A TAX on reading celebrity books must be scrapped by Sajid Javid in his first Budget, campaigners say.
Millions of e-books and audiobooks including Elton John’s autobiography and David Walliams’ stories are slapped with an “illogical” twenty per cent VAT charge.
The Chancellor is being urged to “axe the tax” and save hard-up Brits cash when purchasing a new read – just like zero-rated print books.
Charging VAT on the books typically includes £1.99 for a £11.99 digital edition – such as Elton John’s autobiography Me.
Funnyman David Walliams’ latest title The Beast of Buckingham
Palace also costs £9.99 digitally – including £1.66 VAT.
Boxer Tyson Fury’s life story Behind The Mask on audiobook cost £22.74 which includes tax of £3.79.
The move would cost the Treasury £200 million to axe the tax. It isn’t applied in EU countries such as Ireland and France.
All books and newspaper have been given a zero-rating since VAT was introduced in 1973.
Stephen Lotinga, the Chief Executive of the Publishers Association, said: “VAT on audiobooks and ebooks is unfair, illogical and outdated – they should be zero-rated as printed books rightly are.
“It makes no sense in the modern world that readers are hit with a 20% tax just because they need or want to read digital books. We should not be taxing reading and learning.”
Tory MP Rob Halfon said: “It’s time to axe the tax on reading in the 21st century.
“This digital tax represents a huge burden on children and families who simply want to read.
“It must be a priority for the Chancellor to get rid of this inequitous tax once and for all.
“It will be cheaper for readers of all ages but will help families and schools in making it cheaper to read and encourage children to get into books.”
Treasury spokesman last night said: “We keep the tax system under constant review.”