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  #61  
Old 23.08.2007, 15:48
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Re: Do I have to get a TV licence from Billag?

Ok, I am still totally confused about this whole situation. Untill my parents got "billag" notification like 2 months ago. I had ZERO idea this even existed. I have lived here for three years and never heard of it. Bought a TV two years ago and have never heard about it. How is one to pay a tax he doesn't even know exists? And why is the fee simply not tacked on the monthly fee you pay for cable?
Also my car has a TV tuner that is unable to receive any programs, do I have to pay for it?
If the bill people come, can I claim I simply never heard about the fee? Which in truth I haven't.

P.S. Does anybody else think this is highway robbery? What other countries this bull caca also exists?
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  #62  
Old 23.08.2007, 16:39
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Re: Do I have to get a TV licence from Billag?

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P.S. There's a wonderful bit of "Swinglish" in the link you provided - "... wenn das live gestreamte Programmangebot ..."
It's not really Swinglish but correct German. Many English technical terms get carried over to German unaltered. Better than the french way of reinventing the week every time (mégaoctet = megabyte, gratuiciel = freeware... but this is off topic now).

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Ok, I am still totally confused about this whole situation. Untill my parents got "billag" notification like 2 months ago. I had ZERO idea this even existed. I have lived here for three years and never heard of it. Bought a TV two years ago and have never heard about it. How is one to pay a tax he doesn't even know exists? And why is the fee simply not tacked on the monthly fee you pay for cable?
Also my car has a TV tuner that is unable to receive any programs, do I have to pay for it?
If the bill people come, can I claim I simply never heard about the fee? Which in truth I haven't.

P.S. Does anybody else think this is highway robbery? What other countries this bull caca also exists?
The TV (and soon internet) companies charge for each connection but Billag wants the fee only once per person or household.

According to this article, radio and TV fees exist all over Europe, plus in the Far East and in South Africa.

There are some arguments for this tax in Switzerland:
  • It's a sign of solidarity of the German speaking part of Switzerland to pump hundreds of millions of Francs in the French, Italian and Rhaeto-Romanic programs every year
  • Without the tax, Switzerland's language regions would be insignificant appendices of the respective foreign markets and nobody would produce media for them
  • The public TV channels have lower advertisement limits and an obligation to provide certain services like news
I'm not a TV junkie but at least I get some news and football games from the SRG...
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  #63  
Old 23.08.2007, 17:34
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Re: Do I have to get a TV licence from Billag?

As I learn more about the Billag, the thing I find ridiculous is that they have this whole organisation to enforce the tax. When they find somebody who legitimately doesn't have to pay the tax, they then dedicate resources to change the law so that people in those circumstances do have to pay the tax.

They should throw away the pretense of it being a user pays system, openly say "Everybody must contribute to improving Swiss radio and TV", add the tax directly to the income tax and shut down the Billag collection completely. Then the money that is spent on running the Billag collection could be used constructively to improve Swiss radio and TV.

My suggestion would be to encourage local radio stations to support unsigned Swiss bands and artists more.
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  #64  
Old 23.08.2007, 18:03
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Re: Do I have to get a TV licence from Billag?

So true. It seems such a weird Orwellian system... and just for this one tax.
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  #65  
Old 24.08.2007, 01:03
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Re: Do I have to get a TV licence from Billag?

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As I learn more about the Billag, the thing I find ridiculous is that they have this whole organisation to enforce the tax. When they find somebody who legitimately doesn't have to pay the tax, they then dedicate resources to change the law so that people in those circumstances do have to pay the tax.
I think the word that is applicable is "unaccountable".

What upset me initially with Billag was that after getting a phone connection in my new home, Billag sent me a form to fill in, which I duly filled out.

They then called me a week or so later on my mobile asking why I hadn't registered with them. Er, hello, how have you got my mobile number if you didn't receive the form I sent you??? Not exactly a good start to business relationship!

Anyway, I paid up. It's not such a bad deal compared with the UK system. Or so I thought until I tried canceling.

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They should throw away the pretense of it being a user pays system, openly say "Everybody must contribute to improving Swiss radio and TV", add the tax directly to the income tax and shut down the Billag collection completely. Then the money that is spent on running the Billag collection could be used constructively to improve Swiss radio and TV.
That is a very interesting idea, with the strong caveat that I would not like it to go down the BBC route.

