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VAT online press: let's respect Parliament's votes of 2014 and 1986

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The 5 March ruling of the Court of Justice of the European Union rejecting the application of the reduced VAT rate from printed books to digital books has created legitimate concern among newspaper publishers, who are massively expanding their paid offers and digital revenues. The Spiil calls on the French government to firmly defend at Community level the French position for equal treatment between the printed and online press in terms of VAT.

Could the French online press, which benefits from reduced VAT to date, also fall victim to a decision of this kind? European legislation still prohibits the granting of a reduced VAT rate to the online press and electronic publications.
Indeed, it should be noted that France, particularly with online information sites like Mediapart, has been applying since last year a reduced VAT rate of 2.1% to the digital press, as for the paper press, in order to support a still fragile economic model .

A challenge to this progress at the European level would imply going back on a unanimous vote of national representation in the Assembly on 4 February 2014 and in the Senate on 17 February 2014, with the full support of the government. The law of 27 February 2014 harmonising the VAT rates applicable to the printed press and the online press at 2.1% is based on fiscal equality and technological neutrality and is intended to promote the economic development of digital distribution methods.

Such a reading is not new to the legislator.

Already in 1986, he had adopted a single definition of the pressThis lays the foundation for equal tax treatment of the digital and paper press. The debate on what was to become the law of 1 August 1986 reforming the legal regime of the press had already decided in favour of media neutrality.

On June 10, 1986, the Minister of Culture and Communication, François Léotard, stated as follows: "The bill before you concerns all press publications, whether printed on paper or available on screen at the reader's location. (...) The tremendous explosion of telematic newspapers attests to the satisfaction of a new public need, and is a current avenue of diversification for publishing companies, especially daily newspapers. »

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Consequently, the Spiil calls on the public authorities to defend the technological neutrality of VAT applied to the press: in the short term in the framework of the infringement procedure initiated by the European Commission in July 2014, and in the medium term with the negotiation of a "VAT directive" more favourable to the digital sector than the 2006 directive.
Source : Press Release SPIIL - 14 April 2015

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