What is the GEZ/Rundfunkbeitrag, and why should I pay it?

What is the GEZ/Rundfunkbeitrag, and why should I pay it?

Why are you receiving this 52.50€ bill, and what can you do about it? Here's everything you need to know about the Rundfunkbeitrag

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This guide is a guest contribution by Richard Schuhmann from Block Learning System, a blog about German and Germany.

There is one thing in Germany most people don't know about before they move here. It is the so-called Rundfunkbeitrag (broadcast contribution), formerly known as GEZ-Gebühreneinzugszentrale, which each household in Germany has to pay a fee to. Every three months after registering an address in Germany, you will get a 52.50€ bill from Rundfunk ARD, ZDF und Deutschlandradio. This is your contribution to the public broadcast networks in Germany.

Previously, people could avoid the fee by declaring they did not have a television or a radio set. Since January 2013, the GEZ simplified the billing process by charging a flat fee for each household.

How much do you have to pay?

Here comes the tricky part. Each household has to pay 17.50€ per month. If you live with your partner or in a shared apartment, only one of you has to pay the GEZ! It doesn't matter if you live by yourself or if you share a flat with 25 other people; the monthly amount stays the same.

If someone in your household is already paying, you can do an Abmeldung on the GEZ website by filling this form.

Can you just not pay?

NO! Do not ignore these letters! If you don't pay, you will be charged extra fees, and eventually get sued. They will win. So be prepared to get such a letter every three months. However, some people are exempt from this fee:

  • Students and trainees (Azubis)
  • Hartz IV recipients
  • Retirees who receive social assistance
  • People with disabilities - the fee is reduced to 5.83€/month for those with RF in their disabled person's pass
  • Residents of nursing homes
  • Asylum seekers

For each group, there are specific conditions to avoid the fee1. For example, if you are a student, it's not enough to study; you must also be a BAföG (financial aid) recipient and must not live with your parents.

You can request a reduction or an exemption from the Rundfunkbeitrag by filling this form.

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