TV license fee: amount, exemption, payment deadline

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Good news for the French: the abolition of the contribution to public broadcasting (CAP) was validated in August 2022 by the Constitutional Council. A significant saving of 138 euros per year in an unprecedented inflationary context.

The taxpayers who have monthly paid the payment of this tax will therefore receive during the month of September the reimbursement of the sums paid since January 2022. They are numerous since 6.2 million households are concerned. But beware, to receive this money, the persons concerned must ensure before August 31 that they have correctly informed their bank details with the tax authorities. Reimbursement will be made automatically by bank transfer at the beginning of September.

The television license fee, officially called “contribution to public broadcasting”, is a tax payable by taxpayers who own a television set “or any device allowing the reception of television programs on January 1”, specifies the site of the Superior Council of audiovisual (CSA).

The contribution to public broadcasting finances the public broadcasting service, i.e. the France Télévisions group (France 2, France 3, France 4, France 5 and the overseas public channels of the La Première), the Franco-German television channel Arte, the Radio France group (France Inter, France Info, France Culture, France Musique, the local network France Bleu and Mouv’), the France Médias Monde group (Radio France internationale ( RFI), the France 24 and TV5 Monde channels) and the National Audiovisual Institute (INA).

The TV license fee therefore does not finance private television channels such as TF1, Canal and M6 or radio channels such as RTL and NRJ.

It is now official, the deputies voted at first reading the abolition of the television license fee on Saturday July 23, 2022. The abolition of the audiovisual license fee, President Emmanuel Macron’s campaign promise, therefore passes a first stage. The text tabled by the majority was adopted with 170 votes for and 57 against, as part of the first reading examination of the amending finance bill for 2022. It will go before the Senate next week. The government was followed by Les Républicains and the National Rally. If the Senate also approves the text, then the French will not receive a notice in the fall for the collection of the audiovisual license fee, or 138 euros per household equipped with a television. However, the government has come up with an alternative to finance the audiovisual public service. An amendment voted on Saturday morning provides that the 3.7 billion euros collected by the fee will now be deducted from VAT revenue. The proof that this project was not intended to increase the purchasing power of the French.

One week after the National Assembly, the Senate voted on the night of Monday August 1 to Tuesday August 2, 2022, as part of purchasing power support measures, the abolition of the TV license fee after a debate on funding and independence of public broadcasting. Minister of Culture Rima Abdul Malak announced on this subject “the government’s desire to propose the one-year extension of the contracts of objectives and means of public audiovisual companies”. A desired measure in order to “take the time necessary to build together the roadmap for public broadcasting”. As a reminder, the three left-wing groups in the Assembly unsuccessfully opposed the abolition of the fee, David Assouline, PS senator, criticizing in particular the government for “creating the conditions for the weakening” of public broadcasting.

Read also: TV license fee: will you have to pay it even if you don’t have a TV?

The Constitutional Council, seized by more than 120 deputies and senators from the left, validated with reservations on Friday August 12, 2022 the two texts of laws on purchasing power, framing in particular in “unpublished” terms certain provisions of the energy part .With these two decisions, the Elders also validated with “reservations of interpretation” the abolition of the audiovisual license fee.

The Constitutional Council ruled that the abolition of the audiovisual license fee was constitutional, while emphasizing that this abolition was “likely to affect the guarantee of the resources of the public audiovisual sector, which constitutes an element of its independence”.

The Wise Men therefore enjoined the government to “fix the amount of these revenues so that the companies and the public audiovisual establishment are able to carry out the public service missions”. According to Le Figaro, the budget for public television and radio will in future be covered by part of the VAT. The amendment voted by the deputies provides for a budget of 3.7 billion euros for the coming year.

The amount of the 2021 TV license fee is 138 euros in mainland France, down by one euro compared to 2019.

The amount of the 2021 TV license fee is 88 euros in the overseas departments, down by one euro compared to 2019.

