Radio Tax Germany

Radio Tax

Everyone living in Germany must pay the Rundfunkbeitrag if you live in your own flat or in a dormitory unit.

⁉️ Wait, I have to pay a fee even if I don't use a TV and radio?

Yes, you have to pay TV tax for German TV and a broadcasting fee for radio stations in Germany. Only if your household is already paying a broadcasting contribution, you don't have to pay it. If all of this sounds pretty confusing and you have no idea what to do about paying the radio tax/TV tax, read on! We'll give you a little overview of the table of contents right now, so you know what's about to come in this article:

Definition of “ARD ZDF Deutschlandradio Beitragsservice”



What is the radio tax (GEZ - Rundfunkbeitrag)?

✅ Every month, every household in Germany - literally everyone - has to pay money for broadcasting.

💶 The amount: €18.36 per month

The broadcasting fee (often still called the “GEZ” fee) of €18.36 per month is due for every apartment in Germany, even if the residents have neither TV, radio, nor internet access.

ℹ️ The broadcasting contribution finances the programming of public broadcasters (ZDF und Deutschlandradio).

Some citizens considered the broadcasting fee to be unfair and filed a lawsuit against it. They failed: The Federal Constitutional Court ruled that the “Rundfunkbeitrag” is fundamentally compatible with the German constitution. According to the judges, although single people are charged more than families or shared apartments, this is objectively justified and acceptable.

Registration process

Find out all the details about the radio tax in Germany

How does the radio tax work? Do I need to register for it somewhere?

✅ The registration is quick and easy.

You have several options to choose from:

  • You can register your primary residence or a secondary residence online.
  • You can print out a pdf form and send it to the contribution service by mail.


The mailing address is:

ARD ZDF Deutschlandradio Beitragsservice

50656 Köln

ℹ️ Registration by phone or e-mail is not possible.

❗️If you do not register with the GEZ, you will eventually receive a letter with payment information/payment reminders.

Basically, everyone who is of age and has their own apartment must register. How many TVs, radios, and computers you have in your apartment is irrelevant.

The broadcasting fee must be paid per household. By whom is irrelevant for the contribution service. If there are several residents, you can decide for yourself who will register with the GEZ. However, the others should then inform the contribution service that fees are already being paid for the apartment. Or they can deregister. In any case, no one has to pay twice.

Do international students need to pay for the radio tax in Germany?

✅ Yes, even if Germany is not your home country, you need to pay the TV and radio tax.

Since you have a Meldepflicht (obligation to register) in Germany, you will receive letters by the contribution service to collect the broadcasting contributions, even if you have not yet registered yourself and your new Adresse in Germany.

If you get a request for payment from ARD ZDF Deutschlandradio Beitragsservice, you should therefore respond to the request. Please do not wait until reminders are sent!

How to register an apartment under someone else's Beitragsnummer?

✅ You live in a WG (shared flat), and someone in your household already pays the radio tax in Germany?

The easiest way to register an apartment under someone else's Beitragsnummer (reference number) is to do it online. So once you receive a letter and know that your household is already paying, you can simply use the existing reference number and de-register online or return the letter saying you don't have to pay.

ℹ️ It might be good to have a German-speaking person help you with this since the letter and the online services will mostly be in German.

How to pay for the radio tax in Germany

Our complete guide

How much do I have to pay for the radio tax?

✅ The Rundfunkbeitrag is €18.36 per month.

Every household must pay the same amount, whether you are a student, a working person, or a senior citizen.

🆕 In 2021, the fee went from €17.50 to €18.36 each month!


Is it mandatory to pay the radio tax?

✅ Yes.

Every owner of an apartment who is of legal age is required by law to register. It is sufficient for one person living in the apartment to register and pay the fee.

What happens if I don't pay the radio tax?

❗️If you do not pay, you will receive a reminder.

Anyone who fails to pay the Rundfunkbeitrag for more than six months is committing an administrative offense. The broadcasters can then levy an additional fine - and if this is not paid, even a custodial sentence is possible. This means that you should definitely comply with the rule, and unfortunately, you can do nothing about it.

How to pay the radio tax fee?

✅ When registering, you can choose whether you want to pay by bank transfer or issue a direct debit authorization (“SEPA Lastschriftverfahren”).

Things you should pay attention to:

  1. The Rundfunkbeitrag must be paid within four weeks of the due date.
  2. If you pay by bank transfer, you will automatically receive a payment request on the respective due date.
  3. If you use a SEPA Direct Debit, you have to provide your account details only once.

How to cancel the radio tax? (If someone is leaving Germany)

✅ If you move abroad again permanently and no longer have a residence in Germany, you can cancel the GEZ.

It is not possible to unsubscribe from the contribution service by phone or e-mail. You must use the online form of the ARD ZDF Deutschlandradio Beitragsservice. You can upload evidence - for example, the de-registration certificate - directly.

ℹ️ If you are looking for more resources on the topic, you can visit the official Rundfunkbeitrag website or contact your local student union. German friends can definitely help as well since they obviously also pay the radio tax in Germany.

woman in front of an laptop

FAQ: Radio Tax in Germany

What's the GEZ called now?

The GEZ is now known as ARD ZDF Deutschlandradio Beitragsservice.

What's the “ARD ZDF Deutschlandradio Beitragsservice”?

The Contribution Service is a joint institution under public law, without legal capacity, of the public broadcasting channels of the federal states (ARD), the Second German Television (ZDF) and Deutschlandradio for the purpose of collecting broadcasting contributions in accordance with the Interstate Broadcasting Contribution Treaty.

What's the difference between radio tax and TV tax?

Radio tax and TV tax are the same. That means you do not have to pay different rates for TV and radio taxes.