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In the United Kingdom, it is a legal requirement to pay for a TV Licence if you plan on watching any television shows live. There are a number of rules and regulations that govern TV Licensing, with various loopholes that exempt you from needing to pay for a TV Licence. As it is a legal offence to watch live television without a licence, you will be prosecuted if you have not paid for a yearly TV licence. This guide will explain the various rules that need to be followed, and the various punishments that will be handed out should you break the law and watch live television without a licence.
The TV licence is mainly used to cover the BBC’s budget, paying for the television, radio and online output of the company. The licence is essentially a tax that pays for an important public service. While the majority of the money collected from the licence fee is used to fund the BBC, you will still need to pay the licence fee if you watch other channels. Not watching the BBC does not exempt you. Currently, the licence fee costs £145.50 per year, though the price may change over time.
If you plan on watching live television, or recording live television, you need to pay for a licence. It doesn’t matter which device you watch the shows on, whether it is your television, laptop, tablet or mobile phone, if it’s live you need a licence. The only difference that affects your licence if you watch broadcast television is whether you are watching on a colour television or a black and white TV. A colour licence costs £145.50, whereas a black and white licence costs £49.00.
If you are only watching programmes on an on-demand service, such as BBC iPlayer or Netflix, you do not need a TV licence. This is, however, likely to change at some point in the future, as on-demand becomes even more prevalent and the government, supported by television networks, look to adapt the licensing law to the modern era.
If you are a landlord and you have installed a television, allowing the occupants to watch live television, the house must be covered by a television licence.
If you are using a portable device, for example your phone or a tablet, your home licence will usually cover you to watch live television when you are away from home. However, if you plug the device in, you will need a TV licence for the address in which you are watching your device. You don’t need a licence and plug your device in if you’re on a bus, train, car or boat. This bizarre loophole is a legal regulation, to find out more about this rule call Ring Tv Licence on 0843 504 7322.
If you believe you do not need to pay for a licence but have received a letter from the licensing authority, or you are not sure whether you need to purchase a licence, contact Ring Tv Licence on 0843 504 7322. One of the more common reasons to contact the licensing authority is to declare that the screen, device or computer you own is not being used to watch live television. This includes people in possession of a television screen that is exclusively used for video games or catch-up/on-demand television. This can be an important measure as it can prevent a possible court appearance. If the licensing authority suspect you of breaking TV licence law, you may receive letters requesting your purchase of a licence. If you have received a letter of this type and do not intend to buy a TV licence, contact Ring Tv Licence on 0843 504 7322 or complete the contact form on the TV Licensing website.
If you already have a licence but would like to complete a No Licence Needed Declaration, you will need to cancel your licence. You can cancel your TV Licence online. If you cancel your licence, you will receive a refund for every three months left on your licence. This means you could receive a refund worth three, six or nine months of the licence fee. There is a refund form online that must be completed if you wish to apply for a refund.
If the address is unoccupied, you can tell TV Licensing. This will stop letters being sent to the address for six months.
After telling TV Licensing that you do not need a licence, you will receive a No Licence Needed Declaration. TV Licensing may visit your property to check that you do not need a TV Licence. The reason for this is that around a fifth of people that declare they do not need a licence do actually need to purchase one. If you are caught watching television illegally, you may be prosecuted and fined up to £1000. In Jersey, the maximum fine is £500 and in Guernsey the maximum fine is £2000.
If you are aged 75 or over, you can apply for a free TV Licence by calling TV Licensing or by applying on their website. This licence will cover your address of residence, allowing anyone living with someone aged 75 or over to be covered by the free licence. If you have paid for a TV licence but now live with someone who has a free licence, you can cancel your licence and apply for a refund. Find out more by calling Ring Tv Licence on 0843 504 7322.
If you are 74 years young, you qualify for a short term licence. The short term licence costs less than a full licence and will cover you up to your 75th birthday, at which point you can receive a free licence. If you live on Sark or Jersey, you cannot apply for a short term licence.
If the licence holder for your address dies, there are a number of actions to take. If the licence holder had a free 75 or over licence, it remains valid until its expiry date. When it expires, you will need to purchase a new licence, or apply for a free 75 or over licence yourself. If the licence was not an over 75 licence, you will need to contact TV Licensing to change the name of the licence holder. You can contact Ring Tv Licence on 0843 504 7322, by using the online contact form, or by writing to Customer Services, TV Licensing, Darlington DL98 1TL.
There are a number of payment methods available to people needing to pay for a TV Licence. You can pay by direct debit, allowing you to pay monthly or yearly for a yearly licence. You can also set your TV Licence to automatically renew if you are paying by direct debit. If your licence has automatically renewed when you would rather cancel your licence, you can call Ring Tv Licence on 0843 504 7322 to discuss cancellation and a refund.
You can also pay for your TV licence by debit or credit card. This method allows you to pay online, over the phone or at a local PayPoint machine. As this suggests, you are also able to pay for your TV licence at a PayPoint outlet, of which there are around 28,000 across the United Kingdom. A TV Licensing payment card can also be used as a payment method, allowing users to pay a weekly fee from £5.60 a week. You can also use a TV Licensing savings card to lower the cost of your next licence.
TV Licensing accept payments by cheque and postal order, as well as BACS electronic transfer, a payment made from your building society or bank account. For more information on the payment methods accepted by TV Licensing, call Ring Tv Licence on 0843 504 7322.
There are different rules on TV Licence ownership for hotels, hostels and campsites. If anyone on your property watches live television on the premises, you will need to purchase a TV licence. A £145.50 TV licence covers up to 15 rooms on a single site. There is an additional fee for every 5 extra units that need to be covered. The additional fee is £145.50 for each 5 units. TV Licensing see a unit as a room, caravan, tent or moveable dwelling that is offered for less than 28 consecutive nights. If you offer accommodation for more than 28 consecutive nights, you may still qualify as a mobile units provider. You can find out more information about what counts as a mobile units provider by visiting the TV Licensing website or by calling Ring Tv Licence on 0843 504 7322.
If you own multiple buildings for accommodation, you may still qualify as a single site. If a public road, railway or highway splits your premises, then you have two sites and will need to purchase a TV Licence for each site. If the buildings are under separate ownership, you’ll need separate TV licences for the buildings.
If you have moved home or have changed your contact details, such as your phone number or name, you may need to call Ring Tv Licence on 0843 504 7322 to inform them of the change. You can also change these details by heading to the TV licensing website and editing the information in the update your details section of the site. When contacting TV Licensing to update your information, you will need to know your last name, TV Licence number and postcode.
This information can be important to update due to the legal issues that surround the world of TV Licensing. Keeping information updated can prevent legal disputes, protect you from prosecution and potential fines.
If you are not in possession of a valid TV licence and choose to watch live television, you are breaking the law and could face prosecution. TV Licensing have a national database of 31 million licensed and unlicensed addresses. Their enforcement officers check the database and may carry out checks on your property if you declare that you do not need a TV licence. TV Licensing use detector vans that can tell if you are using TV receiving equipment at an unregistered address.
If you are found to be watching television without a TV licence, you will have to pay a fine up to a maximum of £1000, not including any legal costs. You may also be required to appear at court. In Jersey the maximum fine is £500 and in Guernsey the maximum fine is £2000.
Before you call the TV Licensing authority, it is a good idea to know a number of important details, allowing you to tell the member of customer services the information as quickly as possible, expediting the whole situation. Whilst talking to a member of the TV Licensing agency, you may be asked for your new and old address, your relationship to licence holder, how the licence has been paid for (direct debit or credit/debit card), your National Insurance number, if you are applying for an age dependent licence, and your licence number.
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