Radio Tax In Austria

Radio Tax In Austria: A Simple Guide

Tuning into Austria’s soundscape comes with a little-known feature: the radio tax. It’s an intriguing part of Austrian life, blending the charm of public broadcasting with civic duty. Worry Not! We’re here to assist you for this!

Whether you’re a local resident or planning to make Austria your home, understanding this levy is essential. Our guide will decode the details of the radio tax, ensuring you’re harmoniously in tune with Austria’s broadcasting regulations.

Let’s dive in!

What Is Radio Tax?

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Radio tax could refer to a few different things, depending on the context:

  • Tax On Radio Ownership: In some countries, there used to be a tax on owning a radio or other broadcasting devices. This tax was typically used to fund public broadcasting services.
  • Tax On Radio Broadcasters: This could be a tax imposed on companies or individuals who operate radio stations. The funds collected from this tax might go towards regulating the radio frequencies or supporting public broadcasting.
  • Tax For Funding Public Broadcasting: Governments sometimes levy a tax on households or individuals to fund public broadcasting services such as radio stations. This is often called a “broadcasting fee” or “public broadcasting tax.” The specific meaning would depend on the country and the context in which the term is used.

What Is Radio Tax In Austria?

In Austria, the “radio tax” refers to the “Rundfunkbeitrag” or broadcasting fee. This fee is an obligatory contribution that households are required to pay to fund public broadcasting services, such as radio and TV.

It replaced the previous system of expenses based on owning a TV or radio set and is now a flat fee in line with family, irrespective of the range of devices owned. 

The sales cumulated from this go toward helping public provider broadcasters such as ORF (Österreichischer Rundfunk).

Is It Mandatory To Pay Radio Tax In Austria?

Yes, paying the broadcasting fee, normally known as “Rundfunkbeitrag” or radio tax, is obligatory in Austria for each family. 

This price contributes to funding public broadcasting offerings, which include radio and TV, provided by using groups consisting of ORF (Österreichischer Rundfunk). 

The fee is generally charged on an in-step with household foundation and does not always depend on the ownership of specific broadcasting gadgets like radios or televisions.

Is There Any Exemption And Reduction To Pay Radio Tax In Austria?

In Austria, there are certain exemptions and reductions available for the broadcasting fee (Rundfunkbeitrag), which is commonly referred to as the “radio tax.” Some common exemptions and reductions include:

  • Exemptions For Certain Individuals: Certain individuals may be exempt from paying the broadcasting fee. This includes people who receive certain social benefits, such as individuals with disabilities or those receiving certain types of welfare assistance.
  • Reduced Fee For Low-Income Households: Low-income households may qualify for a reduced broadcasting fee. The criteria for eligibility and the specific reduction amount may vary depending on individual circumstances.
  • Exemptions For Specific Accommodations: Some types of accommodation, such as student dormitories or retirement homes, may be exempt from paying the broadcasting fee.
  • Exemptions For Secondary Residences: Secondary residences may be exempt from paying the broadcasting fee if certain conditions are met.

It is essential to check with the relevant authorities or the ORF (Österreichischer Rundfunk) website for the most up-to-date information on exemptions and reductions to the broadcasting fee in Austria.

The criteria and regulations may change over time.

What About Radio Tax  If You Are Registered In Two Households In Austria?

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If you are registered in two households in Austria, you may be required to pay the broadcasting charge (Rundfunkbeitrag) for each household, until you qualify for the exemptions or discounts.

However, the particular guidelines concerning the broadcasting rate for individuals registered in a couple of households can vary based on the circumstances.

Generally, if you maintain separate residences and are registered as a resident in two families, you will be considered eligible to pay the broadcasting fee for every family.

However, if one of the residences is taken into consideration as a secondary house or in case you qualify for any exemptions or reductions, you may not have to pay the fee for each family.

It is essential to test with the relevant authorities or the ORF (Österreichischer Rundfunk) website for guidance on how the broadcasting rate applies to people registered in more than one family in Austria.

Do You Have To Pay Radio Rax As A Student In Austria?

In Austria, students are generally no longer routinely exempt from paying the broadcasting rate (Rundfunkbeitrag), normally referred to as the “radio tax.” 

However, there can be certain circumstances in which students should qualify for exemptions or reductions:

  • Low-Income Students: Students from low-income households might also qualify for a reduced broadcasting price. The standards for eligibility and the specific discount amount can also vary depending on individual instances.
  • Living Situation: If a student lives in a dormitory or student accommodation that is exempt from the broadcasting charge, they will no longer be required to pay it themselves.
  • Secondary Residences: If a student continues a secondary residence, they will want to pay the broadcasting charge for that house if it is not exempt.
  • International Students: International college students studying in Austria can also have distinctive guidelines regarding the broadcasting charge, depending on their visa status and residency state of affairs.

How To Pay The Radio Tax In Austria?

