Government abolishes VAT on e-publications early

Posted: Friday 01 May 2020

The Macular Society has welcomed the Government's decision to fast track plans to abolish VAT on e-books as a result of the coronavirus outbreak.

Legislation which was due in December will now come into effect from today (Friday 1 May). E-books, e-newspapers, e-magazines and academic e-journals will all be zero rated in line with their physical counterparts.

The Government says it expects the tax relief to be passed on to consumers in price reductions for e-books.

With the United Kingdom still in lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic, e-publications can play a vital role in providing information, especially to people with macular disease and other forms of sight loss.

Cathy Yelf, chief executive of the Macular Society, wrote to the Financial Secretary to the Treasury, The Rt Hon Jesse Norman in January to ask that this legislation be put in place. She said: “The Government’s decision to bring forward this piece of legislation is excellent news, especially at a time when e-publications are such an important source of news and entertainment for people with sight loss.

“It’s absolutely correct that electronic versions of newspapers, books and magazines are treated in exactly the same way as the physical products, and that anyone choosing to receive them in that format is not penalised financially for doing so.

“This move is long overdue and should make e-publications more affordable.”