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UK: e-publication VAT will be scrapped from tomorrow

Westminster bridge with big ben in the background.

The UK government has announced that e-publications such as e-books and newspapers will no longer be subject to value-added tax (VAT) from tomorrow. The plan to scrap VAT on these products was announced by Chancellor Rishi Sunak in March during the budget and was initially going to be introduced from 1 December 2020.

According to the government, the plans have been brought forward so that digital books are more accessible to people while they’re forced to stay home. With the changes, customers could pay £2 less for a £12 book and e-newspaper subscriptions could be reduced by up to £25 per year, making both products more competitive against their physical counterparts.

Discussing the plan, Chancellor Rishi Sunak said:

“We want to make it as easy as possible for people across the UK to get hold of the books they want whilst they are staying at home and saving lives.

"That is why we have fast-tracked plans to scrap VAT on all e-publications, which will make it cheaper for publishers to sell their books, magazines and newspapers.”

According to the government, publishers have noticed an increase of about a third in e-book consumption during the lockdown, with some reporting a 50% increase. These publishers may notice further growth when the VAT gets removed tomorrow. The government expects the move to benefit those who depend on large print sizes or find books difficult to hold.

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