Around 3.5 million people receive mail

The contribution service from ARD and ZDF – formerly GEZ – has been receiving millions of data from residents’ registration offices since May – and scouring them for people who have not yet paid a license fee. However, the broadcasters cannot expect significantly more money.

The GEZ also wants to track down the last defaulters.

Rand 3.5 million people can count on mail because broadcasting fees may be due. The contribution service from ARD, ZDF and Deutschlandradio – successor to the GEZ fee collection center – published the number on Thursday in Cologne as the first forecast as part of its ongoing comparison with data from the registration offices. With their help, people can be identified who are previously unknown to the contribution service – and who may currently be wrongly paying no broadcasting license fees.

The successor to the GEZ is now sending around 3.5 million letters to clarify the status of the previously unmolested people. Anyone who receives mail should react – otherwise they will be registered automatically. This is also possible retrospectively until January 1, 2016.

However, Stefan Wolf, managing director of the contribution service, does not expect immense additional income for the public broadcasters. “If anything,” he expects an additional number of contribution accounts in an “extremely low six-digit range,” he said. “We assume that this blind spot is relatively small.”

Data from the registration offices

The broadcasting fee has been levied per household since 2013. Before that, it was determined whether you owned a radio or a television. The new system initially led to significant additional income, but also to certain problems for the contribution service – for example, when a shared apartment is dissolved. The contribution service can understand if a previous contributor moves away. However, he does not know who is staying in the apartment and whether that person is now liable to pay contributions.

To find out, the registration offices have been sending data to the GEZ successor since May. The whole process should be completed in early 2019.

In the past year, the income from the radio license fee to finance the public broadcasters remained almost stable. They amounted to 7.974 billion euros – that was a decrease of 0.05 percent compared to the previous year. The broadcasting fee is set at 17.50 euros per household per month until 2020.

On July 18, the Federal Constitutional Court pronounced its verdict on broadcasting fees

If you compare it to the previous contribution period from 2013 to 2016, all the fantasies have actually vanished into thin air that we could be significantly above eight billion revenue from broadcasts, ”said Managing Director Wolf. No outliers are expected for 2018 to 2020 either.

At the end of 2017, around 4.25 million of the contribution accounts were in a so-called dunning procedure, which was 6.8 percent less than in 2016. The contribution service mainly attributed the decline to the fact that in many old cases it was finally possible to clarify whether they are subject to contributions .

The Federal Constitutional Court now wants to announce a ruling on the broadcasting fee on July 18. The plaintiffs find the system unfair for private individuals who do not use public service broadcasting. With the contribution service you want to wait for the exact decision. “For us there is still no reason to panic or hectic,” said managing director Wolf.