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Tax petition gains support

Records, CDs hit with higher tax than books, movie tickets

BRUSSELS — Elton John and veteran French rocker Johnny Hallyday are among 1,200 musicians backing a petition accusing the European Union of cultural discrimination in taxing music, films and books.

The petition, made public in Brussels Tuesday, highlights the fact that value added tax (VAT) slapped on records and CDs is higher than that on novels and cinema tickets. Signatories of the petition are calling on lawmakers to cut the rate for music.

Alex Callier of Belgian popsters Hooverphonic noted that a Belgian consumer has to pay 21% VAT on a CD by Jacques Brel, but only 6% on a biography of the singer. “It is simply unfair to impose standard VAT rates on music while other cultural goods benefit from reduced rates,” he said.

The petition was organized by the IFPI, representing recording industry majors including Warner, Universal, EMI, Sony and BMG.

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