On 31 July 2019, the German Federal Cabinet approved the government’s draft bill. As a result, the German VAT E-books and publications rate will fall from the standard rate of 19% to the reduced rate of 7%.
This follows many other Member States in aligning the VAT rates of electronic books and publications with their printed counterparts and once passed will take effect on 1 January 2020.
Publications in electronic formats shall be subject to reduced rates if they, by their nature or function are similar to the printed versions as listed in German VAT law, which could include the following:
- Printed books, brochures and similar printed material in different formats. This includes loose-leaf and second-hand material, excluding such for advertising purposes;
- Newspapers and other periodicals. Whether or not illustrated or including advertising;
- Children’s picture and painting books. Whether in paper backs, boards or bound;
- Music. Whether in printed, in manuscript form, bound or not, or illustrated;
- Maps, charts and plans which are printed. This includes world and celestial globes;
- Postage and similar stamps such as stamp-postmarks, stamp-impressed paper, franked envelopes, i.e. collection pieces;
- Audio books – the reduced rate applies only for sound storage media with sound recording of the recital of a book. Radio plays or other recordings do not apply for the reduced rate.
Publications not benefiting from the reduced rate shall be those containing primarily video content or audible music. Supplies which go beyond the mere transfer of electronic publications shall also be excluded.
If you require any further information on German VAT E-books rates, please contact one of our VAT experts.