European publishers fight 5% tax

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BRUSSELS -- The European Publishers Council (EPC), which represents 27 publishers in Europe, is calling on the European Parliament to support moves to harmonize value added tax (VAT) at 0% on magazines, newspapers, books, new electronic educational and informational CD-ROMS and online services.

An amendment to the EP Randzio-Plath Report, written in response to the Commission's proposal for a common approach to VAT, is set to be presented at this week's plenary session in Strasbourg. The amendment supports the EPC's view.

VAT rates on the same products and services like newspapers, CD-ROMs and magazines currently differ widely from member state to member state. Rates on publications can range from 0% to 25%.

EPC Chairman Frank Rogers says: "We cannot afford a tax on literacy and education - the European Parliament's proposal to impose a 5% VAT on printed publications is a major step backwards in Europe's attempt to educate its workforce. We seek a zero rate on all educational and informational publications."

Copyright June 1997, Crain Communications Inc.

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