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Can you cancel Rundfunkbeitrag - The Radio Tax In Germany?

Updated: Oct 18, 2023

Radio and television taxes of 18,36 euros per household per month is mandatory in Germany regardless of the number of people living in the household. Four times a year, you will pay 55,08 euros, since it gets collected every quarter.

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Rundfunkbeitrag refers to the license fee or broadcasting contribution for German public media or basically TV and radio. Despite being frequently referred to as the TV and radio tax, it is not a tax. German households are required to pay 18,36 euros a month to support the independent public broadcasting.

Does ARD ZDF have to be paid?

The answer is yes. The Rundfunkbeitrag is now mandatory from 2013 in Germany unless you are in one of the categories below that allows an exception. Whether or not you actually use any services of German public broadcasting services does not matter.

Reduction and exemption from Rundfunkbeitrag

The Rundfunkbeitrag can be exempted or reduced if you meet one of the following criteria:

  • The BAföG provides you with financial aid for your education.

  • Social security benefits, such as unemployment benefit 2 (ALG 2), or a guaranteed minimum pension, are paid to you.

  • Deaf-blindness is a condition you suffer from.

  • In the event that you have severe disabilities that prevent you from participating in public events, you may be eligible for a reduction to 6,12 euros a month.

Rundfunkgebühr: Why Do We Have It?

After WWII, the British introduced public broadcasting to Germany. It was believed that propaganda-controlled television and radio contributed to the outbreak of the war.

Therefore, a democracy requires independent media which cannot be influenced or financed by politics or economics. Rather, all residents contribute equally to its funding. As a result, the license fee was created.

Germany's public broadcasting allows cultural niches to flourish and prevents fake news from spreading.

In Germany, what happens if you do not pay the radio tax?

In the event that you fail to pay the radio tax in Germany, you will be subject to serious legal consequences. It is likely that you will receive repeated orders for payment, which are likely to result in official collection procedures. Continuing to avoid repeated payment orders may result in the Beitragsservice informing the SCHUFA, which maintains your credit score in Germany, about your failure in the payment. As a result, this will negatively impact your SCHUFA score. As the due amount increases, you will be obligated to pay the entire amount due and any additional fines associated with late payments.

The case of a German lady who refused to pay the ARD - ZDF tax was followed across Germany and she was sentenced for 6 months and was released after spending 61 days in prison. Read more about this story in

How do I cancel the TV and Radio tax in Germany?

Your ARD - ZDF subscription is automatically canceled when you deregister in Germany with your local Bürgeramt.

Unfortunately, there is no other way to cancel it if you do not fall into one of those categories mentioned above.

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