According to article 1605 of the general tax code, the amount of the TV license fee is (theoretically) reviewed every year. “This amount is indexed each year to the consumer price index excluding tobacco, as provided for in the economic, social and financial report appended to the finance bill for the year in question. It is rounded to the nearest euro”, indicates the General Tax Code. However, for 2020, the government derogated from this principle and lowered the amount of the TV license fee by a symbolic euro, thus dropping from 139 euros in 2019 to 138 euros in 2020.

According to the Ministry of Economy and Finance, taxpayers who are exempt from housing tax are also exempt from the contribution to public broadcasting.

Are concerned :

Please note: since 2018, the government has launched a reform of the housing tax, with a gradual reduction in 2018 and 2019, reaching 100% in 2020. Consequently, 80% of French people do not pay housing tax in 2020 However, they remain liable for the contribution to public broadcasting.

Read also: Why you will still receive a council tax notice

Taxpayers who were exempt from TV license fees before 2005 can continue to benefit from this exemption in 2020, indicates Service-public.fr. For that it is necessary :

All those who have a reference tax income equal to zero are entitled to an exemption from television license fees.

The age of the taxpayer, in itself, is not a criterion for exemption from the TV license fee. It is necessary to combine other conditions of exemption such as receiving the minimum old age, benefiting from the allowance for disabled adults or even having been exempted before 2005 in order to no longer have to pay the contribution to public broadcasting.

Must pay the TV fee, taxpayers who have in their home:

There is no declarative procedure to be carried out if you have a television. On the other hand, if you do not have a television or a device that makes you eligible for the TV license fee, then you must inform the tax authorities by ticking the “0RA” box when declaring your income. If it is wrongly declared not to have a television, the offender is liable to a fine of 150 euros per device held.

Owning a tablet, the use of which can lead to watching television channels, does not lead to taxation under the television license fee.

Living in a shared apartment does not result in double taxation for the contribution to public broadcasting. Indeed, each household is taxed only once, regardless of the number of cohabitants.

Owning a computer and using it to watch television programs does not make you eligible for the contribution to public broadcasting. Ditto for an Internet box with a television offer. It is only the possession of a television (or a similar device) that leads to taxation.

No, since the TV license fee is a “one-time contribution”. “It is only paid once per household by the person liable for housing tax regardless of the number of televisions owned, the number of cohabitants, the number of residences (main or secondary), the owner of the television ”, according to the Ministry of Economy.

A move during the year does not change anything for the contribution to public broadcasting, as long as you have a television or similar device. It is the situation on January 1 of the year that is taken into account for the establishment of the tax.

Several scenarios may arise:

No, this is theoretically not possible. In the case of a secondary residence equipped with a TV, like the main residence, the taxpayer pays only once. In the event of cohabitation, only one contribution to public broadcasting is due, regardless of the number of joint tenants. In the event of a move, the situation on 1 January is taken into account.

The first thing to do is to not be eligible for the TV license fee. Concretely, this means not having a television, but not only. It is also necessary to ignore “television receivers and similar devices”, that is to say all those which are likely to pick up television channels. In addition, you must also declare that you do not have such a device at home. When filing your income tax return, remember to tick the 0RA box, which appears at the beginning of the form. If you have not done so, you can correct it by going to oups.gouv.fr, or by filing a complaint.

Finally, the other way not to pay the TV license fee is to fulfill the conditions to be exempt from this tax.

The deadline for payment of the contribution to public broadcasting is aligned with that of the housing tax, i.e. it is to be paid on October 15 or November 15, depending on the date of issuance of payment advice.

Yes, it is possible to monthly pay the TV license fee, at the same time as the housing tax. The amount of the TV license fee will be divided into 10 monthly direct debits, from January to October, debited on the 15th of the month. Each levy corresponds to one-tenth of the tax due the previous year. In the event of overpayment, the tax authorities will issue a refund. Subscription to the monthly direct debit can be done via your personal space on impots.gouv.fr.