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To pay the broadcasting rate, also referred to as the “radio tax,” in Austria, you can comply with these steps:

  • Register: If you are unable to pay the broadcasting charge, you need to sign up with the relevant authorities. You can do this online through the website of the ORF (Österreichischer Rundfunk) or using contacting their customer support.
  • Receive Payment Information: Once registered, you will get hold of records about a way to pay the fee. This may also encompass information that includes the amount owed and the price cut-off date.
  • Payment Options: There are various fee alternatives to be had, which include:
    1. Bank Transfer: You can switch the price quantity without delay to the designated financial institution account provided via the ORF.
    2. Direct Debit: You may additionally install a right-away debit authorization, permitting the ORF to deduct the rate amount from your financial institution account routinely.
    3. Online Payment: Some online platforms may additionally provide the option to pay the charges electronically by the use of a credit or debit card.
  • Confirmation: After paying the charges, you need to get hold of confirmation of your payment. Keep this confirmation message safe.
  • Update Information: If any adjustments to your circumstances affect your liability for the broadcasting rate, ensure to replace your data with the ORF.

These circumstances include shifting to a new place or modifications in the household.

What Happens If You Do Not Pay The Radio Tax In Austria?

If you do not pay the broadcasting rate, additionally referred to as the “radio tax,” in Austria, there may be effects, consisting of

  • Fines: Non-payment of the broadcasting rate can result in fines imposed through the applicable government. These fines can vary depending on the period of non-price and other factors.
  • Legal Action: Persistent non-payment may also cause criminal action to be taken against you via the ORF (Österreichischer Rundfunk) or the authorities accountable for enforcing payment.
  • Enforcement Measures: Authorities can also take enforcement measures to gather the unpaid prices, which may encompass deducting wages, seizing belongings, or different means of debt collection.
  • Negative Credit Record: Failure to pay the broadcasting charge may additionally bring about poor entries to your credit document, which can affect your capability to achieve a credit score or economic services in the future.
  • Access To Services: In a few cases, the non-charge of the broadcasting fee may affect your entry to constructive contributions or benefits provided via the authorities or different groups.

It is crucial to comply with the criminal necessities regarding the broadcasting rate in Austria to avoid any capacity effects. 

If you are facing difficulties paying the price or have questions about your duties, you need to contact the ORF or seek a recommendation for assistance.

Which Austrian TV And Radio Stations Are Part Of The Public Broadcasting?

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In Austria, the general public broadcasting organization is known as the Österreichischer Rundfunk (ORF). 

The ORF operates several television and radio stations which are a part of the public broadcasting carrier. 

Here are some of the main TV and radio stations operated via ORF:


  • ORF eins: ORF eins is one of the main TV channels operated via ORF. It gives quite a few programming, such as news, entertainment, sports, and cultural content material.
  • ORF 2: ORF 2 is another most important TV channel supplied through ORF. It features a variety of programming, consisting of information, documentaries, speech suggestions, and extra specialized content.
  • ORF 3: ORF 3 focuses on cultural and academic programming, inclusive of documentaries, classical songs, theater, and local content.
  • ORF Sports: ORF Sports is devoted to sports activities programming, together with stay sports activities, highlights, and sports-related documentaries.


  • Ö1: Österreich 1 (Ö1) is ORF’s fundamental radio station for news, cultural, and classical tune programming. It features information bulletins, communication suggestions, classical music concerts, and different cultural content material.
  • Ö2: Österreich 2 (Ö2) encompasses several radio channels that offer quite a few programming, including pop tunes, rock songs, regional content, and specialized indicates.
  • Ö3: Österreich 3 (Ö3) is ORF’s famous song radio station, providing modern hits, entertainment indicates, and information updates.
  • FM4: FM4 is ORF’s alternative tune and youngsters-orientated radio station, proposing indie, electronic, hip-hop, and global tunes, in addition to cultural and way of life programming.

These are some of the principal TV and radio stations operated through the Österreichischer Rundfunk (ORF) as a part of the general public broadcasting carrier in Austria.

What Is The Payment Schedule Of Austria’s ORF Beitrag?

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The payment schedule for Austria’s “ORF Beitrag,” or broadcasting charge, normally relies upon the frequency and approach of payment selected. 

Here is an overview:

  • Monthly: Some individuals may additionally prefer to pay the ORF Beitrag on a month-to-month basis. In this approach, they make a fee each month to cover their contribution to the public broadcasting carrier.
  • Quarterly: Others can also select to pay the rate quarterly, which means they make a payment as soon as every 3 months.
  • Annually: Some may additionally opt to pay the ORF Beitrag yearly, making a single charge for the entire 12 months.

The precise fee agenda can vary primarily based on non-public choice and the payment approach selected. 

Additionally, there may be alternatives for paying through automated payments or direct debits to ensure well-timed fees consistent with the selected schedule.

What Is The Legal Basis For The Radio Tax In Austria? 

In Austria, the foundation for the radio tax, also known as the Rundfunkbeitrag, is mostly governed through the Austrian Broadcasting Fee Act (Rundfunkbeitragsgesetz). 

This law establishes the framework for the collection of costs to fund public broadcasting offerings, such as radio and television.

The radio tax is essentially a mandatory rate imposed on households, no matter whether they own a radio or television set, to finance public broadcasting.

