New petition - Rundfunkbeitrag, formerly known as GEZ

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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.

 

 

 

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.

 

we were paying 17 euros something anyway so no real change but what I'm worried about at the moment is we are still registered at the Mil's house in the flat above that we built (took the roof off )20 years ago (zweitwohnsitz)and we bought a "wochenendhaus" 10 years back which has all the conections power water kanal and such (no TV but we do have a radio there)

 

edit : we have not de-registered at the old address because our cars are still registered there

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question: I am pretty sure I haven't received anything at all in the mail from the agency formerly known as GEZ since I moved into my apartment in 2011. I ignored those but it seems the mail has been strangely devoid of notices regarding the new 2013 fee structure. I also may have confused them with cable provider ads, and tossed them straightaway, but I don't even remember any of those since maybe...December?

 

Given the bits about how to challenge any payment demand, which is the tack I'd like to take, I am now worried: could they be billing my landlord directly for the fee? In which case he would roll it in with my nebenkosten and I'd then be left fighting with *him* about it? (I wouldn't do that as he's a standup guy...but how tricky would that be of TAFKAGEZ )

 

I had assumed it was always between ME and them, but please enlighten me if that's not quite true.

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"Kultur" has its price. Keep paying with complaining that will make you a good Kraut for sure.Be glad they don't charge you yet for using their fresh air. You are paying already for water and getting rid of it.Oh, you still can use a bicycle without paying tax or do they have license plates for them too now?.

And be happy that you have permission to live im Wirtschaftswunderland.(I stay rather in the land of the North and Free).

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question: I am pretty sure I haven't received anything at all in the mail from the agency formerly known as GEZ since I moved into my apartment in 2011. I ignored those but it seems the mail has been strangely devoid of notices regarding the new 2013 fee structure.

 

If you weren't previously registered with the GEZ then you are not automatically registered for the Rundfunkbeitrag - you need to explicitly register. If you are still not registered then it is likely they will subsequently identify you as a "household" which is not paying and start the process to persuade you to pay. None-payment of GEZ up to 31.12.12 is now subject to amnesty, so there should be no backpayments due prior to that time.

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FYI: it seems new residents to Germany will automatically be sent a demand to pay the new TV license.

 

When I came to Germany (December 2012) I just applied for the TV license as I don't have any objection to paying it. However, my partner came over in January 2013 and registered as a resident. One month later he automatically received a demand to pay for a TV license. Obviously we have dealt with the paperwork so we only pay one fee for the household.

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the mail has been strangely devoid of notices regarding the new 2013 fee structure. I also may have confused them with cable provider ads, and tossed them straightaway, but I don't even remember any of those since maybe...December?

 

If they were to send out all the demands in January I would say the outcry would have shut them down by now. They probally will divide by 12 and work though the backlog.

Just tell the landlord you pay if he asks.

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"they will subsequently identify you as a "household" which is not paying and start the process to persuade you to pay"

 

hehe. "persuade". I like the choice of words ;)

 

so no, I was not registered before. But I would think they'd send letters to all households explaining the change and telling everyone to register? Weird.

 

anyway, I'll wait to hear from them ;)

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They'll be getting updated address information from the Einwohnermeldeamt on March 3 and will then be able to identify people who aren't paying yet.

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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.

 

I gues they will ask you to write to them in German or Latin

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I gues they will ask you to write to them in German or Latin

 

In that case one can nail the second response to the door for extra effect.

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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.

 

If I made an equivalent amount in Canada to what I make here, I would not have to pay any taxes, including whatever percentage goes to fund the TV. I don't have to pay tax in Germany either. But when it comes to the fee I'm SOL, and would have to actually be on welfare to get out of it. Earning less than someone on welfare though, I didn't see that on the list of exceptions. Why not? The real losers in this situation are the working poor Germans, people scraping by on €6/hour. €17.98 is a significant amount when you do drudge work in a country with no minimum wage.

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None-payment of GEZ up to 31.12.12 is now subject to amnesty, so there should be no backpayments due prior to that time.

 

Is this true? Mrs Mandrax has received a bill for non-payment last year, even though I've been paying it. So if there is something I can quote back to them and kill this off; instead of having to endure an inevitably long drawn out game of ping pong with them, I'd be more than happy.

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Why is this new payment scheme even allowed to exist?

As a US citizen I already find the concept of having to pay a "TV licence" absolutely bazaar, but beyond that; using The Law to force every household pay €215.76 a year just to finance a few TV and radio stations that should otherwise be able to support themselves is just wrong, illogical, and immoral in about every way imaginable.

 

Why hasn't this issue been taken up by a "higher" European court? If it has been what was the outcome? Or is it perhaps still undergoing investigation? If it has not been brought up with Brussels, would it be possible for German residents to file some kind of class action class action lawsuit to get these outrageous fees repealed?

