Turkey to scrap VAT on books, printed media, Erdogan says

Books at a bookstore in central Istanbul, Turkey, on Dec 25, 2018.
Books at a bookstore in central Istanbul, Turkey, on Dec 25, 2018. PHOTO: REUTERS

ISTANBUL (REUTERS) - Turkey will cut value-added tax (VAT) to zero on books, magazines and newspapers in a regulation that parliament is to discuss next week, President Tayyip Erdogan said on Sunday (Feb 10).

The move is aimed at making books and printed media affordable as well as supporting publishers that have been disadvantaged by the digitalisation of the industry, Erdogan said.

"The implementation of zero VAT on books and periodic publications will be discussed as part of a law in the parliament and will be extended to (all) publishers and vendors this week," Erdogan said in a public address in Istanbul.

"There will be no VAT on books, magazines, newspapers anymore."

Turks have been buying books, magazines and newspapers with zero VAT if purchased directly from a licensed publisher or its website since last week. A regular 8 per cent tax was imposed on printed media and books bought from bookstores and other vendors.

A total of 1.66 billion items of periodic printed media were circulated in Turkey in 2017, of which more than 90 per cent were newspapers, according to official data. A total of 58,027 books were published in 2017, the data showed.