What is the GEZ in Germany?

The GEZ (Gebühreneinzugszentrale), officially known as the Beitragsservice von ARD, ZDF und Deutschlandradio, is the public broadcasting fee collection agency in Germany. It is responsible for collecting fees that fund public broadcasting services provided by ARD (Arbeitsgemeinschaft der öffentlich-rechtlichen Rundfunkanstalten der Bundesrepublik Deutschland), ZDF (Zweites Deutsches Fernsehen), Deutschlandradio, and other public broadcasters.

The GEZ operates under the legal framework of the Rundfunkbeitragsstaatsvertrag (Broadcasting Contribution State Treaty) and is mandated to collect fees from households and businesses that receive broadcast services. The fee is designed to ensure the independent financing of public broadcasting and guarantee its provision to all citizens, regardless of whether they own a television, radio, or other receiving devices.

Previously, the fee was primarily associated with television and radio ownership. However, with the introduction of the new system in 2013, the fee became residence-based rather than device-based. This means that every household or business in Germany is required to pay the fee, regardless of the number or type of receiving devices they own.

How high are the broadcasting fees in Germany?

The amount of the fee is determined by the State Treaty and is subject to regular adjustments. As of the current regulations, each household or business is charged a flat rate fee, regardless of the number of residents or employees. Certain exemptions and discounts may apply, such as for students, people with disabilities, or individuals receiving social welfare benefits.

Currently, the broadcasting fee for residential households in Germany is set at €18.36 per month, regardless of the number of people living in the household or the number of devices they own.

This fee covers all the residents in a household, allowing them access to public broadcasting services on various devices such as televisions, radios, and online streaming platforms.

For businesses and institutions, the broadcasting fee is calculated based on specific criteria such as the type and size of the organization. The fees vary depending on factors such as the number of employees, the area of the premises, and the purpose of the organization. Businesses and institutions are required to provide information about their size and nature of operations to determine the appropriate fee amount.

GEZ in Germany
The fees are based on the principle of “residence-based” rather than “device-based” payment

Who has to pay the broadcasting fees in Germany?

In general, every household in Germany is subject to the broadcasting fees, regardless of whether they own a television or other broadcasting devices.

Thus, if several people live together in a household, only one person has to pay vicariously for the household. Each registered address then receives a contribution number, which can be used to prove whether the broadcasting fees are being paid.

If two people from the same household receive a notification from the GEZ that they have to pay the fees, one person can deregister from the GEZ. This can also be done using the online form on the GEz website.

The fees are based on the principle of “residence-based” rather than “device-based” payment. This means that the fees are linked to the occupancy of a residence rather than the ownership or usage of specific devices.

Who is exempt from the broadcasting fee?

Exceptions and reductions are available for certain groups of individuals. Here are some of the main categories that may be exempt or receive a reduction:

  • People receiving social welfare benefits: Individuals who receive certain social welfare benefits, such as unemployment benefits or basic income support, may be eligible for an exemption or reduction of the broadcasting fees. They need to provide proof of their benefit status to the authorities.
  • Students living in dormitories: Students who reside in university or educational institution dormitories may be exempt from paying the broadcasting fees. However, this exemption is typically applicable only if the dormitory has a collective agreement with the relevant authorities.
  • Severely disabled individuals: People with severe disabilities may qualify for an exemption or reduction of the fees. The disability must be officially recognized, and the individual needs to provide the necessary documentation to prove their eligibility.
  • Second residences: If a household has multiple residences, such as a primary residence and a vacation home, they may be required to pay the fees for each residence. However, exemptions or reductions may be available for second residences under specific circumstances.

It’s important to note that exemptions and reductions are subject to specific criteria and must be applied for through the designated authorities. Each case is evaluated individually, and eligibility is determined based on the provided documentation and information.

GEZ in Germany
The broadcasting fees in Germany are collected regularly, either montly, on a quarterly or annually basis

How can I pay the broadcasting fees in Germany?

The broadcasting fees in Germany are collected regularly, either montly, on a quarterly or annually basis. The fees can be paid through various convenient methods to ensure compliance with the regulations. Here are the main options available for paying the broadcasting fees:

Bank Transfer

One of the most common methods is to make a bank transfer directly to the designated bank account provided by the GEZ or Rundfunkbeitrag service. You can initiate a transfer from your personal bank account, either through online banking or by visiting your bank branch. Make sure to include the necessary payment reference (your 9-digit GEZ number) details provided on the payment notice or invoice.

Direct Debit

Setting up a direct debit authorization allows the broadcasting fees to be automatically deducted from your bank account at regular intervals. This option provides a convenient and hassle-free way to ensure timely payments. You will need to provide your bank account details and sign the direct debit mandate form provided by the GEZ or Rundfunkbeitrag service.

Online Payment

The broadcasting fees can be paid online through the official website of the GEZ or Rundfunkbeitrag. The website typically provides a secure payment portal where you can enter your payment details and complete the transaction. Accepted payment methods may include credit cards, debit cards, or online payment platforms.

Payment by Mail

Some individuals may prefer to pay the fees by mail. In this case, you can send a check or money order along with the payment notice or invoice to the designated address provided by the GEZ or Rundfunkbeitrag service. Make sure to include the necessary payment reference details and allow sufficient time for the payment to reach the recipient.

Payment at Authorized Collection Points

In certain cases, authorized collection points such as banks or post offices may accept payments for the broadcasting fees. These collection points will have the necessary payment forms and can process the payment on your behalf. Check with the GEZ or Rundfunkbeitrag service to find out if this option is available in your area.

