. That comparative disadvantage could impede the development of the digital economy in the Union.

____________

_____________

Council Directive 2006/112/EC of 28 November 2006 on the common system of value added tax (OJ L 347, 11.12.2006, p. 1).

Council Directive 2006/112/EC of 28 November 2006 on the common system of value added tax (OJ L 347, 11.12.2006, p. 1).

Amendment    3

Proposal for a directive

Recital 1 a (new)

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

 

(1a)  In its resolution of 13 October 2011 on the future of VAT1a, the European Parliament recalled that one of the key features of VAT is the principle of neutrality and, for that reason, it argued that ‘all books, newspapers and magazines, regardless of format, should be treated in exactly the same way’.

 

_________________

 

1a P7_TA(2011)0436.

Amendment    4

Proposal for a directive

Recital 2

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

(2)  In line with the Commission's Digital Single Market Strategy1 and in order to keep abreast of technological progress in a digital economy, Member States should be enabled to align the VAT rates for electronically supplied publications with lower VAT rates for publications on any means of physical support.

(2)  In line with the Commission's Digital Single Market Strategy1, its ambition to ensure Europe’s global competitiveness and world leadership in the digital economy, Member States should be enabled to align the VAT rates for electronically supplied publications with lower VAT rates for publications on any means of physical support, thereby stimulating innovation, creation, investment and the production of new content, and facilitating digital learning, knowledge transfer and the access to, and promotion of, culture in the digital environment.

____________

_____________

COM(2015) 0192 final

COM(2015) 0192 final

Amendment    5

Proposal for a directive

Recital 2 a (new)

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

 

(2a)  Allowing Member States to apply reduced, super-reduced or zero rates to printed publications and electronic publications should ensure the transfer of economic benefits to consumers, thereby promoting reading, and to publishers, thereby encouraging investment in new content and, in the case of newspapers and magazines, reducing reliance on advertising.

Amendment     6

Proposal for a directive

Recital 3

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

(3)  In the Action Plan on VAT9 , the Commission outlined that electronically supplied publications should be able to benefit from the same preferential VAT rate treatment as publications on any means of physical support. To achieve this aim, this needs to include the possibility for all Member States to apply to the supply of books, newspapers and periodicals either a reduced VAT rate or lower reduced VAT rates including the possibility of granting exemptions with deductibility of the VAT paid at the preceding stage.

(3)  In the Action Plan on VAT9 , the Commission outlined that electronically supplied publications should be able to benefit from the same preferential VAT rate treatment as publications on any means of physical support. To achieve this aim, this needs to include the possibility for all Member States to apply to the supply of books, newspapers and periodicals either a reduced VAT rate or lower reduced VAT rates including the possibility of granting exemptions with deductibility of the VAT paid at the preceding stage. That proposal is in line with the objective of granting Member States more freedom to set their own VAT rates within a definitive destination-based VAT system.

_________________

_________________

9 COM(2016) 148 final

9 COM(2016) 148 final

Amendment     7

Proposal for a directive

Recital 3 a (new)

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

 

(3 a)  In line with the Action Plan on VAT, this Directive aims at simpler, more fraud-proof and business-friendly VAT systems across the Member States, as well as keeping pace with today's digital and mobile economy.

Amendment    8

Proposal for a directive

Recital 5

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

(5)  In order to prevent an extensive use of reduced VAT rates to audio-visual content, Member States should be enabled to apply a reduced rate to books, newspapers and periodicals, only if these publications, both on any means of physical support or electronically supplied, do not wholly or predominantly consist of music or video content.

(5)  In order to prevent an extensive use of reduced VAT rates to audio-visual content, Member States should be enabled to apply a reduced rate to books, newspapers and periodicals, only if these publications, both on any means of physical support or electronically supplied, do not wholly or predominantly consist of music or video content. Taking into account the importance of facilitating access to books, newspapers and periodicals for persons who are blind, visually impaired or otherwise print-disabled within the meaning of Directive ... of the European Parliament and of the Council1a, adapted and audio electronic books, newspapers and periodicals are to be understood as not wholly or predominantly consisting of music or video content. Therefore, reduced VAT rates could also be applied to those formats.

