How much is the licence fee for public broadcasting?

The licence fee amounts to € 17.50 per month, which is booked every three months. That means you have to pay € 52.50 every three months. You can also opt for a semi-annual or annual prepayment. Once you register, you can decide whether you want to transfer the funds manually or prefer it to be collected automatically (via SEPA direct debit).

Who has to pay licence fees for public broadcasting?

In principle, every adult has to pay the fee. However, the contribution is to be made per household and not per capita, i.e. each flat/house needs to make a single contribution. If you and your family live in an apartment, one adult person's contribution suffices for the whole household.

The same applies if you share an apartment with flat mates. If you live alone, you have to pay 17.50 € per month. If you live with several adults, you pay a total of 17,50 € which you can then split amongst yourselves. Keep in mind that you have to decide who should register with the Contributions’ Service ("Beitragsservice ") and make the payment.

How should I register?

The licence fee will not be automatically withdrawn from your account. You have to first register at rundfunkbeitrag.de- and if you are moving, you will need to provide your new address. You can change your address online at rundfunkbeitrag.de. In case you leave Germany and give up your apartment, you have to unsubscribe on rundfunkbeitrag.de.

Please note: The Contributions’ Service makes a so-called registration data reconciliation ("Meldedatenabgleich") and thus, obtains the registration data of all the adults registered in Germany from the residents' registration offices. As a result, they can easily determine who has not yet registered for their licence fees.

What if I do not register?

If you do not register within a month, you are committing an administrative offence, which can be punished by a fine of up to 1000 euro. If you do not pay despite repeated warnings, your account may get impounded. In the worst case, you may face hefty fines or even imprisonment.

Are there any deadlines I need to keep in mind?

You have to register when you move in or out of an apartment within a month. Otherwise, you will face a fine, which you must pay within four weeks from the due date. The way you pay the fee depends on your agreement with the Contributions' Service. If you use the SEPA procedure, the Contributions' Service will automatically deduct the fees from your bank account. If you prefer to transfer the money manually, make sure you transfer the funds on time. If you forget to pay, you will receive a so-called "Festsetzungsbescheid". You then have to pay your contributions plus a so-called "late payment fine" ("Säumniszuschlag"), which is a kind of penalty for the delayed payment.

Can I get exempt from paying licence fees?

Individuals who receive social benefits such as unemployment benefit II, asylum seekers' benefits, basic old-age pension or social support may be exempted from contribution. Furthermore, those going through vocational training and students who receive vocational training allowance (BAB) or BAföG (and no longer live with their parents) can apply for an exemption.

To apply for an exemption, you must fill an application form at rundbeitbeitrag.de, print it out and send it to the contributions' service. Along with the form, you need to submit necessary certificates from the respective authority (i.e. Jobcentre, Bafög Office, etc.). You can find the address of the contribution service on rundfunkbeitrag.de.

Please note: If you share an apartment with several people and not all are exempt from the licence fee, your household needs to pay licence fees.

Anyone who is being cared for in an elderly home or nursing home full-time can opt-out at rundfunkbeitrag.de and stop making contributions. Furthermore, blind, partially sighted, deaf and hearing-impaired individuals can apply for their licence fees to be reduced on the same website.

Do asylum seekers have to pay licence fees?

Asylum seekers who live in shared accommodation or (only temporarily) in a flat do not have to pay licence fees. If you receive a letter from the Contributions' Service nonetheless, you can respond by sending a sample letter (from the Consumers' Center) which establishes your exemption. You can find the sample letter at verbraucherzentrale.de.

However, if you live in an apartment and can earn a living - i.e. you no longer receive asylum seekers' benefits- you have to pay the licence fee. That means you can only get exempt from contribution if you do not earn money. Read more in the section "Can I get exempt from paying licence fees?".

What do I have to consider as a self-employed person?

You also have to pay a licence fee for your business premises. The amount of the fee depends on the number of your permanent establishments, employees and motor vehicles (cars, trucks, etc.). On rundfunkbeitrag.de, you can calculate the amount of your due contribution.

Please note: If your office is located in your home, you still have to register it as a business premise at the Broadcast Support Service. However, if your office does not have a separate entrance (and can only be accessed via the apartment door), you do not have to make a separate contribution for your business.

For every business premise for which you pay a broadcasting fee, there can be one car (used privately and for work) for which you do not need to make any contributions. In other words, if you have a business premise and a car (which is used privately and for work), you do not have to make an extra contribution for the vehicle. However, for each additional vehicle that is used privately and for work, you have to pay a licence fee (monthly 5.83 €).