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How to (legally) avoid paying the ORF TV and radio fee in Austria?

Amanda Previdelli
Amanda Previdelli - [email protected]
How to (legally) avoid paying the ORF TV and radio fee in Austria?
A TV remote control. Photo by Chris DELMAS / AFP

Austria is instituting an 'ORF fee' to support the public broadcaster that every household will have to pay from 2024. But is there any way to avoid the payment?


Starting in 2024, every household in Austria will need to pay €15.30 for the ORF fee, replacing the current "GIS fee", which was only applicable to homes with a television or radio device.

However, this new fee will be increased by province-level taxes, except in Lower Austria, Upper Austria, and Vorarlberg, where regional governments have announced that they will waive the tax. Salzburg is also reportedly considering the possibility of waiving the fee.

You can check out more about how much the fee will cost in each province HERE.

The changes are coming after a Constitutional Court decision on the previous GIS fee. Currently, only homes that have a TV or radio device have to pay for it. However, anyone who has internet access can find and watch content produced by the public broadcaster online. Austria's highest court decided that this was unconstitutional - unfair to those who pay the fee - and told the country's politicians to devise a solution by 2024.

READ ALSO: What is the new ORF TV licence fee every household in Austria will have to pay?

Several ideas were debated, but the Austrian government finally agreed on a common (lower) household fee that every single home in the country would have to pay. Instead of the GIS tariff, people would have to pay for the ORF fee regardless of whether or not they have a television or radio set.

With a few exceptions.

Can I avoid paying the ORF fee?

The ORF fee is just as controversial as the GIS, with many people in Austria voicing that they'd rather not pay for a service they don't use. Previously, those people had the choice of not buying a television (instead watching streaming services on a laptop, monitor or projector). They could also pay for a specialised service that removes the reception device on a TV, allowing it to access ORF broadcast.


Now, all of that is off the table.

The only exceptions are those that already existed with the GIS. So, a net household income for one person that does not exceed € 1,243.49 (2023 numbers) or net income up to € 1,961.75 for two persons in a household and € 191.87 per additional person would be exempt.

With the appropriate proof, the unemployed, the deaf or recipients of childcare allowance subsidies are also exempt.

BACKGROUND: Austria set to make TV and radio fees mandatory for everyone

Also exempt, according to the GIS, are "recipients of benefits from other public funds due to need for social assistance," including recipients of basic benefits, those doing community service or those exempt from prescription charges.

In addition, recipients of minimum income support, long-term care benefits, student or pupil benefits and pensioners are also exempt - if they do not exceed the income mentioned above.

Other exemptions are to secondary homes, as the new fee will only apply to primary residences.


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