VAT on e-newspapers

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An interesting case recently found in favour of zero VAT on sales of e-newspapers.  Physical newspapers have been zero rated since 1972.  However HMRC have always maintained that e-newspapers must have standard rate VAT applied.  In this case the taxpayer argued that the 1972 legislation only mentions physical newspapers because digital formats hadn’t even been thought of then.  There is a principle that legislation is “always speaking”, implying that law should be interpreted to meet current real world conditions.

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