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My suggestion would be to encourage local radio stations to support unsigned Swiss bands and artists more.
I definitely approve of that, and probably earn a few black marks with the RIAA mafia for saying it
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  #66  
Old 24.08.2007, 12:41
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Re: Do I have to get a TV licence from Billag?

I understand this is a tax to finance and sustain the production an operation of the public swiss TV and radio programs.

I believe it is right to pay for it.

The thing is this is a tax you can renounce to pay if you give proof you are unable to use the TV and radio by yourself.

And this creates this confusing thing with Billag.

It'd be easier in my opinion, if they just collect you the tax together with the other taxes, and off course if it was lower because is kind of high.

I do pay it, after several years living here they came and made me sign, but I rarely watch TV, Swiss TV practically never, international TV, maybe once a week on sundays... the only radio that I listen to is when the Trafffic Information transmission interrupts my CD player on my car...

I have better things to do outside than just to sit in front of the dummy box.

But I have to pay some 400CHF to sustain the work of the SSR, SF, TSR etc....
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  #67  
Old 27.09.2007, 09:37
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Billag Taxes, referendum/public voting to abolish it?

I'm a Swiss who grown up in Brazil, lived in Switzerland for five years, from 1992 to 1997, and now is back.

Back then I never heard of any television or radio tax, nobody informed me and I nobody never annoyed me about it.

When I was informed about the Billag taxes I was literally SHOCKED!!!

Anyway I accepted to pay the television tax, and didn't took the radio cause I don't have any and don't listen to.

Now I was reading in the newspaper that who has computers will have to pay the television tax cause of the high speed internet connections and even worst, that people who has computer already must pay the radio tax!!!

The television tax is already expensive, so paying a radio one too I find ridiculous!!!

Who set up this law? Can't we do a referendum or public voting to abolish it? Public television channels must survive by themselves with publicity and good televisions shows and sitcoms, not with the money of the people. Worst, actually they do both if you pay attention!!!

If some people have the same opinion that mine and want to change this absurd, I'm willing to participate in any action to change this, collecting signatures or something similar.
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  #68  
Old 27.09.2007, 10:32
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Re: Billag Taxes, referendum/public voting to abolish it?

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Now I was reading in the newspaper that who has computers will have to pay the television tax cause of the high speed internet connections and even worst, that people who has computer already must pay the radio tax!!!
Hi Olivier,


Which newspaper did you read this in?

there is a thread on Billag with some details here

On the broadband issue, see my comment, and then followi Nathu's link in the following post.
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  #69  
Old 27.09.2007, 11:11
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Re: Do I have to get a TV licence from Billag?

I'm in Billag battle right now and find it preposterous.

It's outrageously expensive and not based on anything other than a revenue stream that someone appears to have "dreamt".

Further, I don't speak and German or Swiss German (yet) so the whopping three channels that would be available to me hold no interest and aren't supported by the tax anyway.

I have an alarm clock, a TV that is plugged to a dvd player for my kids and a car that has radio and a tv tuner. However, I just don't watch tv or listen to the radio and if I could disable the traffic announcements in my car, I would.

I talk to Swiss friends at work, and they hate this more than we do. I really admire the way Swiss infrastructure and government is run except for a few small anomalies such as this. I wish some level headed person would step in and bring some logic to the situation.

27/9/2007 - three months without paying so far. I'll be in cuffs soon enough...
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  #70  
Old 27.09.2007, 11:24
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Re: Do I have to get a TV licence from Billag?

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I'm in Billag battle right now and find it preposterous.

It's outrageously expensive and not based on anything other than a revenue stream that someone appears to have "dreamt".

Further, I don't speak and German or Swiss German (yet) so the whopping three channels that would be available to me hold no interest and aren't supported by the tax anyway.
Firstly, commiserations in the battle.

When you say that the channels aren't supported by the tax, do you know where the money does go?

