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

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 tax, or how can you legally avoid it?

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

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.

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 are shown below.


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. 

Member comments

  1. 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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COST OF LIVING

Gas bills set to soar in Austria

A worldwide hike in gas prices is set to be felt in Austria.

Gas bills set to soar in Austria
Gas prices are set to rise in Austria. Photo by Ilse Driessen on Unsplash

People who buy their household energy with a contract which is based on the monthly wholesale price will notice their gas bills increasing steeply in Austria, broadcaster ORF reports. 

The gas price index (ÖGPI), which is calculated by the Austrian Energy Agency, is five times as high in September as it was a year ago, which reflects the situation on the global gas market as the world recovers from the Covid-19 pandemic.

Gas prices have surged around the globe, with the burden being placed on consumers in several countries. 

Germany has already reported an increase in gas prices for autumn and winter, but in Austria price increases in the standard tariffs have not yet been publicly announced.

Living in Austria: Five things that are actually cheap

Karina Knaus, head of the Center for Economics, Consumers and Prices at the Austrian Energy Agency, told broadcaster ORF that it could be assumed prices would rise in Austria as well.

“Since the price movements of the past few months have been very pronounced and unusual and there is currently no trend reversal in sight, it can be assumed that prices may rise here in the coming weeks and months as well.”

Knaus however said sharp spikes should not be anticipated. 

“In general, household gas prices in Austria are rather sluggish, so temporary and short-term movements on the wholesale market – neither upwards nor downwards – are usually not Immediately passed on to the households, since procurement in this segment is also long-term.”

The reason for the higher prices was a greater than usual demand during the pandemic, which has cut into gas supply. 

Prices are not expected to go down until the spring of 2022. 

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