Cost of living For Members

EXPLAINED: How to pay Austria's TV and radio fee, or (legally) avoid it

The Local Austria
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EXPLAINED: How to pay Austria's TV and radio fee, or (legally) avoid it
Photo by Murai .hr on Unsplash

At between €20 and €27 per month, Austria’s TV and radio licence soon starts to add up. So who has to pay the GIS (Gebühren Info Service GmbH) TV and radio fee, or how can you legally avoid it?


Who has to pay the licence fee?

If you have any kind of device in your home, or a device which uses radio technology, you must report it to the GIS and pay the monthly fee, which varies depending on where you live in Austria. 

If you just have a radio, the tax is around €7 as opposed to €20 - €27 per month for the combined TV and radio licence. 

What devices does the tax apply to?

The tax applies to any device using: Cable TV connections, terrestrial or satellite receivers, radio components such as cable, SAT or dvb-Ts, computers and tablets with DVB-T stick or TV card or radio card and radios and other devices with FM reception. 

It does not apply to: smart TVs with no tuner or antenna connection (such as Kagis, Nogis or Pop-Tech), car radios, a computer or tablet with internet access which allows you to listen to the radio or watch TV online, as long as they do not use DVB-T sticks, TV cards or radio cards.

However, you are not permitted to connect a television without a built-in tuner or antenna to a satellite, cable or terrestrial receiver via its HDMI interface if you want  to avoid paying the GIS tax.

How can I opt out?

If your device does not fall under those subject to taxation, you should write to GIS to opt out of paying the tax.

You can access the form here. Once filled in you can send GIS the form by post (The address is GIS fees info, Postfach 1000, 1051 Wien) or online by email at [email protected].

If you buy a “GIS-free” TV, the vendor may also provide you with a certificate for the authority together with your invoice, which you can show in case of a GIS inspection.


What information do I need to provide?

You should also inform GIS in case of: a change of name or company name of the licence holder (e.g. change of name due to marriage), a change of address, a stay at another residence such as a holiday home and a change in circumstances which may mean you are exempt from paying.

In addition, portable devices must be reported wherever they are.

When do I need to pay the fee?

The GIS fee should be paid from the first day of the month in which a radio and/or television is set up ready for operation at a location.

It expires at the earliest at the end of the month in which the de-registration of the radio reception facilities is received by the GIS.

What kind of checks are they allowed to carry out?

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, you are legally required to provide them with information.

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.


When are they likely to pop around?

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.

OK, OK - so how much does it cost?

The monthly prices for licences around Austria can be found on the GIS website.

Are there any discounts?

If you are on a low income you can check using the GIS calculator if you may be eligible for exemption from the fee. 


Comments (1)

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Anonymous 2021/02/06 11:06
What about smartphones? My smartphone has FM radio app build in. It does not work without headphones but still... Do I need to pay tax for that?

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