TV and Radio Fees Austria (GIS Gebühren) – What it is and Why you should pay

Have you received a payment reminder from the GIS in your letterbox? Are you confused and you don’t know whether you should ignore it or not? In this article, we will explain what are GIS TV and radio fees in Austria, why you should pay them and how much you should pay.

Fee Info Service GmbH or GIS is a subsidiary of the ORF (Austrian Broadcasting Corporation) whose task is to collect and distribute the broadcasting fees. The GIS may decide on exemption requests, check existing reporting obligations, and collect open fees directly or through responsible public institutions.

When do I have to pay GIS fees?

GIS fees must be paid as soon as someone has a functional, stationary radio or TV device at home. It doesn’t matter whether TV is not being watched or radio not listening. If the device is capable of receiving TV or radio programs, the fee must be paid.

How much are GIS fees in Austria?

Because Austrian GIS fees consist of many components and differ from state to state, we will list the total monthly and annual costs of the GIS fee below.

A list of GIS fees per federal state for television and radio reception facilities. This table shows total costs as a sum of television GIS & radio GIS fees per federal state as of March 2021.

Federal StateMonthly FeeYearly Fee
Vienna26,33 EUR315,96 EUR
Lower Austria26,33 EUR315,96 EUR
Burgenland23,73 EUR284,76 EUR
Upper Austria20,93 EUR251,76 EUR
Salzburg25,63 EUR307,56 EUR
Styria26,73 EUR320,76 EUR
Carinthia26,03 EUR312,36 EUR
Tyrol24,63 EUR295,56 EUR
Vorarlberg20,93 EUR251,16 EUR
Source: GIS

The table below is listing only radio GIS fees.

Federal StateMonthly FeeYearly Fee
Vienna7,33 EUR87,96 EUR
Lower Austria7,30 EUR87,60 EUR
Burgenland6,60 EUR79,20 EUR
Upper Austria5,90 EUR70,80 EUR
Salzburg7,50 EUR90,00 EUR
Styria7,40 EUR88,80 EUR
Carinthia7,30 EUR87,60 EUR
Tyrol6,90 EUR82,80 EUR
Vorarlberg5,90 EUR70,80 EUR
Source: GIS

What can I do to avoid paying GIS fees legally?

The best legal way to avoid the fees is to simply stream the content online and not have a TV card in your PC/laptop.

Source: GIS

If you don’t have a TV or radio device at home or any additional device with radio reception you can download, fulfill and sign the deregistration form. You should scan it and send it to the following email address: kundenservice@gis.at.

If you don’t want to be “discovered” by the GIS in the first place, you can of course hide from it – it will certainly work for a while. Nevertheless, this is not entirely legal, but never opening the door (for example, if you are always asleep or never at home), but it is also not illegal…

The GIS staff can knock on your door Monday to Friday 9:00 to 21:00 come and Saturdays 9:00 to 17:00. 

Looking for English speaking job in Austria

What to do when GIS staff knocks on my door?

The visits by GIS employees are explicitly “informational visits” and not “control visits”.  The GIS staff is not allowed to enter your apartment if you don’t permit them. However, you are obliged to provide information to GIS about any TV and radio equipment at your home.

A refusal to provide information can be punished by GIS with a fine of up to 2180 euros.

The GIS employees cannot obtain any information from you if you are simply never at home. If the whole thing seems suspicious, GIS can also call the authorities, and you’ll have to give them access to your home.

Should I just ignore the written inquires from GIS?

No, ignoring the written inquires from GIS and not providing the requested information is definitely not a good idea.

Instead, you should respond to GIS inquires truthfully. 

If you refuse to provide information, you are committing an administrative offense, which can be sanctioned with a fine of up to 2,180 euros after the GIS has reported this to the district administrative authority.

For which devices do I have to pay the GIS fee?

Devices subject to GIS fee are:

  • TV sets with antenna connection or tuners
  • Cable receiver
  • Satellite receiver
  • Radios and other devices with FM reception

Please note: Cell phones, tablets, computers, or similar devices are not subject to GIS fees unless they have a DVB stick, a TV card.

Do I have to pay GIS fees for my car radio?

No. Car radios do not have to be reported – they are free of charge. For private households, broadcasting fees are charged per location, not per receiving device (multiple devices at one location do not cost extra).

Does a Smart TV require paying GIS fee?

Yes, because anyone who owns a television with a tuner or antenna connection is officially liable to pay a fee and has to pay a fee to the GIS per household. Regardless of whether you watch ORF or not, you have to pay this fee.

Is it necessary to pay GIS fees if I watch ORF online on my PC or laptop?

No, streaming is GIS-free under certain conditions. If you receive radio programs over cable, satellite, or antenna, you are required to pay a GIS fee.   

As long as the PC does not have a TV card, there is no GIS fee.

Is there an exception to not having to pay GIS fees?

The following people don’t have to pay GIS fees:

  • Unemployed people who are registered within AMS as unemployed and receiving unemployment allowances.
  • People receiving child care allowance.
  • Social assistance recipients who receive minimum incomes, basic services, or study grants, or who do community service or are exempt from prescription fees.
  • The deaf and people with severe hearing impairments, care allowance recipients, and pensioners. 

All the above-mentioned groups of people don’t have to pay GIS fees if they fulfill basic conditions and this is related to the income of their household and limits are following:

A single person can earn a maximum of 1,018.55 euros net per month for an exemption, a two-person household a maximum of 1,527.14 euros, for each additional person in the household 157.16 euros more. All of this needs to be confirmed to the GIS, their confirmations can be found here: gis.at/frei

What counts as a broadcast receiving device?

Radio receivers are devices that use radio technology. This means that every television in itself is a radio reception system and it is subject to registration and fees.

To which of my data GIS have an access?

The GIS has access only to the population register. This means GIS can simply compare the list of their registered GIS fee payers with the data from the population register and identify those people who are not paying the GIS fee.

What is financed with the GIS fees?

The public service broadcasting is financed with GIS: information, education, and entertainment (and also sport) as a public task. The ORF is performing this public task with four television and twelve radio channels.

The content should be comprehensive and balanced, the focus is on education and information, and certain topics should also be conveyed, such as democratic coexistence, economic relationships, or sustainability.

The ORF is also a reliable source of information that is also (sometimes more, sometimes less) independent of parties. It fulfills the educational mandate in Austria and is committed to promoting art, culture, and science – those areas that often receive far too little attention – especially from the middle class. 

Conclusion: We hope that this article answered all your questions regarding GIS fees. We recommend you to pay GIS fees unless you don’t have devices capable of receiving radio and TV programs or tuner has been removed from your TV. Otherwise, you are risking paying high fines.


Leave your thoughts

“By expats for expats”

AustrianCareer.at is the first expat friendly job platform in Austria where you can find all English speaking job openings.

office@austriancareer.at