In the Combined Nomenclature* regulation (EU) 2015/2254 of 2 December 2015, the European Commission determined that a photo book should be described as “a hard-covered bound article made of paper measuring approximately 21 cm × 31 cm, with full-colour printed personalised photographs and a short text referring to the activities, events, persons, etc. shown in the respective photographs”.
As a result of this new description, the regulation set out that photo books should be classified under CN code 4911 91 00 as photography.
Following this change, photo books can longer benefit from the reduced rate in Austria and Germany because they are now deemed to be not intended for reading. Therefore, the standard VAT rate (20%) now applies to supplies of photo books and this had effect from 1 April 2016 in Austria. The Ministry of Finance in Germany has clarified in a notice that the standard VAT rate (19%) also applies to photo books. However the German tax authorities have implemented a transitional period to allow companies who acquire photo books at a reduced rate to deduct the input and acquisition tax in their VAT returns until 1 January 2017.
*method used for designating goods and merchandise