In the recent budget, the Chancellor announced the intention to extend zero rating to certain e-publications with effect from 1 December 2020.
In an unexpected move, prompted by the need for people to stay home in the current climate created by the COVID-19 pandemic, the implementation date has been brought forward to 1 May 2020.
The welcomed removal of the VAT charge on e-publications was announced just one day before implementation with no time for consultation.
Zero rating now applies to most supplies of e-publications, including e-books and e-newspapers. Printed publications have always been zero rated.
As a result of the change, there is now greater equity with standard rating only applying to the supply of e-publications wholly or predominantly devoted to advertising or to audio or video content. Thus, supplies of audio books continue to be subject to VAT at 20%.