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What you should know about GIS

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What you should know about GIS
Photo: Shutterstock
14:23 CEST+02:00
Many of our expat readers who live in Austria have questions about GIS (Gebühren Info Service GmbH) - the company responsible for administering television and radio licenses. Who has to pay, how much is it, and what should you do if the GIS man comes knocking on your door?

According to the Austrian TV and Radio Licence Law all broadcasting reception equipment in use or operational in a home or office must be registered. So anyone with a functional radio or TV must pay a fee.

If you haven't already done so, expect to receive a letter or a visit from a GIS representative at some point. The GIS employee will be on a “fact finding” mission - to ascertain whether or not you do own a TV, radio, or other broadcast reception equipment.

The broadcasting fee depends on what province you live in, but ranges between €19,78 and €25,18 per month. In Vienna the fee is €24,88 per month, for TV and radio, and just €7,18 per month for radio only.

Effectively this means you are paying around 52 cents per day for four TV channels, three national and nine regional radio stations plus online content.

A court decision in July 2015 ruled that a computer or tablet plus internet access does not automatically count as a broadcasting reception device - meaning you don't have to pay a radio license, even if you listen to radio online.

However, you will still need to pay the TV license if you use a TV tuner card or DVB-T USB stick to watch and record live television on your computer.

If a GIS employee comes to your door you can ask them for proof of ID. If you decide that you don't want to talk to them and close the door they should not try to prevent you from doing this - for example, by putting a foot in the door.

However, they are entitled to leave an information leaflet under your door and they can also write a statement that you refused to provide information, which can be forwarded to the district authority.

Refusal to provide information about whether you own any broadcasting reception equipment is an administrative offence and can be punished with a fine of up to €2,180.

A GIS employee is not allowed to enter your home to check if you have a TV or radio, unless you invite them to.

If you have already paid the license fee you shouldn't get a visit, but if you do just show them your post office or bank slip receipt, or the relevant line on your bank statement.

GIS customer service employees make visits on weekdays between 8am and 9pm and on Saturday between 9am and 5pm, but not on Sundays or public holidays.



 

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