Once you have successfully registered yourself with the local Town Hall (hyperlink to Town Hall), you are bound to receive a letter from an organization known as the “ARD ZDF Deutschland radio Beitragsservice” (formerly known as “GEZ” or Gebühreneinzugszentrale) regarding the Rundfunkbeitrag, which is the licence fee for general public access to radio and TV channels in Germany.
The Beitragsservice is basically the state-owned and run organisation responsible for collecting radio and television subscription fees under the country’s public law. Every household (with very few exceptions) is obligated to pay these licence fees. A flat-rate contribution of €17.50 per month is charged to every apartment, regardless of whether any radio or television devices in a household are available and/or used. The fee must generally be submitted in three-month payments.
If several students live together, then only one person is required to pay the licence fee, which can then be divided and paid for by the rest of the students living in the household. The person in charge, hence, pays the fee for all residents living at the residence. Thus, students living in shared accommodations specifically benefit from this rule.
Exemptions and Reductions
Those individuals receiving social welfare payments are exempt from paying this fee. Individuals with disabilities pay a reduced fee.
- Anyone receiving unemployment benefits (Arbeitslosengeld II), social support (Sozialgeld) or basic pension (Grundsicherung im Alter) can apply for an exemption from the licence fee. The individual is expected to present evidence from the relevant authorities in such cases.
- Recipient of educational grants, such as the Federal Financial Aid (BAföG), a Vocational Training Aid (Berufsausbildungsbeihilfe) or a Training Allowance (Ausbildungsgeld) is also eligible to apply for an exemption from the licence fee with the relevant evidence.
- Individuals with disabilities with the code “RF” inscribed on their disabled person’s pass can apply for a reduction in fee, and thus only have to pay a fee of €5.83 per month. Deaf 0r blind people as well as recipients of Blindenhilfe can apply for an exemption from this fee if they supply the relevant evidence.
In addition to the above-mentioned points, you should take notice of the following scenarios:
1. If you are moving to another house
- If you have already paid the licence fee, then please inform the Beitragsservice von ARD, ZDF und Deutschlandradio about your new address.
- In case you still have not paid the licence fee, then please register. Only one person is required to be registered per residence.
- If someone lives at the residence where you intend on moving and has already paid the licence fee, then you can deregister if you used to pay the licence fee at your previous address. This may require you to state your licence fee number when contacting the Beitragsservice von ARD, ZDF und Deutschlandradio, and also state the number of the registered persons already living at that residence.
2. You want to register or change your details
The registration process is simple and can be done online at www.rundfunkbeitrag.de.
- Change of address, account details and names can be done online.
- If you intend on informing us of any changes in the address, account details or names in writing, you can make use of the forms available at local banks. The relevant forms can also be downloaded from www.rundfunkbeitrag.de.
- You are required to make any deregistrations and applications for exemptions in writing, and accompany them with the relevant proof or evidence from the corresponding authority.
Please send your applications along with the relevant evidence to the following address:
Beitragsservice von ARD, ZDF und Deutschlandradio,
More information can be obtained from the ARD ZDF German Broadcast Contribution Services (ARD ZDF Deutschlandradio Beitragsservice) through their website www.rundfunkbeitrag.de or by calling their hotline 01806 99955501 on weekdays from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.