GEZ now also on PCs

Bad news considering PCs and, the most unfriendly office in Germany, GEZ. “GEZ” stands for "Gebühreneinzugszentrale für die öffentlich-rechtlichen Rundfunk und Fernsehanstalten in Deutschland".


This office levies fees – or we might just as well say “taxes” – to finance public TV and radio. Starting January 1, 2007, a monthly fee of EUR 17.03 will be imposed upon all computers equipped for the Internet – even if they are only used for work and not to watch TV. This will also be valid for multimedia cell phones.
This was the bad news.

The good news is that this tax raise is not unquestioned. A constitutional complaint has been brought before the Federal Constitutional Court. Complainants are three self-employed professionals being directly touched by the new law. This law seems to be unfair because it makes absolutely essential apparatuses subject to taxation. To have a TV set and/or radio is your choice. If you choose, then you will have to pay radio fees. No problem or question. One of the few reasons to complain to the Constitutional Court is if you believe that a [new] law violates the constitution or federal law.

A new initiative, Vereinigung der Rundfunkgebührenzahler (VRGZ), Association of Radio Fees Payers (, has been founded in Frankfurt / Main to help those concerned with this new law.

Published on the old CMS: 2006/12/30
Read on the old CMS till November 2008: 1,382 reads

Update of August 2008

The opinions of German administrative courts differ on the question of whether an office computer is subject to “tv and radio tax (rundfunkgebührenpflichtig)” or not, i.e. to GEZ. Recently, a lawyer in Koblenz and another attorney in Ansbach sued in the administrative court having jurisdiction not to pay this tax – or these fees (as the Germans consider it). Both argued that they did not have a computer with internet connection to be able to listen to radio or watch TV. They need internet to communicate with clients and submit tax returns, to research case law and for other professional needs.

The VG Ansbach’s judgment of July 10, 2008 (re TO 5 K 08.00348) sentenced the lawyer to pay this tax as long as no other receiving device (Empfangsgerät) is being kept ready to receive. A computer which can be connected to the Internet is a new type of radio receiver within the meaning of RGebStV. This is clearly the wording of RGebStV  – so the court in Ansbach.

VG Koblenz, however, has a different opinion. The first chamber of the administrative court Koblenz is of the opinion that only the "technical possibility to theoretically receive radio" does not justify a subjection to this radio tax.

Since the decision is not final, as an appeal is possible and is most likely to come, stay tuned to what a higher administrative court decides.

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