The broadcasting license fee (Rundfunkbeitrag), known until 2012 as the GEZ license fee, finances the large family of broadcasters ARD, ZDF and Deutschlandradio.
The broadcast fee (formerly GEZ) is currently €18.36 per month (status: August 2021). The fee is generally paid quarterly (€55.08). As a rule, the money is transferred in the middle of three months or debited from the account by direct debit. Alternatively, you can pay in advance for half a year or for a full year. There is no monthly payment. The fee is charged per household. It does not matter how many people live in the family and how many devices (TV, computer, radio, etc.) are available.
Under certain conditions, an exemption from the fee is possible.
What is a household or an apartment?
The decisive factor for the obligatory payment of the broadcasting fee is the housing situation. A dwelling is defined as “a fixed, structurally self-contained unit, used for stays or overnight stays, which has its own entrance and which is not connected”. Household refers to all persons living in a dwelling.
Accommodation in the form of a room or shared apartment (eg boarding school or barracks) is not subject to broadcast royalties.
Who is exempt from broadcasting royalties?
You may be exempt from the license fee, for example, if you receive one of the following social benefits:
Arbeitslosengeld II or Sozialgeld Food aid (Hilfe zum Lebensunterhalt) according to SGB XII and Bundesversorgungsgesetz Basic aid (Grundsicherung) in the event of old age and disability Benefits according to the Asylum Seekers’ Benefits Act Aid for the blind Care allowance long-term care according to state law Long-term care benefits according to the law on equalization of charges (Lastenausgleichsgesetz) Long-term care aid according to SGB XII or long-term care aid for war victims according to BVG
The following groups are also exempt from broadcasting rights:
Persons benefiting from care leave Adults residing in a residential establishment
Do I have to pay to stream as a student?
In principle, every adult in Germany is obliged to pay for the broadcast. However, those who receive a Bafög or a vocational training allowance may, under certain circumstances, be exempted. School children, students or trainees who still live at home are also not required to pay – in this case, their parents take over.
When is the fee due?
The deadline for payment of the broadcast fee is four weeks. If the amount due is not paid, the Contributions Service (Beitragsservice) sends a notification. At the same time, a penalty for late payment is automatically charged in the amount of 1%, but not less than 8 euros. To avoid missing any payments, you can opt for the SEPA direct debit procedure.
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