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Hope floats to slash sound VAT

Proposal argues recordings should be tax-exempt

BRUSSELS — Hopes soared Thursday that the value-added tax on sound recordings could be slashed after European Union leaders tabled a revised proposal on the issue.

The Italian presidency of the EU, which is running the 15-member bloc until the end of this year, has proposed that sound recordings be considered a cultural product and exempt from VAT.

EU executive body the European Commission did not include music on its list of cultural products eligible for a reduced rate in July. But members of Parliament have been campaigning for its inclusion, and the Italian presidency’s text reflects their views.

Other cultural products — including books, magazines, newspapers and tickets for cinemas, theaters and concerts — have lower VAT rates across the EU. But CDs draw the full rate, ranging from 15% in Luxembourg to 25% in Denmark and Sweden.

“The Italian presidency’s compromise text is now the only one on the table as we go into the final stages of negotiation,” said Frances Moore, European regional director for recording industry body IFPI.

However, any cut will depend on the outcome of negotiations among European countries, many of whom are campaigning for VAT reductions on other products.

All member states have to agree on a single measure, encompassing all products, before it can become legislation.

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