Poland: VAT rate on books, newspapers, periodicals (digital vs. print)

Poland: VAT rate on books, newspapers, periodicals

The Advocate General of the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) today issued an opinion concluding that the exclusion of electronically supplied digital books, newspapers, and periodicals from the reduced rate of value added tax (VAT) is compatible with the principle of equal treatment.

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The Advocate General found that the VAT Directive is, to that extent, valid. The case is: Rzecznik Praw Obywatelskich (C-390/15)


As explained in today's release [PDF 165 KB] from the CJEU, under the VAT Directive, EU Member States may apply a reduced rate of VAT to printed publications—including books, newspapers, and periodicals. However, digital publications are subject to the standard rate of VAT (with the exception of digital books, provided that they are supplied by means of a physical medium such as a CD-ROM).

The Polish Constitutional Court referred a case concerning the validity of the rule to the CJEU. In an opinion delivered today, the Advocate General concluded that the VAT Directive is valid in so far as it applies the reduced rate of tax only to printed books, newspapers, and periodicals, as well as to digital books that are supplied by means of a physical medium.

The Advocate General’s opinion is not binding on the CJEU. Rather, the role of the Advocate General is to propose to the court, a legal solution of the case. The judges now will begin deliberations in this case, with judgment to be given at a later date.

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