 

__________________

 

1a Directive ... of the European Parliament and of the Council on certain permitted uses of works and other subject-matter protected by copyright and related rights for the benefit of persons who are blind, visually impaired or otherwise print disabled and amending Directive 2001/29/EC on the harmonisation of certain aspects of copyright and related rights in the information society (COM(2016) 596 final, 2016/0278 (COD)) (OJ ..., p. ...).

Amendment     9

Proposal for a directive

Recital 5 a (new)

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

 

(5 a)  Granting freedom to Member States to apply reduced or super-reduced VAT rates for e-books, e-newspapers and e-periodicals could provide an opportunity for new profit margins for publishers and for investment in new content, compared to the current model which depends heavily on advertisement. A more general reflection on the funding model of e-content should also be started at Union level.

Amendment    10

Proposal for a directive

Recital 6 a (new)

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

(6a)  The flexibility granted to Member States in the context of the current proposal in no way prejudges the definitive VAT regime to be rolled out and in the context of which any increase in flexibility will have to be balanced against the impact on the functioning of the single market, the scope for VAT fraud, the rise in business costs and the risk of unfair competition.

Amendment    11

Proposal for a directive

Recital 6 b (new)

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

(6b)  Although this Directive allows Member States to rectify a situation of unequal treatment, it does not remove the need for a more coordinated, efficient and simpler system of reduced VAT rates with fewer exceptions.

Amendment     12

Proposal for a directive

Article 1 – paragraph 1 – point 3

Directive 2006/112/EC

Annex III – point 6

 

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

(6)  the supply, including on loan by libraries, of books, newspapers and periodicals, other than publications wholly or predominantly devoted to advertising and other than publications wholly or predominantly consisting of music or video content;

(6)  the supply, including on loan by libraries, of books, newspapers and periodicals, other than publications wholly or predominantly devoted to advertising and other than publications wholly or predominantly consisting of music or video content; including brochures, leaflets and similar printed matter, children’s picture, drawing or colouring books, music printed or in manuscript form, maps and hydrographic or similar charts.

Justification

In the current Directive, the above-mentioned categories are included in Annex III, point (6). In the text proposed by the Commission, these categories are not mentioned anymore. Therefore, in order to avoid different interpretations by Member States, the Commission should clarify whether the proposed Directive also applies to brochures, leaflets and similar printed matter, children’s picture, drawing or colouring books, music printed or in manuscript form, maps and hydrographic or similar charts.

Amendment     13

Proposal for a directive

Article 2 a (new)

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

 

Article 2 a

 

Monitoring

 

The European Commission shall, by ... three years after the entry into force of this Directive, produce a report identifying the Member States that have adopted similar reduced or super-reduced VAT rates for books, newspapers and periodicals and their electronic equivalent, and evaluate the impact of those measures in terms of budgetary implications and development of the cultural sector.


EXPLANATORY STATEMENT

Under the current VAT Directive (Council Directive 2006/12/EC), electronically supplied services including e-publications can only be taxed at the standard VAT rate of minimum 15%. As regards printed publications however, Member States are free to apply a reduced VAT rate (minimum 5%). Some Member States even obtained derogations allowing them to apply super-reduced (lower than 5%) or zero-rates.

Such a difference in treatment between printed and e-publications became less and less justifiable as the digital economy further developed. Therefore the Commission proposes to amend the VAT Directive and grant all Member States the option to apply the same reduced, super-reduced or even zero rates to electronically supplied publications as were already available for printed publications.

The supply of pure music and video content would continue to be taxed at the standard VAT rate, as would publications that predominantly consist of music and video content. Without prejudice to the interpretative powers of the Court of Justice, the proposal does not interfere with the Member States’ discretion to specify the terms of “books, newspapers and periodicals” and “predominantly consisting of”.

Your rapporteur welcomes this targeted proposal to correct the unequal VAT treatment of printed and e-publications, which has led to a significantly less favourable tax treatment of e-publications. He agrees with the Commission’s choice to decouple this issue from the forthcoming general proposal on rates and urges the Council to swiftly adopt this long overdue legislative modification.


