This a very useful piece of information from Bielefeld University’s Welcome Center. You need to pay even if you don’t own a TV – internet, radio, smart phones count too! So basically no-one is exempt…

Broadcasting License Fees – Rundfunkbeiträge

Everyone who stays longer than three months in Germany must register and pay broadcasting license fees. You pay €17.98 per month for each household. This means that a flat-sharing community, family, or couple, only have to pay one charge per month.

Why do they collect fees for broadcasting?
The Broadcasting License Fees are a way of financing broadcasting stations subject to public law. The costs cover the usage of television, radio, computer, and smartphone. Since the fees are paid per household, it does not matter how many broadcasting devices are used by the members of a household.

Are there exceptions?
None, unless you are severely physically handicapped (deaf or blind).

How can I pay the fee?
You can get applications online or at city hall, Niederwall 23, 33597 Bielefeld. You will need a German bank account to make the payment via giro transfer or direct debit. Make sure to cancel your contract at least six weeks before you leave Germany in order to stop payments.

More Information
http://www.rundfunkbeitrag.de/
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Geb%C3%BChreneinzugszentrale

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