Every time you buy something, you pay VAT (Value Added Tax). This is a tax that exists in Spain and almost everywhere else in the world (with a few exceptions that confirm the rule). In this article we show you a comparison of VAT in Europe, both in Spain and in other European countries.

VAT is implemented throughout the European Union (EU), but it is true that it is a tax that varies from country to country and product to product. Previously, in the Bankinter Blog we explained what is the value added tax (VAT), now we tell you a comparison of VAT in EU countries.

VAT in Spain

In Spain VAT is paid differently depending on the product. Thus, the general VAT is 21% and there is a reduced rate of 10% and a super-reduced rate of 4%.

Some of the products with super-reduced VAT in Spain, at 4%, are:


  • Books, newspapers and magazines that do not contain only or mainly advertising (excluding school material).
  • Vehicles for people with reduced mobility and wheelchairs.
  • Special or public subsidized housing.
  • Compresses, tampons, panty liners, condoms and other non-medicinal contraceptives.
  • Services of repair of vehicles for people with reduced mobility.
  • Leases with option of purchase of subsidized housing.
  • Telecare services, home help, day and night center, and residential care in concerted places.

In addition, until December 31, 2023, electricity supplies, natural gas and natural fuels will be taxed at 5%.

Comparison of VAT in Spain and Europe

Within the European Union, the countries with a lower general VAT rate than Spain are: Luxembourg (16%, lowered from 17% in 2023 to combat inflation); Malta (18%), Germany, Cyprus and Romania (19%, respectively) and Austria, Bulgaria, Slovakia, Estonia, France, Monaco, United Kingdom (20%, respectively).

In contrast, the countries with a higher general VAT rate than Spain are: Hungary (27%); Sweden, Denmark and Croatia (25%); Greece and Finland (24%); Portugal, Poland, and Ireland (23%); Italy and Slovenia (22%).

There are also countries with a general VAT rate equal to Spain and they are: Belgium, Latvia, Lithuania, the Netherlands and the Czech Republic.

The following table shows the different VAT rates by country:

Country General VAT in 2023 Super-reduced/reduced VAT 
Luxembourg 16% 3% / 7%, 13% (2023 only)
malt 18% 5%, 7%
Germany 19% 7% (Farmers have a 5.5% tax)
Cyprus 19% 5%, 9%
Romania 19% 5%, 9%
Austria twenty% 10%, 13%
Bulgaria twenty% 9%
Slovakia twenty% 0%, 10%
Estonia twenty% 5%, 9%
France twenty% 2.1% for medicines, newspapers and online news / 5.5% and 10%
Monaco twenty% 2.1% / 5.5%, 10%.
United Kingdom twenty% 5%
Belgium twenty-one% 6%, 12%
Spain twenty-one% 4% / 10%
Latvia twenty-one% 12% until December 2023, VAT on certain vegetables and greens is reduced from normal (21%) to 5%.
Lithuania twenty-one% 5%, 9%
Netherlands twenty-one% 9%
Czech Republic twenty-one% 10%, 15%
Slovenia 22%  5%, 9.5%
Italy 22% 4.8% / 5%, 10%
Ireland 23% 4.8% / 9%, 13.5%
Poland 23%  5%, 8%,
Portugal 23% 6%, 13%

In Madeira it is 5% and 12% and in the Azores 4% and 9%.

Finland 24% 10%, 14%
Greece 24% 13%
Croatia 25% 5%, 13%,
Denmark 25% Certain services (health and social care, education, cultural activities) that are exempt from VAT.
Sweden 25% 6%, 12%
Hungary 27% 5%, 18%

Source: Own update from globalvatcompliance.com, VAT rates and ASD Group data.

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