OPINION of the Committee on Culture and Education (26.4.2017)

for the Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs

on the proposal for a Council directive amending Directive 2006/112/EC, as regards rates of value added tax applied to books, newspapers and periodicals

(COM(2016)0758 – C8‑0529/2016 – 2016/0374(CNS))

Rapporteur: Bogdan Andrzej Zdrojewski

SHORT JUSTIFICATION

Purpose and scope

The Commission's proposal is part of a broader VAT package designed to bring VAT rules into line with the realities of an increasingly digital economy. The package as a whole seeks to cut compliance costs and complexity for businesses, drive down non-compliance-related revenue losses for Member States and ensure that EU businesses are not disadvantaged vis-a-vis non-EU businesses because of VAT rules on imported goods. The package was already announced in the Digital Single Market Strategy and the VAT Action Plan.

The specific proposal to amend Directive 2006/112/EC (the VAT Directive) would enable Member States to apply the same VAT rate to e-publications (for example, e-books, e-newspapers and e-periodicals) as to print publications. Under existing rules, e-publications are treated as "electronically supplied services" and are thus subject to a minimum 15% tax rate. By contrast, Member States may tax physical publications at a reduced rate (minimum 5%), while some Member States have been granted the right to go below 5% (super-reduced rates) or even to apply zero rates to certain publications.

The proposal thus puts forward small technical adjustments to the VAT Directive to enable Member States to apply reduced rates, super-reduced rates or zero rates of VAT to e-publications.

Position of the Rapporteur

The Rapporteur welcomes the proposal, which reflects the Parliament’s long-held view that the distinction in VAT law between physical and electronic publications is untenable in the digital age. The new legislation should establish clarity in the media and books market, help businesses to explore new models (such as offers combining physical and e-books, which were previously impossible) and ultimately drive down prices for consumers, thus boosting access to cultural content.

The Rapporteur has proposed two targeted amendments to the Commission proposal. The first underscores that creating a level playing field in terms of VAT rules between physical and electronic publication formats should help to drive innovation and investment in creative content and thus improve overall access to cultural goods and educational materials. The Rapporteur underlines, in this context, the increasing role of digital cultural and creative content distribution in facilitating access to cultural materials and enabling authors and content providers to reach new and larger audiences. The second is merely a point of clarification. As audio publications are currently treated for VAT purposes in the same way as classic physical publications, so adapted and audio versions of e-publications are to be treated in the same way as ordinary e-publications. This is important to ensure that people who are blind, visually impaired or print-disabled can benefit from this change to the VAT rules. The Commission has clarified that adapted and audio e-publications would qualify for reduced VAT rates under the proposal. The amendment to the recital is included therefore to underscore this point and explain its rationale.

AMENDMENTS

The Committee on Culture and Education calls on the Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs, as the committee responsible, to take into account the following amendments:

Amendment    1

Proposal for a directive

Recital 1 a (new)

 

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

 

(1a)  In its resolution of 13 October 2011 on the future of VAT1a, the European Parliament recalled that one of the key features of VAT is the principle of neutrality and, for that reason, it argued that ‘all books, newspapers and magazines, regardless of format, should be treated in exactly the same way’.

 

_________________

 

1a P7_TA(2011)0436.

Amendment    2

Proposal for a directive

Recital 2

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

(2)  In line with the Commission's Digital Single Market Strategy8 and in order to keep abreast of technological progress in a digital economy, Member States should be enabled to align the VAT rates for electronically supplied publications with lower VAT rates for publications on any means of physical support.

(2)  In line with the Commission's Digital Single Market Strategy8 and in order to keep abreast of technological progress in a digital economy, in order to stimulate innovation, creation, investment and the production of new content, and in order to facilitate digital learning, knowledge transfer and the access to, and promotion of, culture in the digital environment, Member States should be enabled to align the VAT rates for electronically supplied publications with lower VAT rates for publications on any means of physical support. Revenue raised by aligning those electronic and physical VAT rates should be reinvested to ensure the growth of the sector.