If you have a stereo TV bought here, you can get various stuff in English by listening on sound channel B. This tends to be films and US soaps/crime series and can be found on on the Swiss French (TSR 1/2), Swiss German (SF1/2) and Swiss Italian (TSI 1/2)channels.
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  #71  
Old 27.09.2007, 13:04
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Re: Billag Taxes, referendum/public voting to abolish it?

About the broadband television tax, I read it in the 20minutes free newspaper of Vaud. The source used by them is the FRCmagazine. This will start in January 2008.

Sorry, the article is in french
http://www.20min.ch/ro/rechercher/story/26886725

Cheers,
Olivier

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Hi Olivier,


Which newspaper did you read this in?

there is a thread on Billag with some details here

On the broadband issue, see my comment, and then followi Nathu's link in the following post.
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  #72  
Old 27.09.2007, 14:26
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Re: Billag Taxes, referendum/public voting to abolish it?

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About the broadband television tax, I read it in the 20minutes free newspaper of Vaud. The source used by them is the FRCmagazine. This will start in January 2008.

Sorry, the article is in french
http://www.20min.ch/ro/rechercher/story/26886725
Thanks Olivier. Judging by the comments to that article, there are some angry people out there. (Note that the article doesn't appear in the German version of 20 minutes.)

Here is the SRG SSR License Fee FAQ, available in the 4 Swiss languages and English.

Quote:
Do I have to pay licence fees if I only receive radio and television services via computer (live streaming)?
In principle, you must also register and pay licence fees if you receive radio and television services in this way. However, if you have already registered your conventional radio and/or television set, you do not have to register again to receive services via your computer, because licence fees are paid on a per-household basis. Anyone who has registered neither a radio nor a television set must take action under the following circumstances:
  • Radio reception: Internet access via ISDN or broadband connection (e.g. ADSL, cable television network, etc.), reception using the relevant software (such as Mediaplayer, RealOne Player).
  • Television reception: Internet access via broadband connection (e.g. ADSL, cable television network), reception using the relevant software (such as Mediaplayer, RealOne Player), subscription with an Internet provider to receive television channels via the Internet.
This says to me that you have to pay the radio element if you have relevant software on your computer to allow listening.

The same goes for TV if you have the relevant software and a subscription for TV channels via an ISP.

Also note the last question on the FAQ page concerning those on benefits:

Quote:
Persons receiving supplementary AHV (state pension) or IV (disability) benefits from the Federal government are exempted from the obligation to pay licence fees. To claim this exemption, you must submit a written application to Billag AG, enclosing a copy of the official confirmation that you receive supplementary benefits.
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  #73  
Old 27.09.2007, 17:58
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Re: Do I have to get a TV licence from Billag?

What happens if you are a visitor to Switzerland for a couple of months and buy a tv for the apartment you are living in to use whist you are there? Or drive around in a UK registered car with a radio? Should you have a licence?
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  #74  
Old 27.09.2007, 18:18
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Re: Do I have to get a TV licence from Billag?

The article isn't available in German because the information is from a French Swiss consumerism journal. There's no official statement from the federal office of communication. Also the 20 Minutes article cites a quote that the new tax would become effective in 2009...

To legally get rid of the radio fee on computers it suffices to not have streamradio programs installed... (And who's going to check this?)

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What happens if you are a visitor to Switzerland for a couple of months and buy a tv for the apartment you are living in to use whist you are there? Or drive around in a UK registered car with a radio? Should you have a licence?
By law, yes.
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  #75  
Old 27.09.2007, 18:30
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Re: Do I have to get a TV licence from Billag?

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By law, yes.
Buy a tv for the apartment you are living in to use whilst you are there? - Certainly.
Driving around in a UK registered car with a radio? - If resident, yes. But surely not if non resident . Otherwise you'd get Billag at the border with your motorway vignette .
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  #76  
Old 27.09.2007, 18:50
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Re: Do I have to get a TV licence from Billag?

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Otherwise you'd get Billag at the border with your motorway vignette .
Don't give them ideas
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  #77  
Old 27.09.2007, 21:51
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Re: Do I have to get a TV licence from Billag?

If you aren't paying any fees then they will chase you up.

About 3 days ago I got a more or less friendly letter from Billag asking if I wanted to register the use of a TV/radio and, if so, when did the usage start. This was after faithfully paying them the fees (or so I thought) since we moved to Switzerland.

