Typical VAT on Laptop and other electronics in Europe

If you plan on buying a laptop, iPhone or other gadgets in Europe, you should know how much VAT you will typically pay on these common electronic items. Here is a table listing the typical price of electronics (including VAT) in major European countries:

Countries Typical Laptop Price Typical Camera Price Typical iPhone Price
United Kingdom 599 GBP 999 GBP 599 GBP
Germany 799 EUR 1469 EUR 759 EUR
France 598 EUR 1083 EUR 769 EUR
Italy 799 EUR 1249 EUR 799 EUR

 

The above table gives examples of some of the EU’s top countries with their VAT rates and the typical price one would spend on electronics on average. The site used for this analysis is Media Markt for Italy and Germany, considering they are the largest electronic distributor in the EU. France’s store is Fnac, and the United Kingdom choice is Amazon (this was the best option via the UK outlet). France, Germany and Italy are in Euros, while the UK is in pounds.

The following chart is the VAT percentages per country discussed above.

Country VAT percentage
United Kingdom 20
Germany 19
France 20
Italy 22

 

For many countries, a tax onto goods and services makes logical sense. For Americans, this is dependent on their individual state, which might not even have a sales tax. However, for European nations, another form of tax exists that is considered more complex but easy to learn. Value added tax, which is also known as VAT, is a type of consumption tax that is placed on a product whenever value is added at a stage of production and at final sale. When a producer makes a product, they are charged an automatic tax; furthermore, when the consumer purchases the item, they are also charged VAT.

The European Union (EU) follows the VAT system, along with the country of Turkey. To some, this amount of taxing might seem overzealous, considering some VAT rates go up to 27%. Surprisingly, countries like Switzerland, which has higher income brackets and living standards, have a low rate of 8%. However, this is also complimented by the average income; 8% in Switzerland is the lowest European rate, but the minimum to qualify for a refund is 300 Swiss Francs, which is equivalent to 300 US dollars.

Proponents and opponents exist down the aisle on this issue. For proponents of the VAT, it is an easy outlet to subsidize federal deficit. Since VAT is a government tax, the recipients benefits the consumer in the end. While VAT can make a product more expensive than its normal rate, this also supplements cost from the government. In the European Union, much of the spending in a country goes back to the individuals. However, as some opponents mention, the VAT is entirely too expensive. Countries like Hungary, for example, already have low wages and income, and a VAT of 27% can make or break one’s wallet.

In my opinion, VAT is a great resource when used on everyday products. As one sees on the chart, VAT is roughly 1/5 of the product’s total cost. However, this goes back to the government, and is spent on the individuals. Living in Germany myself, I pay around 19% for VAT, thanks to the country’s preference. However, the prices for the majority of products is very affordable; this purchase will eventually come back to myself and other citizens. The VAT helps fund social programs, along with other government assistance. Along with this, the country is able to delete its debt thanks to revenue drawn from VAT, and it increases the country’s overall revenue. No matter how the facts lay, the ultimate benefactor is the citizens.