__________________

__________________

8 COM(2015) 0192 final

8 COM(2015) 0192 final

Amendment    3

Proposal for a directive

Recital 2 a (new)

 

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

 

(2a)  Allowing Member States to apply reduced, super-reduced or zero rates to printed publications and electronic publications should ensure the transfer of economic benefits to consumers, thus promoting reading, and also to publishers, thus encouraging investment in new content and, in the case of newspapers and magazines, reducing reliance on advertising.

Amendment    4

Proposal for a directive

Recital 5

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

(5)  In order to prevent an extensive use of reduced VAT rates to audio-visual content, Member States should be enabled to apply a reduced rate to books, newspapers and periodicals, only if these publications, both on any means of physical support or electronically supplied, do not wholly or predominantly consist of music or video content.

(5)  In order to prevent an extensive use of reduced VAT rates to audio-visual content, Member States should be enabled to apply a reduced rate to books, newspapers and periodicals, only if these publications, both on any means of physical support or electronically supplied, do not wholly or predominantly consist of music or video content. Taking into account the importance of facilitating access to books, newspapers and periodicals for persons who are blind, visually impaired or otherwise print-disabled within the meaning of Directive ... of the European Parliament and of the Council1a, adapted and audio electronic books, newspapers and periodicals are to be understood as not wholly or predominantly consisting of music or video content. Therefore, reduced VAT rates can also be applied to those formats.

 

__________________

 

1a Directive ... of the European Parliament and of the Council on certain permitted uses of works and other subject-matter protected by copyright and related rights for the benefit of persons who are blind, visually impaired or otherwise print disabled and amending Directive 2001/29/EC on the harmonisation of certain aspects of copyright and related rights in the information society (COM(2016) 596 final, 2016/0278 (COD)) (OJ ..., p. ...).

PROCEDURE – COMMITTEE ASKED FOR OPINION

Title

Rates of value added tax applied to books, newspapers and periodicals

References

COM(2016)0758 – C8-0529/2016 – 2016/0374(CNS)

Committee responsible

       Date announced in plenary

ECON

16.1.2017

 

 

 

Opinion by

       Date announced in plenary

CULT

16.1.2017

Rapporteur

       Date appointed

Bogdan Andrzej Zdrojewski

15.2.2017

Discussed in committee

22.3.2017

 

 

 

Date adopted

25.4.2017

 

 

 

Result of final vote

+:

–:

0:

30

0

0

Members present for the final vote

Isabella Adinolfi, Dominique Bilde, Andrea Bocskor, Nikolaos Chountis, Angel Dzhambazki, Jill Evans, María Teresa Giménez Barbat, Giorgos Grammatikakis, Petra Kammerevert, Andrew Lewer, Svetoslav Hristov Malinov, Curzio Maltese, Stefano Maullu, Luigi Morgano, Momchil Nekov, John Procter, Michaela Šojdrová, Yana Toom, Helga Trüpel, Sabine Verheyen, Julie Ward, Theodoros Zagorakis, Bogdan Andrzej Zdrojewski, Milan Zver, Krystyna Łybacka

Substitutes present for the final vote

Norbert Erdős, Elena Gentile, Dietmar Köster, Ilhan Kyuchyuk, Emma McClarkin

FINAL VOTE BY ROLL CALL IN COMMITTEE ASKED FOR OPINION

30

+

ECR

Angel Dzhambazki, Andrew Lewer, Emma McClarkin, John Procter

GUE/NGL

Nikolaos Chountis, Curzio Maltese

PPE

Andrea Bocskor, Norbert Erdős, Svetoslav Hristov Malinov, Stefano Maullu, Sabine Verheyen, Theodoros Zagorakis, Bogdan Andrzej Zdrojewski, Milan Zver, Michaela Šojdrová

S&D

Elena Gentile, Giorgos Grammatikakis, Petra Kammerevert, Dietmar Köster, Luigi Morgano, Momchil Nekov, Julie Ward, Krystyna Łybacka

Verts/ALE

Jill Evans, Helga Trüpel

ALDE

María Teresa Giménez Barbat, Ilhan Kyuchyuk, Yana Toom

EFDD

Isabella Adinolfi

ENF

Dominique Bilde

0

-

-

-

0

0

-

-

Key to symbols:

