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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 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. 

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: Rent prices rise in Austria as fuel costs drop

Inflation continues to hit Austrian households with rent rising at the fastest level for almost two decades. Meanwhile, the cost of fuel dropped in November.

Cost of living: Rent prices rise in Austria as fuel costs drop

Rent prices in Austria have risen at the fastest rate since quarterly figures were introduced in 2004, according to the latest data from Statistics Austria.

In the third quarter of 2022, the average price for rent (including operating costs) rose to €8.8 per square metre per month. This was 3.1 percent higher than in the second quarter and seven percent higher when compared with the same period in 2021.

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But the highest increase in rent was in municipal housing where costs rose by 3.8 percent to hit €7.5 per square metre. 

The Statistics Austria report found the average operating costs in Austria to be €153.3 per apartment or €2.3 per square metre. In the same period in 2021, the average operating costs were €145.7 or €2.2 per square metre.

Meanwhile, the ÖAMTC has revealed that the price of fuel in Austria decreased in November (when compared with prices in October).

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The price of a litre of premium petrol fell by 8 cents to an average of €1.678, and the cost of diesel dropped by 13 cents to €1.905 per litre. The ÖAMTC is Austria’s mobility and motorist club. 

The price comparison took place before the EU introduced a price cap on Russian oil on Monday December 5, but the ÖAMTC is expecting limited impacts on the cost of fuel in Austria, reports Kurier.

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