It turns out that when my ex moved out 2 years ago, she transferred the original Billag registration to her new address. I didn't notice one bill less but Billag did spot a non-paying swiss household .

The less friendly part of the letter included highlighted words like "punishable" or "those failing to register can count on a fine up to CHF 5000". I've been honest with them about the 2 year gap so I'll have to see if they let me off with just the back-payments.

Update: got the Fr.1000 bill from them a couple of weeks later. That covers the back-payment and they didn't even charge any interest, which is unusual in Switzerland.

Last edited by eejit; 09.12.2007 at 11:39. Reason: added update
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  #78  
Old 27.09.2007, 22:06
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Re: Do I have to get a TV licence from Billag?

Since olivier.voutat's thread was merged into this one, this is an answer to his first post:

Like I said in the other thread, if you don't have a streamradio program on the computer, it is not liable for radio tax.

But your main problem is that while the height of radio and TV tax are subject to discussion, this:

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Public television channels must survive by themselves with publicity and good televisions shows and sitcoms, not with the money of the people. Worst, actually they do both if you pay attention!!!
is not the oppinion of the Swiss majority. The public TV channels are subject to stricter advertising rules and must perform certain duties, to inform about news and politics and news in Switzerland. Also it is seen as an important gesture that the Swiss German part subsidises the public French and Italian speaking TV and radio stations.

The problem is that this so-called "service public" will never be performed by the foreign competition from the neighboring countries. They couldn't care less about Switzerland in their news and general program, even the relatively big Swiss German part is just an insignificant appendage of the German market. Well the German stations run some Swiss advertisement windows but that's about it.

You won't change the advertisement conditions either because a new Radio and TV legislation became recently effective. My advise is to join a consumer protection organisation, they'll organise protests and political pressure and guide you to the battlefields of the hour (probably Billag tax on MP3 players and TV tax on computers).

Okay, now what about private competition from Switzerland? After all, the new radio and TV law provides them with a small slice of the radio/TV tax, too! But it's not so simple. The few efforts to establish a private national TV channel went belly-up after a few years each so far... 3 Plus TV is still running but their program, especially the rip-off quizes, are a disgrace for Swiss media. The regional TV stations on the other hand usually loop a 1h program and aren't very interesting advertising mediums (to my knowledge Tele Züri is the only one whose market share exceeds 0.1%).

And private radios are confronted with a difficult situation, too: The federal office of communication doesn't hand out nation-wide concessions to privates, so there isn't really space for niche music. So the regional radios usually opt for hardcore mainstream music to survive and can't compete with innovative concepts. The administrative decisions of the federal office of communication are very difficult to influence from outside.
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  #79  
Old 29.09.2007, 01:35
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Re: Do I have to get a TV licence from Billag?

Hmm. Thought i'd look into the Billag business as a large fine would really b***er things up for us and it gives a monthly breakdown and a 'trimester' breakdown. Now, each post that mentions how often you pay says it's quarterly. Just how often do they expect you to cough up and is it possibly to pay monthly?
We've been on cablecom digital for a few months now and no letter from them yet...
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Old 30.09.2007, 04:42
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Re: Do I have to get a TV licence from Billag?

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Hmm. Thought i'd look into the Billag business as a large fine would really b***er things up for us and it gives a monthly breakdown and a 'trimester' breakdown. Now, each post that mentions how often you pay says it's quarterly. Just how often do they expect you to cough up and is it possibly to pay monthly?
We've been on cablecom digital for a few months now and no letter from them yet...
From my experience, you can arrange to pay them monthly as a one-off (I had some hefty medical bills to cope with at the time), but I had to fight for that, and once I paid the first month, they sent me a letter oh-so-nicely thanking me, and demanding the rest within 7 days, or they'd send me a Betreibung.

This fine thing appears to be new. The advice I got just over 7 years ago was to wait for them to find me, and they did as soon as I installed a phone at home.

However, they have apparently started an advertising campaign, and you can find the videos here.

The first one on that list is completely dire. I wish you luck trying to make sense of it. Oh, and for Mac users, it's in the wonderful .WMV format , so you need the likes of VLC to view it.
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