Books and press will have reduced VAT of 5% in Latvia

On Monday, November 15, the Saeima decided to reduce the value-added tax (VAT) rate from the current 12% to 5% from January 1, 2022, on books and printed press.

The amendments to the law were supported by 71 members, five members abstained, but one was against.

The reduced rate of 5% VAT will be applied to books and press in print and in electronic publication formats. The reduced rate will also apply to subscriptions. This will result in a lower tax rate for e-books, periodicals, e-publications, news portals and their publications.

The reduced 5% VAT rate will apply to books, including study literature, brochures, booklets, pictures, coloring and painting books for children, printed notes or notebooks, maps and hydrographic or similar schemes, and publications of press and other mass media, including newspapers, newsletters and other periodicals.

The originally reduced 5% VAT rate was to be introduced only for printed books and periodicals, but later the Minister for Culture Nauris Puntulis (National Alliance) submitted a proposal to extend it to electronic books and media.

"This is in line with both the common policy of the European Union and the interests of our country. In our country, it will also contribute to the development of the digital economy and equal conditions will be ensured for the whole sector,” explained Ritvars Jansons, parliamentary secretary of the Ministry of Culture (KM).

The reduced rate of VAT will not apply to publications of erotic and pornographic nature, as well as to publications of which the content and purpose is advertising or commercial advertising and which consists wholly of video content or music.

The amendments will enter into force on 1 January 2022.

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