New Mandatory Fee for the Public Broadcasting Service

After many years of discussion, German politics are now introducing a new system of financing the public broadcasting services, mainly the broadcasting houses ARD and ZDF and Deutschland Radio.

From 2013 on, every household in Germany will have to pay the fee of 17,98 Euro monthly. This is regardless of the number of members in the household or of the number of TV or radio sets. Responsible for the collection of the fees will be the GEZ (Geb√ľhreneinzugzentrale) under the new name “Beitragsservice” (Fee Service).

Up to now, the fee depended on the use of TV and/or radio, but didn’t include the use of computers for the public broadcasting programmes. The new model does not differ between broadcasting devices and will simplify the calculation: One household – one flat fee.

For flat sharing communities, the new system can be advantageous: They have to pay only one fee. If you are sharing a flat and have payed several fees, you should write to the GEZ and request the changes. Where several people share a flat, one person must pay the fee and be registered as living at that address.

Communal accommodation such as foster homes or boarding schools are exp-tempt of the fee. The status of student’s residence halls in not clear yet. Probably, flats within the residence halls will count as shared flats.

Recipients of Arbeitslosengeld II or Grundsicherung (German benefit system) can be exempt. Students who do not live at home with their parents and receive a student loan (BAföG) or a vocational training grant (Berufsausbildungsbeihilfe or Ausbildungsgeld), also can apply for exemption. Application forms are available online, for exemption you have to submit evidence of your status and/or financial conditions. Disabled persons have to pay 1/3 of the regular fee.

For companies, the fee will depend on the number of employees and on the number of cars. From 0 to 8 employees, companies have to pay 5,99 Euro (one third of the regular fee). From 9 to 19 employees, full fee applies. If you work freelance from your home, the private household fee covers your work, too. For the freelancer’s car used on the job, a fee of 5,99 Euro applies.

English information brochure here


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