DÁIL QUESTIONS addressed to the Minister for Finance (Deputy Michael Noonan)by Deputy Darragh O'Brien,for WRITTEN ANSWER on 12/07/2016
To ask the Minister for Finance his plans to abolish Value Added Tax on education books bought on e-readers; and if he will make a statement on the matter.
To ask the Minister for Finance the amount of Value Added Taxs collected from the purchase of education books on e-readers; and if he will make a statement on the matter.
The VAT rating of goods and services is subject to the requirements of the EU VAT Directive with which Irish VAT law must comply. The VAT Directive provides that all goods and services are liable to VAT at the standard rate, currently 23% in Ireland, unless there is a provision in the VAT Directive that permits a lower rate. The EU VAT Directive does not make provision for a reduction in the VAT rate to e-books.
Any changes to VAT rates outside of what is currently permitted by the EU VAT Directive must be negotiated at EU technical working groups and ultimately agreed by the EU Council of Finance Ministers. The EU Commission recently published an Action Plan on the future of VAT "Towards a single EU VAT Area - Time to decide", which sets out the Commission's pathway for modernising the VAT system and contains a proposal in 2016 to remove VAT obstacles to cross-border e-commerce including e-publications and in 2017 there is a proposal to look at VAT rate policy across the EU.
The Action Plan's proposals may offer Member States more flexibility in the future in determining VAT rates applicable to goods and services. This forum will provide an opportunity to discuss VAT rates applicable to goods and services including e-books as referred to by the Deputy. However, the Deputy will be aware that any proposed changes to the current EU VAT Directive would require unanimous agreement from all Member States.
The information furnished on VAT returns does not require the yield from specific transactions or products to be identified therefore, it is not possible to estimate the VAT yield for the product mentioned by the Deputy.