The TV tax is a public broadcasting tax in Germany. It costs 18.36€ per household per month.

What is the TV tax?

The TV tax (Rundfunkbeitrag) is a broadcasting fee. It pays for dozens of public television and radio channels. It pays for news, live sports, documentaries and entertainment. Most of the content is also on the internet1.

The TV tax is collected by the ARD ZDF Deutschlandradio Beitragsservice. It was called the GEZ (Gebühreneinzugszentrale) until 20131.

How much is the TV tax?

The German TV tax costs 18.36€ per household per month. Each household pays 18.36€/month. If you live with other people, only one person has to pay the TV tax.

Do I really have to pay it?

Yes. Every household must pay the TV tax. If you don't pay, the Beitragsservice will send a collection agency. It will be much more expensive, and it will affect your Schufa score1.

Some people try not to pay, and it rarely works. Some people went to jail because they refused to pay1, 2.

How to pay the TV tax

You don't need to register for the TV tax. When you register your address, the Bürgeramt tells the Beitragsservice, and the Beitragsservice collects the TV tax1.

Every 3 months, you get an invoice from ARD ZDF Deutschlandradio Beitragsservice. In the envelope, there is a yellow paper with the payment information. If you choose to pay automatically, you don't get that letter.

Payment information (in German) - rundfunkbeitrag.de

Pay automatically

This is the easiest way. Take 2 minutes to fill a form, and the Beitragsservice will automatically collect the TV tax from your bank account.

How to enable automatic payments:

  1. Find your account number (Beitragsnummer). It's on the letters the Beitragsservice send you. It has 9 digits. You can also use the last 9 digits of the payment reference number (RF30X000000000).
  2. Open the account information form
  3. Enter your name, address, account number and other details.
  4. On the next step, choose "Zahlungsweise", and under "Zahlungsart", choose "Lastschrift von meinem/unserem konto".
  5. Enter your bank information (your IBAN and account name), and save the form.

Pay by bank transfer

Every 3 months, you will get a letter from the Beitragsservice. The letter has the correct payment details. It also has a QR code that you can scan with your banking app.

How to pay by bank transfer:

  1. Find your account number (Beitragsnummer). It's on the letters the Beitragsservice send you. It has 9 digits. You can also use the last 9 digits of the payment reference number (RF30X000000000).
  2. Make a SEPA transfer. Each state has different payment details1, but you can use the central Beitragsservice bank account:
    Recipient: Rundfunk ARD, ZD, DRadio
    IBAN:
    DE85 3701 0050 0123 4565 03
    BIC:
    PBNKDEFFXXX
    Kunden-Referenznummer / message:
    RF30X_________ (the last 9 digits are your Beitragsnummer)

If you live with other people

Each household pays 18.36€/month. If you live with other people, only one person has to pay the TV tax§3.1. You can decide how you share the cost. If someone in your household already pays the TV tax, you must fill this deregistration form.

If you live in a student dorm (Studenten­wohn­heim), you must still pay the TV tax1, 2.

How to pay less

Some people pay less, or don't pay anything:

  • Students
    If you get financial aid (BAföG)1, you don't pay the TV tax.
  • Apprentices (Azubis)
    If you get financial aid (Ausbildungs­geld), you don't pay the TV tax. Most apprentices have to pay the TV tax1.
  • ALG II and Sozialgeld recipients
    If you receive social benefits, you do not pay the TV tax1.
  • People with disabilities
    If you have RF in your disabled person's pass (Schwerbehindertenausweis), you pay 1/3 of the fee1, §5.3.
  • Senior citizens
    If you live in a nursing home§3.2, or you get financial aid, you don't pay the TV tax.
  • Asylum seekers
    Residences for asylum seekers do not pay the TV tax§3.2.
  • Secondary residence
    You don't pay the TV tax for your secondary residence (Nebenwohnung)1, §4a. You must apply for an exemption.

Ask for a reduction or an exemption (in German) - rundfunkbeitrag.de

How to stop paying

If you leave Germany, you must tell the Beitragsservice. You will stop getting Rundfunkbeitrag letters. You can do this online. It takes 2 minutes.

Deregister from the TV tax (in German) - rundfunkbeitrag.de