A petition has been launched online which calls for a preferential rate of value-added tax (VAT) on books in Bulgaria.
Addressed to the President, Prime Minister, Speaker of the National Assembly, Finance Minister and other officials, the petition had gained more than 1300 signatures by the morning of May 24, which Bulgaria celebrates as the day of Slavonic literature and learning.
The petition says that Bulgaria is one of the few remaining countries in the European Union where books do not benefit from a preferential VAT rate. “Preferences that have long benefited other sectors of our economy, such as tourism and gambling”.
It cites numerous other member states of the European Union where the rate of VAT on books is significantly lower than the normal rate.
The petitioners call for backing for the campaign from all book publishers in Bulgaria.
As part of the campaign, Bulgarian publishing house Janet 45 has issued an edition of a book by author Stefan Tsanev which has a “scratch card” on the cover, giving the buyer a 20 per cent discount – equivalent to the country’s rate of VAT on books.
The campaigners noted that while books are subject to a 20 per cent VAT rate, while games of chance have 0 per cent VAT.
Janet 45 manager Manol Peikov said that the campaign was initiated because those who support it believe that culture is Bulgaria’s most valuable heritage that is worth preserving and developing.
“Are we really a country that values gambling more than culture?” Peikov said.
The petition can be found here.