5th November 2015

Anthony Lawlor, Fine Gael TD for Kildare North, is again urging EU officials to abolish the 23% VAT service rate on eBooks in order to encourage greater use of iPads and electronic devices in school.

“I first raised this issue in 2013 with Minister Noonan, asking that the VAT rate on eBooks be abolished, bringing them in line with hard back educational books which have 0% VAT. I was informed that this matter was out of his control and rather the higher VAT rate was applicable due to an EU regulation which considered ebooks a service. I have since made a number of representations to MEP Mairead McGiunness asking that the matter be pushed at European level.

I again raised the issue with the Minister today (Thursday) in my Dáil speech on the Finance Bill 2016. I firmly believe that this high rate of 23% on eBooks discourages the use of iPads and other electronic devices in schools. For many years, pupils have been cursed with the heavy load of their school bags. In recent years a number of schools in the Kildare area have opted to ‘go electronic’ and have asked all students to purchase iPads. But these pupil are unfairly being charged 23% VAT on all school books downloaded rather than students using the old fashioned hard back text books which are sold at a 0% VAT rate.

I am aware that EU VAT laws are currently being examined. I am asking Minister Noonan and my Fine Gael colleague in Europe, Mairead McGuinness, to put in a strong submission on having a VAT rate of 0% on electronic books, in particular educational electronic books.”