Reducing the VAT rate on newspapers and digital subscriptions to zero is seen as a lifeline for the industry, which has been hard at work aligning rates with European rivals.
The VAT rate here will be reduced to 0 percent from January 1 to support the “vital role” of the free press, according to Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe.
“The government is aware of the crucial role newspapers play in our society, from reporting on local communities to holding those in power accountable,” the minister said yesterday.
The move is in line with the government’s commitment to supporting an independent press and the recommendation of the Future of Media Commission, he said.
The current sales tax rate for news subscriptions is 9pc. Until 2011, VAT was charged at the standard rate
of 23 pcs.
From January 1st, the new zero rate will apply to print and digital sales of newspapers and magazines.
According to the Ministry of Finance, the costs for lost taxes amount to 32 million euros in the first year and 39 million euros per full year.
Newspaper buyers in the UK, Denmark and Norway pay no VAT, while most of the continent has reduced rates, where sales of books, magazines or newspapers are seldom charged VAT at the standard rate.
The news industry has been hit by falling print sales and a large shift in advertising spend from traditional print and broadcast news brands to online platforms like Google and Facebook.
The full reduction move was welcomed by Local Ireland, which represents 32 weekly pay newspapers across Ireland.
“Zero per cent VAT will allow local newspapers across Ireland to invest in journalism and in the transition to new digital business models,” said Declan McGuire, President of Local Ireland.
“News publishers have faced a number of major challenges in recent years, most recently due to the tremendous increase in the cost of newsprint. This move will help support jobs in the industry and maintain the quality of our service to readers.”
Many publishers will likely seek to keep some, if not all, of the VAT savings to boost their margins, which have been declining for more than a decade, exacerbated by higher input costs, including paper, in recent years.
https://www.independent.ie/business/budget/scrapping-of-vat-on-newspapers-to-support-critical-role-of-the-free-press-across-ireland-42022943.html Abolish VAT on newspapers to support the ‘vital role’ of free press across Ireland