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Companies, institutions and public interest bodies

Like all social groups, companies, institutions and public interest bodies also assist in the contributory financing of the public broadcasting service.

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Rules for companies and institutions

In principle, the following applies: As an entrepreneur, you pay the licence fee according to the number of your permanent business establishments required to pay the fee, employees paying social security contributions and vehicles required to pay the fee.

Therefore, the amount of the fee for each permanent business establishment can also vary and is based on the average number of persons employed in the previous calendar year. Included are full- and part-time employees paying social security contributions as well as employees in the public sector. Not counted are apprentices and marginally employed persons.

Calculation of the fee amount

When calculating the fee amount, you can choose: You either specify the total number of employees, i.e. the per capita number (“counting method A”). Or you calculate how many full-time positions result if you combine all part- and full-time positions (“counting method B”).

In this calculation, part-time employees working regularly

  • Up to 20 hours per week are recorded as 0.5,
  • Part-time employees working up to 30 hours are recorded as 0.75 and
  • Part-time employees working more than 30 hours are recorded as 1.0.

The scale classification is based on the calculated number of employees:

 

Scale Employees for each permanent business establishment Number of fees Amount of the monthly fee in euro
1 0 to 8 1/3 5.83
2 9 to 19 1 17.50
3 20 to 49 2 35.00
4 50 to 249 5 87.50
5 250 to 499 10 175.00
6 500 to 999 20 350.00
7 1,000 to 4,999 40 700.00
8 5,000 to 9,999 80 1,400.00
9 10,000 to 19,999 120 2100,00
10 from 20,000 180 3,150.00

 

For the number of vehicles, the following applies: For each permanent business establishment required to pay the fee, one private vehicle not exclusively used for private purposes is exempt from the fee. For each additional vehicle, one-third of the fee, i.e. 5.83 euros must be paid per month.

Please note the statutory notification period for changes to the number of employees and/or the counting method in the 1 January–31 March time period. Late notifications leading to a licence fee reduction are considered only until 1 April of the following year.

With the help of the fee calculator [in German], you can determine the expected total cost of the licence fee for your company.

Rules for small businesses

As a small entrepreneur with no employees or only a few, you pay lower licence fees than large companies.

Small businesses with up to 8 employees (Scale 1) pay only one-third of the fee for each permanent business establishment, i.e. 5.83 euros per month. Small businesses with 9 to 19 employees (Scale 2) pay 17.50 euros per month for their permanent business establishment required to pay the fee. For each permanent business establishment required to pay the fee, one vehicle is exempt; every other one is calculated at 5.83 euros per month. The first hotel, guest room or holiday flat of each associated permanent business establishment is exempt from the fee.

Rules for providers of hotel and guest rooms or holiday flats

Do you let hotel and guest rooms and/or holiday flats to third parties? The fee amount is calculated based on the number of employees paying social security contributions and vehicles required to pay the fee for each permanent business establishment. The first room or holiday flat per associated permanent business establishment is exempt from the fee. For each additional room or holiday flat, you pay one-third of the fee, i.e. 5.83 euros per month.

Rules for self-employed persons and freelancers working from home

If you use a room or space in a private home as a trader, self-employed person or freelancer, it is considered a permanent business establishment which is required to register [in German].

However, if this permanent business establishment can only be entered through the private home, it is exempt from the fee. The private home must be registered with the contribution service.

This also applies to vehicles not used exclusively for private purposes. These vehicles must also be registered. You must pay in each case one-third of the fee, i.e. 5.83 euros per month.

Seasonal businesses

Be it an ice cream parlour, guest house or passenger ship: If you shut down your permanent business establishment entirely for at least three consecutive calendar months, you can have it exempted from the licence fee [in German] for this period. However, remember that you have to file the application in advance.

Rules for public interest bodies

To promote community spirit, public interest bodies likewise participate in the financing of the public broadcasting service and support the basic services of society with information, education, culture and entertainment. To take the non-profit status of the facilities into account, the licence fee per permanent business establishment required to pay the fee is limited to one-third, i.e. 5.83 euros per month.

Facilities considered public interest bodies are:

  • Those for disabled persons, e.g. homes, training facilities or workshops,
  • Youth welfare facilities within the meaning of the Child and Youth Services Act (Eighth Book of the Social Welfare Book), e.g. kindergartens,
  • Elderly care facilities,
  • Facilities for addicts and the homeless.

Public interest bodies are also:

  • Registered non-profit associations and foundations,
  • Public general education or vocational schools,
  • State-approved or recognised alternative or supplementary schools, provided they function in a non-profit way,
  • Universities according to the Framework Act for Higher Education,
  • Civil defence and disaster prevention, e.g. fire brigade, police, armed forces.

Calculation of the fee amount

If you operate a public interest body, for each facility you pay – regardless of the number of employees – one-third of the fee, i.e. 5.83 euros per month. Not required to register are establishments employing exclusively unpaid volunteers and/or one-euro workers.

With the help of the fee calculator [in German], you can determine the expected total cost of the licence fee for your facility.

Seasonal businesses

The following also applies to public service bodies: If you shut down operations entirely for at least three consecutive calendar months, you can have your permanent business establishment exempted from the licence fee [in German] for this period. However, remember that you must file the application in advance.

Hotel and guest rooms or holiday flats

Public interest bodies that let hotel rooms, guest rooms or holiday flats must consider the following when calculating the licence fee:

For each associated permanent business establishment, the first room or holiday flat is exempt from the fee. For each associated permanent business establishment, the first room or holiday flat is exempt from the fee.

Hotel and guest rooms or holiday flats that are let exclusively to a closed group of persons are exempt from the fee. This is the case, for example, with non-profit associations that let the accommodation spaces exclusively to association members.

Vehicles

All vehicles approved for the facility are exempt from the fee. The vehicle is also exempt from the fee if it is registered to the legal entity of a non-legally responsible facility and is used exclusively for facility purposes.

Start and end of the obligation to pay the licence fee

Your obligation to pay the licence fee starts on the first day of the month in which you occupy the permanent business establishment for the first time. This also applies to hotel or guest rooms located in a permanent business establishment and to each holiday flat offered for letting. For a vehicle not exclusively used for private purposes, the obligation to pay the fee starts on the first day of the month in which the vehicle was registered to the owner.

The obligation to pay the fee ends only when the month in which you cease to be the owner of the permanent business establishment expires. The same applies to hotel or guest rooms, holiday flats and vehicles. A deregistration becomes effective at the earliest when the month in which the contribution service has received the notification expires.

Service portal for companies

Companies, institutions and public service bodies can take advantage of the convenient service portal for companies. On the portal, they can see their payment requests and communicate any changes to their addresses, payment terms or the number of employees, for example.

For the service portal, register the one-time contribution account of your company or institution on portal.rundfunkbeitrag.de [in German]. To register, you must already be registered for the licence fee.