New petition - Rundfunkbeitrag, formerly known as GEZ

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That's correct. It is indeed going to court. For which there will be a roughly €75 fee. Which is something, but it's less than paying the licence.

 

You won't have to actually attend court yourself though, of course.

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If you don't attend court you lose automatically.

Basic principle of the German civil judicial system.

 

Anyway, the GEZ in its new incarnation still being a Körperschaft des öffentlichen Rechts, you wouldn't go to the normal court, the Amtsgericht, but to the Verwaltungsgericht, for details see here.

 

What the above web site doesn't say, when you lose, you also have to pay the GEZ's lawyer's fees, see here for details of how much that would be: http://cgi.katrin-brockmann.de/user-cgi-bin/risk.php

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So you agree the meaning of Klage does not need to be updated.

 

As for attendance at court, I agree, that's an open question.

 

The TT page will be updated as details become clearer.

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So you agree the meaning of Klage does not need to be updated.

 

As for attendance at court, that's an open question.

 

I would call it lawsuit. Legal complaint does not have - at least to me - the connotation of going to court.

 

And you have to attend if there will be a mündliche Verhandlung, otherwise you lose automatically.

For details of the process in front of the Verwaltungsgericht please see here: http://www.mv-justiz.de/pages/verwalt_gerichte/ablauf_vg_ger.htm

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OK, we'll stick with Klage for now as that's what the German-language protest sites are using.

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I threw the letters from the previous system straight in the bin.

 

With the new system, however, if you're planning not to pay then it's wise to keep a paper trail of what stage their demands are at.

 

The first few letters can be thrown away, but at some point they will change in tone and then you have to decide what you do next.

 

You can either pay, or counter claim. If you simply ignore them then they won't go away. Not this time. And eventually the bailiffs will come round.

 

"Bloß nicht zahlen"

 

 

Wer bereits eine Zahlungsaufforderung erhalten hat, müsse prüfen, ob diese eine Rechtsbehelfsbelehrung beinhaltet. Falls nicht, ist das Zuwarten möglich. Es muss nicht gezahlt werden.

 

Falls die Rechtsbehelfsbelehrung angehängt ist, würden sich zwei Optionen ergeben: Entweder müsse gegen den Bescheid Widerspruch eingelegt werden. Oder es wird unter Vorbehalt bezahlt.

 

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Under the previous rules, what mattered was what devices were present in one's residence, which, thanks to privacy rules, the GEZ guys couldn't easily verify unless the owner voluntarily let them into his house when they showed up at the door.

 

Under the new rules, what matters is having a residence. Since there's nothing that the GEZ guys need to prove any more, I don't see how one can avoid coughing up the monthly fee this time around...

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I really don't see how the Gleichbehandlungsgrundsatz is grounds for a complaint here, regardless of what that small-town shyster in the article Bob linked says. All households now pay the same fee. It doesn't get any gleicher than that. Unless it refers to the fact that single-person households pay the same as families. But there's a simple solution to that: move into a flatshare. Or get married. The Gleichbehandlungsgrundsatz doesn't protect you from having to deal with the consequences of your life choices.

 

I've said it before and I'll say it again: as much as I'd prefer a different outcome, I severely doubt that we'll see the end of the German TV license in our lifetimes. It's been around far too long and there are far too many vested interests in its continued existence - from politicians of all stripes (except perhaps Die Linke, who pride themselves on being contrary, and various splinter groups that will never make it onto the national stage) to the major churches (which are guaranteed free air time) to the tens of millions of people who watch and enjoy Wetten Dass? and Tatort each month.

 

Even if 80,000 people have signed the online petition (the signatures are unverified, of course), that still represents less than 1% of the German population.

 

The only way ARD/ZDF/BBC and the rest were ever going to go away would be through action in Brussels, but they've repeatedly asserted the member states' rights to have publicly financed broadcasting systems.

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there are far too many vested interests [...] from politicians [...] to the major churches (which are guaranteed free air time)

 

He he, if indeed the Churches are behind this, then those who are paying Church Tax could stop doing so and send a letter to their (former) Church saying something along the lines of:

 

As I am now legally obliged to purchase a yearly TV license, and as there's only so much tax I'm willing and able to pay, I regret to inform you that I have decided to suspend my yearly Church membership in order to offset the lost revenue.

 

I wonder how they'll react.

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I don't get how they got away with more than doubling the price and making it so obscenely expensive. That's almost as much as you'd pay for actually good TV in Canada, and then only if you want to.

 

Hoping I can use student status to get out of it. It's technically a shared flat though, so maybe my landlord will have to pay anyway. <_<

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That's almost as much as you'd pay for actually good TV in Canada, and then only if you want to.

 

Actually, the CBC in Canada receives more than a billion dollars in taxpayer-funded subsidies every year. However, since these subsidies come out of general taxes and are otherwise invisible, few people take notice, and few people complain.

 

At least, the TV license fee in Germany is transparent.I wonder how German taxpayers would react if they were made aware of what comes out of their pocket every month for the various services funded through their taxes. If the Hausverwaltung of my building is sending me an itemized bill every year showing me how much of my Nebenkosten are going for this and that, the Finanzamt could do the same. If they did that, then I suspect that the TV license fee would look like a pretty good deal.

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I wonder if an argument could be made against the first point:

 

1. A single-dwelling person pays double that of a co-habiting person, yet both receive the same service

 

If there is more than one person in the household then you receive less of a service if you only have one TV because you have to share it with the other inhabitants ;)

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I wonder if an argument could be made against the first point:

 

You could also make an argument against the second point, which objects that the fees do not vary according to income level like taxes do. True, but then again, according to statistics at least, the lower one's income is, the more time he spends watching TV :-)

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the lower one's income is, the more time he spends watching TV

I know you were only joking, but still, it's clear that a single mother who works all day at minimum wage to feed her two children does NOT have as much time for TV as the bored housewife supported by her millionaire husband.

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I don't get how they got away with more than doubling the price and making it so obscenely expensive.

 

Some you win, some you lose. On a private level I pay the same as before, and on a business level less than a quarter of what I paid previously.

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I know you were only joking, but still, it's clear that a single mother who works all day at minimum wage to feed her two children does NOT have as much time for TV as the bored housewife supported by her millionaire husband.

 

100% correct. However, in your example, the fee structure of the TV license doesn't appear to be less fair than (progressive) income tax. The single mother has to pay at least some income tax on her modest earnings, while the bored housewife, who has no formal source of income, pays zero income tax (she probably even reduces her millionaire husband's tax liability).

 

In fact, the three persons in your example follow the statistical pattern I mentioned: if you order them according to how much they contribute to the coffers of the Finanzamt, you'd have the millionaire on top, then the single mother, then the housewife. But that's precisely the reverse order of how much TV they're watching :-)

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...people are aiming to avoid it by putting in a claim that it's unconstitutional according to the equality principle (Gleichbehandlungsgrundsatz).

 

Details: toytowngermany.com/tv-licence

 

I would not use this argument: after all, progressive income tax is also not equal (but fair).

 

 

if you order them according to how much they contribute to the coffers of the Finanzamt

Finanzamt. This is the only authority which is allowed to collect taxes in Germany, local Finanzamt. So, after TV license fee have become a tax based on residency, GEZ is no longer allowed to collect it.

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