29 July 2020
EBSCO Information Services (EBSCO) is working with the Southern Universities Purchasing Consortium (SUPC) to save customers money. EBSCO and SUPC collaborated to ensure that new legislation introduced to apply a zero rate of VAT on electronic publications (e-publications) in the United Kingdom has been effectively applied to electronic publications for all customers of EBSCO in the United Kingdom. The efforts have saved the customers EBSCO serves more than £4.5 million in VAT costs.
The legislation introduced by the Chancellor on 30 April 2020 presented an opportunity for EBSCO and other suppliers to retroactively apply the zero VAT rate to subscriptions. To do this, EBSCO needed to apply significant IT infrastructure changes overnight to ensure the correct VAT rates were applied to all subscriptions from 1 May onwards.
Southern Universities Purchasing Consortium Category Manager of Academic Services Gavin Phillips says suppliers were not given a lot of time to take advantage of these new rules around e-publications. “If institutions had paid their 2020 subscriptions prior to 1 May, it was possible for suppliers to credit them for the May-December portion of that subscription and then reinvoice them at the zero-rated amount. This was not a compulsory thing for suppliers, and there was only a 45-day window to do so. EBSCO found a way to make this work, crediting or refunding customers more than £4.5 million with most of that money going back to the users of our agreement. That is very welcome support for institutions facing significant savings targets in the face of COVID-19.”
SUPC is a membership-based organisation for universities and further education colleges that helps its members achieve value from their procurement activities. EBSCO supplies print and online journals and e-journal packages to the consortia through a long-standing partnership.
EBSCO Information Services Vice President of Sales, UK & Ireland, Gareth Smith, says this collaboration saved UK University Purchasing Consortia members £4.5 million in costs but also provided assurances to its members during a rapid shift in legislation. “As more academic institutions move to leveraging online resources, including e-publications, we want to ensure this shift is easy for consortia members to adhere to while supporting this important piece of legislation.”