In response to the coronavirus pandemic the government has accelerated extension of VAT zero-rating for printed matter, e.g. books, magazines etc., to their electronic equivalents. However, some types of electronic publication and audio book are excluded (see The next step ). The new zero-rating rule that was to apply from 1 December 2020 now applies to sales made on or after 1 May 2020.

Tax point

You can apply the zero-rating to any sale where the tax point is on or after 1 May 2020. The tax point is the date a product is supplied for VAT purposes. Usually, it’s the earlier of the date your customer pays and when they receive the goods or the services have been provided, but there are exceptions (see The next step ).

Tip. If you’ve already billed a customer for electronic publications where the tax point is on or after 1 May and charged standard-rate VAT, you can issue a credit note for the VAT or cancel the invoice and reissue it.

Supplies of electronic publications made on or after 1 May 2020 can be zero-rated. If you’ve already invoiced a customer you can issue a credit note.

The next step

GOV.UK guidance on what electronic products can be zero-rated.

This article has been reproduced by kind permission of Indicator – FL Memo Ltd. For details of their tax-saving products please visit or call 01233 653500.