Resolution from the ECJ of September, 11, 2014. Reduced VAT rate applicable only to books printed on paper
The Court of Justice of the EU ruling on the power of Member States to extend the reduced VAT rate applied to supplies of paper books also for those books to be delivered through a different physical media, such as CD ROM, USB and similar.
In this case it is questionable whether it is consistent with the principle of neutrality of VAT to apply different rates over products whose only difference is the format in which they are given. In this regard, it should be recalled that such principle precludes similar goods or services which are in competition with each other being treated differently for VAT purposes.
To determine whether the objects of the litigation are similar or not, the Member States must take into consideration the point of view of the typical consumer in each country, since it is not the same according to the level of penetration and use of technology in all Member States.
Consequently, if from the analysis of the point of view of the typical consumer shall be concluded that the physical properties have little or no influence on the consumer’s choice, it shall apply the reduced VAT rate as books on paper, whereas if those are crucial to the consumer’s choice, the general VAT rate should applies.
A copy of the judgment C-219/13 is attached.