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Ministry Supports VAT Cut for E-Books, EU Rules Stand in the Way

The Ministry of Culture has said it supports cutting VAT on e-books to 9 percent, the same as for printed versions, but a EU VAT directive categorizes e-books as electronic services, which cannot be a tax exception.

“Technological development has led to a situation where the sensible option for many academic papers, textbooks, encyclopedias and other scientific works is to publish them as e-books,” Asta Trummel of the ministry, told Postimees on Wednesday.

The current tax rate for e-books is 20 percent, the rate on most goods and services.

E-books are yet to make a breakthrough on the Estonian literature market, with e-books making up 1 percent of book sales and 2 percent of lending, although those figures have increased slightly in the past year.

Countries such as France and Luxembourg have broken ranks with the EU's pre-digital era VAT tax code, going ahead with new tax rates despite objections. The countries have faced the wrath of the European Commission, being referred to the Court of Justice. 

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