+  :  in favour

-  :  against

0  :  abstention


PROCEDURE – COMMITTEE RESPONSIBLE

Title

Rates of value added tax applied to books, newspapers and periodicals

References

COM(2016)0758 – C8-0529/2016 – 2016/0374(CNS)

Date of consulting Parliament

20.12.2016

 

 

 

Committee responsible

       Date announced in plenary

ECON

16.1.2017

 

 

 

Committees asked for opinions

       Date announced in plenary

IMCO

16.1.2017

CULT

16.1.2017

JURI

16.1.2017

 

Not delivering opinions

       Date of decision

IMCO

25.1.2017

JURI

25.1.2017

 

 

Rapporteurs

       Date appointed

Tom Vandenkendelaere

8.12.2016

 

 

 

Discussed in committee

27.3.2017

3.5.2017

 

 

Date adopted

3.5.2017

 

 

 

Result of final vote

+:

–:

0:

48

1

2

Members present for the final vote

Pervenche Berès, Udo Bullmann, Esther de Lange, Markus Ferber, Jonás Fernández, Brian Hayes, Gunnar Hökmark, Danuta Maria Hübner, Cătălin Sorin Ivan, Petr Ježek, Barbara Kappel, Georgios Kyrtsos, Alain Lamassoure, Philippe Lamberts, Werner Langen, Olle Ludvigsson, Ivana Maletić, Costas Mavrides, Luděk Niedermayer, Stanisław Ożóg, Dariusz Rosati, Pirkko Ruohonen-Lerner, Pedro Silva Pereira, Peter Simon, Theodor Dumitru Stolojan, Kay Swinburne, Michael Theurer, Ramon Tremosa i Balcells, Marco Valli, Tom Vandenkendelaere, Cora van Nieuwenhuizen, Miguel Viegas, Jakob von Weizsäcker, Marco Zanni

Substitutes present for the final vote

David Coburn, Bas Eickhout, Ashley Fox, Eva Joly, Verónica Lope Fontagné, Paloma López Bermejo, Siegfried Mureşan, Catherine Stihler, Nils Torvalds, Auke Zijlstra

Substitutes under Rule 200(2) present for the final vote

Lucy Anderson, Jussi Halla-aho, Ska Keller, Juan Fernando López Aguilar, Emilian Pavel, Birgit Sippel, Csaba Sógor

Date tabled

9.5.2017


FINAL VOTE BY ROLL CALL IN COMMITTEE RESPONSIBLE

48

+

ALDE

Petr Ježek, Michael Theurer, Nils Torvalds, Ramon Tremosa i Balcells, Cora van Nieuwenhuizen

ECR

Ashley Fox, Jussi Halla-aho, Stanisław Ożóg, Pirkko Ruohonen-Lerner, Kay Swinburne

EFDD

Marco Valli

ENF

Barbara Kappel

GUE/NGL

Paloma López Bermejo, Miguel Viegas

PPE

Markus Ferber, Brian Hayes, Gunnar Hökmark, Danuta Maria Hübner, Georgios Kyrtsos, Alain Lamassoure, Werner Langen, Verónica Lope Fontagné, Ivana Maletić, Siegfried Mureşan, Luděk Niedermayer, Dariusz Rosati, Theodor Dumitru Stolojan, Csaba Sógor, Tom Vandenkendelaere, Esther de Lange

S&D

Lucy Anderson, Pervenche Berès, Udo Bullmann, Jonás Fernández, Cătălin Sorin Ivan, Olle Ludvigsson, Juan Fernando López Aguilar, Costas Mavrides, Emilian Pavel, Pedro Silva Pereira, Peter Simon, Birgit Sippel, Catherine Stihler, Jakob von Weizsäcker

Verts/ALE

Bas Eickhout, Eva Joly, Ska Keller, Philippe Lamberts

1

-

EFDD

David Coburn

2

0

ENF

Marco Zanni, Auke Zijlstra

Key to symbols:

+  :  in favour

-  :  against

0  :  abstention

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