Lobby groups are calling on the government to scrap the newspaper tax in the 2023 budget

Lobby groups have urged the government to scrap the newspaper tax in the 2023 budget.

ewsBrands Ireland and Local Ireland held a pre-budget briefing at Leinster House on Thursday, attended by nearly 50 TDs and Senators, national and local news publishers and leading newspaper editors.

In a joint presentation, the representatives of national and regional newspapers outlined the challenges facing the industry and called for VAT on newspapers and digital subscriptions to be reduced to 0 percent in the coming budget.

At 9 percent, Ireland has one of the highest VAT rates for newspapers and digital subscriptions in Europe. Some 22 European countries, including Denmark, the UK, Belgium, Norway, Austria and France, have lower VAT rates on newspapers and offer other direct and indirect support to journalism.

Under new EU VAT rules agreed by EU finance ministers, Ireland can now apply zero-rate VAT to newspapers and digital subscriptions. The Future of Media Commission has also recommended the use of a zero rate.

The group said three main trends have disrupted news publishing over the past 10 years. Digital platforms now own 85 percent of the digital advertising market in Ireland, meaning there is a drop in print sales and a drop in advertising revenue.

In addition, energy costs have tripled since the beginning of 2022, while paper costs for printing have increased from €390 per tonne to €960 per tonne.

The briefing said audiences for domestic journalism across print and digital platforms have never been higher at 82 percent, but this growing audience has been difficult to monetize.

The digital news ecosystem rewards content distribution by platforms far more than its creation by publishers. A study in the UK found that news content is worth £1bn for Google and Meta.

The lobby groups argued that the VAT on newspapers was a tax on “information, learning and democracy”.

Colm O’Reilly, chairman of NewsBrands Ireland and CEO of Business Post, said at the event a VAT reduction would provide a significant incentive for both local and national news publishers.

“At a time of significantly increased costs of doing business, it will provide the industry with the financial leverage to continue their investments in the transition to digital and facilitate the ongoing investments needed to support publishers in their continued shift to competitive online models” , he said.

https://www.independent.ie/news/lobby-groups-call-on-government-to-eliminate-tax-on-newspapers-in-budget-2023-41994809.html Lobby groups are calling on the government to scrap the newspaper tax in the 2023 budget

Fry Electronics Team

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