Austria set to make TV and radio fees mandatory for everyone

So far, people in Austria have been able to avoid paying GIS if they don't have a TV or radio which can access the public channels, such as ORF. This however looks set to change after a court decision.

Austria set to make TV and radio fees mandatory for everyone
Photo by Karolina Grabowska from Pexels

Austria’s TV and radio licence can set people who have TV equipment at home back between €22.45 and €28.25, depending on the state, a month. Most of that money goes to the public broadcaster ORF and pays for in-house productions, broadcasting equipment, technical equipment, licenses and more.

The money ORF receives ensures the independence of the public service broadcasting, according to Austria’s constitutional court.

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

Even people who don’t watch ORF programs need to pay for GIS, as long as they have a device capable of receiving the broadcast. You can legally opt out of payment by either getting rid of your TV and radio or converting your television so that it no longer receives broadcasts.

Still, even without a television or radio set at home, anyone with access to the internet can watch and hear all of ORF’s content – the broadcaster has an extensive library and even apps that show the content live.

That is about to change.

Free receipt of ORF programs via the internet is ‘unconstitutional’

On Monday, July 18th, Austria’s constitutional court ruled that receiving ORF programs online without paying the GIS fee is unconstitutional. The decision will enter into force at the end of 2023, and legislators must adapt the regulations by then.

The court stated that exempting those who access the content only online from payment “distributes the financing burden significantly unevenly”.

READ ALSO: What you should know about GIS

By the end of the year, Austria’s Parliament will have to decide on new rules not to exempt those who access ORF online from payment.

This could mean that everyone in Austria will have to pay the infamous fee. Or perhaps everyone with either/or a TV capable of receiving broadcast, a radio, or Internet access will have to pay for it.

A new regulation is required from January 1st 2024.

Member comments

  1. The biggest scam in Austria. They send people to come to your house and intimidate you with legal action to pay their monthly fee, even if you’re an English-speaking expat with no cable subscription.

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For members


Reader question: I’ve received my Austrian Klimabonus as a voucher, now what?

Austria's federal government is sending out €500 payments directly to the bank accounts of millions of people, but many have been getting vouchers. Here's what to do with them.

Reader question: I've received my Austrian Klimabonus as a voucher, now what?

With rising inflation, mainly due to the increasing energy costs, people in Austria have seen their salaries purchasing less and less. Because of that, the federal government announced a €6 billion package with assistance, tax cuts and one-off payments.

The main (and somewhat controversial) payment is the so-called “climate bonus and anti-inflation payment”, better known as Klimabonus in Austria. Residents of the country will receive €500 to help cushion the effects of climbing prices. Minors are entitled to half that amount.

The only criterium is that the recipient must have lived in Austria for at least 181 days in 2022 to be eligible for the payment. It doesn’t matter your nationality or employment status – if you have spent six months legally in 2022 in the country, you will get the money.

READ ALSO: When will Austria make the €500 anti-inflation payment and how do I get it?

Money vs voucher

The main difference between recipients is that some will receive the money automatically in their bank accounts and others will get a mailed voucher.

If your bank data is up to date with Austria’s financial institution FinanzAMT on their FinanzOnline portal, you should receive the payment straight to your account. If not, they will mail you the Klimabonus voucher via a secure letter – meaning you need to be at home to sign for it.

READ ALSO: How could Austria’s new electricity price brake benefit you?

There is also an option to have someone else sign the letter for you via a power of attorney form. You can read more about it here.

Once the voucher arrives and you sign for it, you need to redeem it. After that, it’s possible to use them in hundreds of locations, including supermarkets, bookshops and bookshops to thousands of stores.

READ ALSO: EXPLAINED: How Austria’s new finance measures could benefit you

You can check the nearest location that will accept your vouchers here.

Additionally, you can trade your vouchers (they come as ten €50 vouchers) for cash on the official Bank99, which is the bank owned by the Austrian Post and that can be found in hundreds of the Postal Service’s branches.