Public Affairs Bulletin April-June | DMA

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Public Affairs Bulletin April-June

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Since the last public affairs update, trilogue negotiations on the Data Protection Regulation have begun, the Competition and Markets Authority published its report into the commercial use of consumer data, and the DMA finally came to a full agreement with HMRC over VAT for advertising mail.

Data Protection Regulation

The Council of Ministers reached a general agreement on their version of the text in June [remember to hypertext], however, there are still many reservations among member states concerning various parts of the text. In spite of this the first trilogue negotiations have taken place and both the Commission, Parliament and Council were all positive suggesting that their positions were more closely aligned than previously thought.

Rapporteur Jan Philip Albrecht from the German Greens said,

There are clearly differences, notably on consumer rights and the duties of businesses. However, if we can negotiate constructively and pragmatically, it should be possible to deliver a compromise acceptable to both sides within the timeframe. This outcome would benefit everyone and show that the EU takes the concerns of its citizens in the digital age seriously.”

Overall, the Council text is preferable to the Parliament text, as it is a better balance of the legitimate interests of business and the rights of consumers. For more in depth analysis read the full report (attached at the bottom of this article).

Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) report on the commercial use of consumer data

In January the CMA began a consultation into the commercial use of consumer data. The DMA met with CMA officials to explain how marketing companies use consumer data and why they need it, as well as introducing the CMA to the DMA Code and Data Seal.

In June the CMA published their final report, which takes a broad look at the commercial use of consumer data but stops short of suggesting legislative solutions. In the report, they recognised that when done correctly, the trade in consumer data is a win-win situation, allowing businesses to operate more efficiently and offering customers what they want, with benefits like free or cheaper services as well as targeted and more relevant marketing.

VAT for advertising mail

Following extensive negotiations with the DMA and the Charity Tax Group (CTG) HMRC has published updated versions of their guidance notes VAT Notice: 701/10 zero-rating of books and other forms of printed matter and VAT Notice 700/24: postage and delivery charges.

The DMA is pleased that despite initial reluctance HMRC have accepted the arguments that the DMA and CTG made to widen the scope of data services that can be included as part of a zero rated supply of print to include suppressions such as MPS in addition to address correction.

The significance of this is that the costs of all the data work required to meet postal operators’ requirements – including Advertising and Responsible Mail – can also be zero rated if supplied with zero rated print.

See the one-to-one public affairs bulletin Apr-Jun 2015 for more details and a full account of the legal and political developments over the last few months.

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