It guarantees the continued operation and protection of public broadcasting services, which includes the build-up of news, cultural programming, and academic content material.

The legal basis for the radio tax might also encompass requirements related to taxation, broadcasting law, and public carrier funding, all of which make contributions to its implementation and enforcement.

What Is The Impact Of The Radio Tax On Household Budgets?

  • Financial Burden On Households: There is a direct economic impact of the radio tax on household budgets. For a few families, particularly those with restrained financial assets, these charges should represent a first-rate expense.
  • Affordability For Low-Income Families: Examination of the way the radio tax may disproportionately affect low-earnings households, shows contributing to financial pressure and financial constraints.
  • Reduction In Disposable Income: Paying the radio tax reduces the amount of disposable earnings available to families, which may additionally limit their potential to keep money, make investments, or spend on non-vital objects or sports.
  • Potential Exemptions: Some households can also qualify for exemptions or reductions inside the radio tax based on factors together with income level, incapacity popularity, or age. However, navigating the method of applying for exemptions may be complex, and all eligible families may not be aware of their alternatives.
  • Impact On Standard Of Living: In excessive instances, specifically for families with very confined monetary resources, paying the radio tax can also require sacrifices in other regions.

This results in potentially impacting the family’s basic preferance of living.

Comparison Of Austria’s Broadcasting Fees With Fees In Other Countries 

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Comparing Austria’s broadcasting expenses with the ones of different nations can provide precious insights into the structure, impact, and effectiveness of various funding modes for public broadcasting.

  • Germany: Germany also has a broadcasting charge referred to as the “Rundfunkbeitrag,” just like Austria. The fee in Germany became around €17.50 consistent with a month per family. This price covers public broadcasting services furnished by ARD, ZDF, and Deutschlandradio.
  • United Kingdom: The United Kingdom has a TV licensing fee instead of a specific radio tax. The cutting-edge annual fee for a coloration TV license is £159 (about €187), with reduced costs for black and white TV licenses and reductions to be had for sure groups, which include people elderly 75 and over.
  • Switzerland: Switzerland has a broadcasting fee called the “Billag” fee, which changed into amassed by the stop of 2018. The numerous fee depends on factors including household earnings, area, and the range of receiving devices. In 2018, the charge ranged from about CHF 365 to CHF 451 (around €330 to €410) in step 12 months.
  • France: In France, investment for public broadcasting comes from an aggregate of TV license expenses and taxes on audiovisual offerings. The TV license rate, called the “redevance audiovisuelle,” is protected within the annual housing tax and varies depending on the size of the household and the location however become around €138 in 2021.
  • United States: The United States does not have a nationwide broadcasting price. Public broadcasting within the U.S., including that provided via PBS and NPR, is funded through a combination of federal funding, corporate sponsorships, philanthropic donations, and viewer contributions.

What Is The Public Perception And Attitude Towards The Radio Tax?

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Public perception and attitudes in the direction of the radio tax in Austria can vary extensively depending on character perspectives, socioeconomic factors, and political opinions. 

Here are a few common sentiments:

  • Support For Public Broadcasting: Many Austrians recognize the importance of public broadcasting in presenting impartial information coverage, cultural programming, and educational content material. They may view the radio tax as an important way of funding those offerings and keeping media range.
  • Opposition To The Tax: Some individuals and businesses, particularly folks who do not regularly use public broadcasting services, can also oppose the radio tax. They may additionally argue that it represents a useless monetary burden, especially if they opt to consume media through other channels which include personal TV or streaming platforms.
  • Perception Of Fairness: There are differing reviews on the fairness of the radio tax. Some trust that it is equitable for all families to contribute to public broadcasting investment, regardless of their real usage of those offerings. Others may also sense that the tax disproportionately impacts low-income families or those with confined right of entry to alternative media sources.
  • Concerns About Cost And Efficiency: Critics of the radio tax can also enhance issues approximately the cost of public broadcasting and its efficiency in delivering cost to taxpayers. They might also query whether or not the funds are being used successfully and whether or not there are opportunities to lessen fees or improve the great of offerings.
  • Awareness Of Exemptions: Many Austrians can be conscious that certain people or households are eligible for exemptions or reductions inside the radio tax based on particular criteria, which include profits degree or incapacity fame.

However, there will also be a lack of knowledge approximately those exemptions, leading some eligible individuals to hold paying the overall tax.

Overall, public perception of the radio tax in Austria is formed with the aid of a variety of things, inclusive of attitudes closer to public broadcasting, concerns approximately equity and performance, and man or woman economic situations. 

Debates approximately the radio tax are probable to preserve as policymakers are looking for stability and the want for funding public media with issues approximately affordability and accessibility.


As the final notes of our radio tax guide play out, you’re now well-versed in a uniquely Austrian tune. This tax, supporting public broadcasting, ensures a diverse and rich media landscape. Whether it’s news, culture, or music, contributing to this system means you’re part of Austria’s vibrant auditory community.

So, adjust your dial to compliance and enjoy the wide array of broadcasts Austria has to offer, knowing you’re contributing to the chorus.

Broadcast Together!

But wait! There’s lot more that you might be interested in following:

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