It’s important to remember to include the correct payment reference details when making the payment. This ensures that your payment is correctly allocated to your account and avoids any payment processing issues.

When you register for the GEZ, you will receive an individual 9-digit contribution number, which is used as a payment reference. This number is also important if you want to cancel the GEZ.

Additionally, it’s crucial to make the payments on time to avoid any penalties or legal consequences. Non-compliance with the broadcasting fee obligations can result in penalties and enforcement measures, so it’s essential to fulfill the payment requirements.

How to register at the GEZ in Germany?

The registration at the ARD, ZDF Deutschlandradio fees is a straightforward process. Often, the GEZ automatically knows that you have registered your residence in Germany, because it receives this information from your responsible citizens’ registration office. If this is the case, you will usually receive a letter on which your 9-digit contribution number is written and you will be asked to pay the contribution.

You can then simply scan the QR code on the letter and automatically get to the digital registration form on the GEZ website. Alternatively, you can fill out the attached form in paper form and send it by mail to the business address of the GEZ in Cologne:

ARD ZDF Deutschlandradio Contribution Service

50656 Cologne

If you have not received a letter, you can also access the registration form directly on the website and fill it out.

To fill in the form you will need personal details such as your full name, address, date of birth, and your German tax identification number (Steueridentifikationsnummer).

The form is available in multiple languages, including German and English, for your convenience.

Fill in all the required fields of the registration form accurately. Provide your personal details as requested, including your address in Germany. If you are registering as a business, you will need to provide additional business-related information.

During the registration process, you will be asked to select your preferred payment method for the broadcasting fees. You can choose between bank transfer, direct debit, or other available payment options. Also select the interval at which you want to pay the broadcasting fees (monthly, quarterly or annually).

After completing the registration form, review the information to ensure its accuracy. Once you are satisfied, submit the form electronically through the online submission process. If you prefer a paper form, you may be able to print the completed form and mail it to the designated address.

After submitting the registration form, you will receive a confirmation of your registration from the GEZ or Rundfunkbeitrag. This confirmation will typically include your customer/ GEZ number and payment information. You may also receive regular payment notices or invoices indicating the amount and due dates of your broadcasting fee payments.

Once you have registered, it is important to ensure timely payment of the broadcasting fees according to the specified schedule. Follow the instructions provided in the payment notices or invoices to make your payments using the chosen payment method.

GEZ in Germany
Non-compliance with the registration and payment requirements can also lead to legal consequences

What happens if I do not register at GEZ ?

The GEZ agency is responsible for collecting the broadcasting fees, and they have the authority to charge fines for non-payment or late payment. These fines can accumulate over time, increasing the overall amount you owe.

Non-compliance with the registration and payment requirements can also lead to legal consequences. The GEZ has the right to take legal action against individuals who do not fulfill their obligations. This can result in court proceedings and additional costs associated with legal proceedings.

If the broadcasting fees remain unpaid despite reminders and fines, the GEZ can take enforcement measures. This may include the seizure of assets or the garnishment of wages to recover the outstanding fees. These measures can have a significant impact on your financial situation.

It is important to note that the GEZ has the ability to identify individuals who are not registered through various data sources, including residency registrations and utility bills. Therefore, it is advisable to fulfill your obligation and register at GEZ to avoid any potential consequences.

If you have not yet registered, it is recommended to do so as soon as possible. Registering allows you to fulfill your legal obligations and ensures that you are contributing to the public broadcasting services in Germany.

How to change address details at GEZ?

If you move to another address in Germany, you must update your address details at the GEZ agency in Germany. You must also update your details, if you move together with another person. Why? Because in 2013 they changed the law and now every household must pay the GEZ fee – not every person.

So if you live in a household with different people who are all registered at the same address, you do not pay the GEZ fee separately. If each of you pays the GEZ fee separately, make sure to update your details at GEZ and let them know of the situation, so they only charge one of you.

you can find the re-registration form on the website under “Alle Formulare“. It is called “Änderung zum Beitragskonto”

How to cancle the GEZ payments when I leave Germany?

If you are leaving Germany and no longer require the services covered by the GEZ fees, you can cancel your payments. Here’s a guide on how to cancel GEZ payments when you leave Germany:

Notify the GEZ Agency: Inform the GEZ agency about your intention to cancel your payments. You can do this by contacting them through their website, sending an email, or making a phone call. Provide them with your personal details, such as your name, address, and GEZ customer number, to ensure accurate identification of your account.

State Your Departure Date: Clearly indicate the date when you will be leaving Germany. This will help the GEZ agency process your cancellation effectively and adjust your payments accordingly.

Provide Proof of Departure: The GEZ agency will request proof of your departure from Germany. This can include documents such as your residence deregistration certificate, a copy of your new residence permit in another country, or any other official documentation that verifies your relocation. Make sure to follow the specific instructions provided by the GEZ agency regarding the submission of these documents.

Keep Proof of Cancellation: After notifying the GEZ agency and completing the necessary steps, make sure to keep a record of your cancellation. This includes any correspondence, emails, or reference numbers provided by the agency. This will serve as proof of your cancellation in case any issues or inquiries arise in the future.

Our colleagues at Deregistration.de will take care of your residence deregistration and your GEZ deregistration for you. You do not have to do anything after booking. Everything is digital for you and you can deregister from anywhere in the world.