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Magazines Ireland underlines the need for an alignment of digital and print VAT rates

Press Release


Magazines Ireland underlines the need for an alignment of digital and print VAT rates, following Council Ecofin Meeting

19 June 2017

Magazines Ireland and the European Magazine Media Association regret the outcome of the Economic and Financial Affairs Council (Ecofin) meeting on 16 June, which ended without political agreement on the adoption of the proposal to amend the existing EU VAT directive to allow Member States to apply reduced VAT rates to digital publications.

Magazines Ireland and the European Magazine Media Association have long argued for the ability to apply the reduced, super-reduced or zero VAT rates currently available for printed products to digital offers.

“Magazines Ireland believes that the application of VAT should be platform neutral and rates applied to printed magazines should apply equally to digital editions,” said Ciaran Casey, Chairman, Magazines Ireland. “EU decision-makers are increasing the administrative burdens faced by publishers by continuing to make a distinction between print and digital VAT rates and limiting our ability to invest in high-quality content that is available on all platforms.”

“Today, our audiences are reading magazines and newspapers on all available platforms – paper, online, and on mobile and tablet devices,” said Auke Visser, EMMA President. “Europe’s VAT regime needs to reflect this reality by allowing Member States to determine whether they apply the reduced rates offered to print publications to digital offers also. The lack of agreement in the Council is a frustrating set-back that forces EU and national decision makers to apply a differential treatment between the printed and digital press.”

Earlier this month, members of the European Parliament indicated their broad support of the European Commission proposal by formally adopting its non-binding report which allowed reduced VAT rates for the digital press.

The current VAT Directive (2006/112) allows for reduced-rates to be applied only to printed versions of magazines and newspapers at EU level, meaning that digital publications must apply the full VAT rate. Since people increasingly access content on mobile and digital devices, the current directive no longer reflects reality.

The push to modify the directive to allow Member States to align digital and print VAT rates was first initiated by European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker in a speech in 2015, and has been supported by both Magazines Ireland and EMMA ever since. Without the agreement in the European Council, the file will continue to be discussed under the Estonian Presidency, which starts on 1 July 2017.


Grace Aungier, Chief Executive Officer,

Magazines Ireland, 63 Patrick Street, Dun Laoghaire, Co. Dublin.

Tel  01 667 55 79  Mobile 086 088 0845




Magazines Ireland is the association of Irish magazine publishers and represents 38 Irish publishers who together produce over 185 magazines, both consumer and business to business titles in print and digital formats. See


EMMA, the European Magazine Media Association, is the unique and complete representation of Europe’s magazine media, which is today enjoyed by millions of consumers on various platforms, encompassing both paper and digital formats. EMMA represents 15,000 publishing houses, publishing 50,000 magazine titles across Europe in print and digital. See