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Frankfurt Group Study Shows: vat is the greatest obstacle to electronic information in Europe

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Frankfurt Group

Frankfurt Group Study Shows:

VAT is the greatest obstacle to electronic information in Europe
Within the European Union, regarding taxation, printed and electronic versions of publications are treated differently. Whereas printed publications throughout the EU are subject to a reduced rate of VAT, electronic publications in most countries are charged with the highest rate.
VAT represents a barrier for the switch to electronic publications

“The higher costs for electronic publications influence the libraries’ decisions when purchasing resources,” commented Hans Geleijnse, Chairman of the Frankfurt Group. “The study shows that VAT inhibits the switch to electronic publications in the majority of European libraries in non-VAT exempt countries. This is contrary to the stated aims of the European Commission and most national governments.”

VAT harms European competitiveness

“The differences in national legislations not only affect the provision of knowledge within the EU” stated Michael Mabe, Secretary of the Frankfurt Group. “It also affects the development of science in the EU compared to coun­tries without VAT charges on electronic publications such as the USA, where a zero rate favours the purchase of electronic resources, and thus may lead to competitive advantages for US research and education.”

The Frankfurt Group report “Survey on the impact of VAT on libraries and the scientific publication markets” was carried out by Soziologisches Forschungs­institut Göttingen (SOFI). The report is available on the Frankfurt Group Website
The Frankfurt Group considers VAT issues as a key problem in the current development of the framework of scientific publications and the economic develop­ment in the EU. The consequences of the current VAT legislation on electronic publi­cations in the EU give reason to urgent need of action.
The Frankfurt Group is a Consensus Forum for Academic and Research Informa­tion, whose members represent authors, publishers, rights organi­zations, libraries, research centres, subscription agents and intermediaries. For more information, see the Frankfurt Group’s website or contact:

Chairman of the Frankfurt Group

Hans Geleijnse

Vice-President of LIBER
Director of Library and IT Services
Tilburg University

Warandelaan 2

NL – 5000 LE Tilburg

The Netherlands

Phone +31 13 466 2146


Secretary of the Frankfurt Group

Michael A. Mabe

CEO, International STM Association

2nd Floor, Prama House

268 Banbury Road



Phone: +44 7717 343083


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