Your Television Licence – what do you have to pay?
A television licence is a certificate that states that you have paid the appropriate fee to the government and contributed to the cost of public service broadcasting in Ireland. Your television licence is issued for 1 year in general. If you have a Television you must have a TV Licence. A TV licence In the Republic of Ireland costs €160.
New Television Licence Regulation
However, what if you don’t watch television? Well a new regulation will mean that you have to pay a television license whether you watch it or not. According to the Independent, “Nobody will be able to refuse to pay the new broadcasting charge on the basis they don’t have a TV as it will be legally binding on all homes regardless of what devices they own.”
The Government is hoping to have this regulation fully in place by January 1, 2015. The cost increase to €160 is to combat the current 18% evasion rate. The increase in laptops, tablets and PCs is likely to be a cause of people “not watching” television, as they are no longer watching on a television set. However,the definition of a Television set is (Section 140 (1) of the Broadcasting Act 2009):
“television set” means any electronic apparatus capable of receiving and exhibiting television broadcasting services broadcast for general reception ( whether or not its use for that purpose is dependent on the use of anything else in conjunction with it ) and any software or assembly comprising such apparatus and other apparatus.
Despite the digital switchover in 2012, analogue televisions are still required to have a television licence too. All premises at which a TV is located require a TV Licence regardless of its use, therefore businesses need television licences too, even if they only use their television for training purposes.
Do you need a television licence for each television you have?
If the equipment capable of receiving a television signal (for example a television set or a laptop) is held in a household (an apartment, flat or a house), then one television licence will cover multiple pieces of equipment. If you have a television set in your kitchen and another in your living room, one television licence covers both sets.
Tenants, Landlords and Letting Agents should take note however that if the building in which the equipment is kept is sub-divided into flats or apartments or other separate living quarters, then a separate television licence must be held for each of these quarters. This means that an individual licence must be held for each separate flat, apartment or other dwelling.
Owners of holiday homes also need separate television licenses for each household.
Who should pay the television licence in rented accommodation?
This is something the landlord and tenant must work out between them. If you are a tenant living in rented accommodation with a television you must have a television licence. This applies irrespective of who owns the television (whether the television belongs to you or the landlord). The law states that anyone resident on a premises in possession of a television set must have a television licence. Most good residential lettings agreements will stipulate who is responsible for the TV licence
According to An Post:
You can buy a television licence in the following ways:
- Pay online using Laser, Mastercard or Visa
- Cash/cheque at any Post Office
- Direct Debit
- LoCall 1890 228528 using Laser, MasterCard or Visa
- Post a cheque (crossed and made payable to An Post) to your local TV Licence Records’ Office
- TV licence stamps available at your local Post Office (this is a good way to avoid being stuck with paying the full €160 at once)
- Cash at selected Postpoint outlets
To renew your television licence at the post Office, you’ll need your current TV reference number, which is on the reminder notice sent from the TV Licence section. To avoid delays in Post Offices it is important to bring your reminder notice with you as the notice is scanned at the counter.
Some other things to note:
- You should receive your TV Licence within 10 working days.
- If you purchase a TV Licence through the call centre, it will be posted to your address 10 to 14 days after the licence was purchased.
- A new 17 digit TV reference number and PIN are generated each year and supplied with your TV Licence reminder notice.
- First reminders are posted 2 weeks before your TV Licence expires.
- If you are moving house, it is possible and highly advisable to have your television licence transferred to your new address. Simply bring your existing licence to your nearest Post Office, together with evidence of your new address (that is a household utility bill or a bank statement). Staff in your Post Office will then amend the details on your record and your licence will be updated and re-issued to you. This service is free.
- If you are aged over 66, are receiving a social welfare pension and nobody in your household is employed or receiving Unemployment Benefit or Unemployment Assistance, you may be entitled to a free television licence.
- If you believe you may be entitled to a free television licence, you should contact the Department of Social Protection at LoCall 1890500000 to get an application form for the Households Benefits Package. Fill this in and return it to the Department, Free Schemes Section, Pension Services Office, Freepost, College Rd., Sligo. They will issue the free licence to you.
- “An inspector is sent to premises if a licence is more than six weeks out of date, if a new record is added to the database which doesn’t have a current licence, and where there are unlicensed addresses.”” (journal.ie)
- Be sure to print off a receipt of payment if you have paid your Television Licence fee online to show to the TV Licence inspector if you have an inspection prior to receiving your TV Licence in the post. You will also receive an email with a text version of the Transaction Summary (if you have supplied an email address).
People give many reasons for not paying their licence, but they won’t work. And the repercussions can be serious; over 272 people were jailed for not paying the charge in 2012. Some excuses are downright ridiculous
So don’t get caught out!
If you have a query you should contact your local TV Licence Records Office.