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Crackdown on dodgers of mandatory German broadcaster fees in May

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Crackdown on dodgers of mandatory German broadcaster fees in May
Photo: DPA
11:31 CEST+02:00
Up until now, many German households have been able to avoid the monthly €17.50 fee for public television and radio broadcasters. But this is set to change very soon.

One of the biggest complaints expats have when they move to Deutschland is the €17.50 Rundfunkbeitrag (broadcasting contribution) they need to pay each month. Since 2013, every household regardless of whether residents have a TV or radio, must pay this fee.

Some have found ways to avoid paying it, but this is likely to change in a few weeks' time. Fee dodgers will be discovered from May 6th, Westdeutsche Allgemeine Zeitung (WAZ) reported on Thursday, as a so-called reconciliation of data will take place.

The federal states have legally agreed to the crackdown in an effort to prevent further fee dodgers from slipping through the cracks.

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On May 6th, data from the residents' registration offices will be passed on to the fee collection service of ARD, ZDF and Deutschlandradio (commonly referred to as the Beitragsservice). Those who have been avoiding the fee will be contacted via post after an evaluation of the data.

Residents who don't currently have a Rundfunkbeitrag account set up will also likely be contacted and asked whether they live in a household where someone is responsible for the payment.

Fee dodgers should also note that it could be pricey. "The broadcasting contribution is legally owed and must therefore be paid retroactively," the Beitragsservice stated.

According to the federal states, over the past five years, about one million households in Germany have not been recorded as having paid the necessary fees, reported WAZ.

A similar nationwide reconciliation of data - referred to as a “one-off” adjustment - occurred in 2013 when the fee was introduced.

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