 

bavariablu: Jim Crow laws as well as those that forbade doing business with Jews in Germany were also seen as quite "normal" and necessary, but that by no means means that they were ever right or in any way moral. If the content owners don't like people not paying to watch their crap, then they should encrypt their bleeding signal.

 

The local baker doesn't drop a loaf of bread on my doorstep everyday and expect me to pay, as we don't have a contract. What gives a few radio and TV stations so much leverage to hold an entire population hostage?

 

Anyway, what will happen to those people who absolutely refuse to pay?

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The local baker doesn't drop a loaf of bread on my doorstep everyday and expect me to pay, as we don't have a contract. What gives a few radio and TV stations so much leverage to hold an entire population hostage?

 

True, but TV is considered cultural and or artistic. Your tax dollars/euros do go to support the arts, museums, libraries and so on. Whether TV should be considreed in the same group or not, and whether the tax should be rolled into general taxation or left separate is another question, but in principle there is nothing shocking about having socialised funding for TV.

 

In fact bread is in the US subsidised by tax dollars (or at least grain used to make it is), so I guess it would be fair to say that your tax dollars are indeed used to pay for bread whether you like it or not.

 

FWIW I dont have a TV or radio, so Im not some kind of rabid GEZ fan or anything...

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what will happen to those people who absolutely refuse to pay?

 

Nobody yet knows.

 

But I'm one of those people, and I'm not alone. I plan to post here as things unfold.

 

In the first instance, if you object to the fee, and you've never registered before, then just sit tight.

 

When the first letters start arriving, read them carefully and make sure you understand them, then file them away safely.

 

The letters will use increasingly threatening wording as time goes by. They'll be designed to scare you, even though there's nothing to be scared of.

 

It's important to recognise the point at which the wording gets so severe that things start going to court and potentially causing trouble for you.

 

But we don't know yet exactly what that wording will be. So as I say, sit tight for now, keep the letters, and keep an eye on this thread.

 

The rough schedule is:

 

 

  • February 15, 2013 - First payments were due (the bills go out quarterly in the middle of each quarter)
  • March 4, 2013 - Either on this date, or by this date, your residence registration data will be handed over to the TV companies
  • Late March or April 2013 - Probably the first letters will go out to unregistered people inviting them to register
  • May 2013 - First reminder to non-registrants that they should register
  • July 2013 - Second reminder to non-registrants that they should register
  • August/September 2013 - Final warning saying that if bills not paid within 30 days then it'll go to court

 

Those dates are very approximate. Things will become clearer as time progresses.

 

If it goes to court then you'll likely be forced to pay everything that's overdue since January 1, 2013, plus costs or a fine (although the fine will likely be minimal for a first offender).

 

If you refuse to pay after it's been to court, then they can either send round the bailiffs or intercept your salary.

 

If you're employed (as a "Festangestellte") then salary interception is most likely.

 

If you're self-employed, or otherwise self-supported, then the bailiffs will come round. They can use a locksmith if you're out, or if you refuse to answer the door. They'll take stuff of value and sell that to pay the overdue fees. They can't take stuff that is essential for living or for your business. For example they won't take your laptop if it is all you have for your work.

 

If you have absolutely nothing of value at home, and you have no salary, then you could go to jail. This is extremely unlikely though. In fact, I don't know if it's ever happened before. I've never heard of it happening, and searching the internet doesn't bring up any cases. Maybe someone else can find one.

 

If you're prepared to martyr yourself and take it all the way, let's just hope someone else martyrs themselves before you, so you know what to expect.

 

Personally, I suspect many people will get away with non-payment for a year or two before the system finally catches up with them. By then we'll know better what the process is.

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It is normal to pay a TV licence in most of Europe.

 

This is true.

 

Finland, Spain, and Iceland are the notable exceptions. And if they can manage it, why not Germany too?

 

See the map:

 

post-16-13612946116256.gif

 

Just because it is normal, however, that doesn't make it right.

 

And as time goes by it will become increasingly less right, as my next slide shows:

 

post-16-1361294621459.gif

 

Germany has already changed the system twice now in response to technology.

 

1) In 2007 they updated the fee to include computers

2) In 2013 they abandoned chasing devices and instead billed all households

 

In that respect Germany is quite progressive. The UK, for example, hasn't changed their system at all.

 

So what's next? Don't know. All we do know is that incremental changes in law will never catch up with exponential changes in technology.

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Anyway, what will happen to those people who absolutely refuse to pay?

 

They'll probably be taken to court. The judge will probably order them to pay up. If they don't pay what the judge ordered them to pay, for whatever reason, they'll be in trouble with the court, not with the GEZ (or whatever it's called now).

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It appears that the TV license fee model discriminates against people living on their own since such people have to bear the full cost of the TV license for their household. Why would the TV license be charged per household anyway? It's not "the household" that watches TV, it's the people in it. A 4-person household will, on average, consume 4 times as much TV as a 1-person household...

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