The government has brought forward legislation to zero rate electronic publications in a move to make them more affordable for people confined to their homes or affected financially by coronavirus. Zero-rating was originally due to take effect on 1 December 2020 but now applies from today, 1 May.

Zero-rating applies to the sale of:

  • books and booklets
  • brochures
  • pamphlets
  • leaflets
  • newspapers
  • journals and periodicals
  • children’s picture and painting books.

Lending fees for these types of publication are also zero-rated from today.


Zero-rating doesn’t apply to the following types of electronic publication, they remain standard-rated:

  • advertising – where more than half the content is advertisements
  • audiobooks
  • intellectual property such as licences, plans, technical drawings, etc.

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