The Association of Publishers and the Latvian Association of Printing Companies have called on the government to reduce the value added tax (VAT) applied to books to 5% as of July 1. The current 12% VAT is the highest in Europe and affects the price of expenditure and hampers development of the sector. The average VAT on books in Europe is 7%.
The funds emerging from reduced tax would be important in preparation of books and improving quality. In particular, this would be needed for children's book market. Publishers are convinced that VAT is no longer just an economic factor.
"It's not always measurable in numbers - what the impact on the budget will be, how much it will bring in income, and so on. It is a question on what country we are building, what kind of cultural environment we are creating for ourselves, our children, elders, and so on," said publishing house Liels un Mazs chair Alīse Nīgale.
Publishers also call for a reduction of VAT on electronic books, currently 21%. This tax has been reduced in all countries of the EU and is currently at 0% in the UK.
Both the Ministry of Culture and Ministry of Finance confirmed to Latvian Television that the industry has been heard and application of reduced VAT to books has been included in tax policy guidelines. Exact deadlines are not set.