German Court Strikes Down Challenge To Mandatory Broadcasting Tax

By Stephen Fuchs on Email @StephenWFuchs

German TV Tower

The Federal Administrative Court of Germany dismissed 18 challenges to earlier lower-court rulings upholding the mandatory broadcasting tax known as the Rundfunkgebühr on Friday, declaring that the fee is indeed constitutional even if one does not own a radio or TV.

This broadcasting fee has been around in Germany since the early days of radio, and while this fee used to be based on the number of devices a household had, in 2013 the government passed a new law that made this tax mandatory for all household, even if they had no radio or TV.

For those who had multiple TVs, radios and computers in their home, the 2013 change meant lower fees as it got rid of the per device charge and locked the tax in at 17.50 euros ($19.72) a month. But for those who had been claiming to have none of these devices in their home, they now are forced to pay for a service they are not using.

It’s hard to believe that in 2016 someone would not have at least one form of radio, TV or computer, and the German federal court used that argument in their ruling, stating that “because of technical developments” it would take too much effort to reliably confirm that someone has no access to any form of device that would be able to receive broadcasting.


Source: The Associated Press
Photo: Kevin Christopher Burke [Flickr]

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Stephen Fuchs
Stephen founded German Pulse and LGBT Germany out of a passion to introduce Americans to a Germany that goes beyond beer and polka (although with enough beer he has been known to polka it up a bit). He's a coffee addict, lover of wine and good times, a hit in the kitchen and editor of TV commercials. You can follow him on Twitter (@StephenWFuchs) to find out a lot more.
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