American Society of Magazine Editors

Danish Government Withdraws Proposed VAT Change for Magazines after Meeting with President Obama

In a significant international victory for magazine publishers, MPA, working in conjunction with officials at the highest levels of the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, the Department of Commerce, and the Danish Embassy, successfully thwarted an effort in the Danish Parliament to impose a VAT tax and surcharge on magazines sent to Denmark from outside the European Union.

At the behest of the Danish Tax Minister, in an attempt to help the Danish printing industry, Parliament considered legislation that would have imposed a 25% value added tax on magazines sent into Denmark from countries outside the European Union. In addition, subscribers would also have been required to go to a Danish Post office to pay an importation fee of 160 DKK ($29) for every issue, before receiving their copy.

In a coordinated effort with high ranking officials within the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, MPA was able to successfully put the issue on the table for discussion between President Obama and the Danish Prime Minister, who met in Washington just days before Parliament was set to take final action. The Tax Minister's withdrawal of the proposal followed two days later.

Though the issue has been resolved for now, the Tax Minister indicated he intends to pursue the imposition of a VAT tax on magazines, but with a less costly collection method. In addition, there remains interest by some Members of the European Parliament in pursuing the idea of a VAT surcharge to offset collection of VAT taxes in the future.