French TV licence fee: Who is exempt from paying this year’s €138?

Criteria based on age, finances or personal situation can mean you do not have to pay for a redevance télé

21 October 2021

Certain conditions can exempt people from having to pay the French redevance télé Pic: Gaurav Paswan / Shutterstock

By Emma Morgan

Which groups are exempt from paying France’s annual redevance télé licence fee? 

Most French households which contain a television must pay a redevance télé, but there are some exceptions: 

  • People whose revenu fiscal de référence (net taxable annual income figure) is €0

  • Care home residents, as long as any property they own is unoccupied

  • Over-60s who do not pay impôt sur la fortune immobilière (IFI) and whose income does not exceed a certain threshold (see below).
    Over-60s who have adult children living at home are also exempted if their child is unemployed, seeking work and whose yearly income is below a certain figure (€5,660 for one child). 

  • People who benefit from the allocation adulte handicapé (AAH), allocation de solidarité aux personnes âgées (ASPA) or allocation supplémentaire invalidité (ASI) and whose revenues do not exceed a certain threshold (see below).

  • People who are disabled or widow(er)s and whose income does not exceed a certain amount (see below).

  • Those who were exempted from paying the redevance télé before 2005, whose income does not exceed a certain threshold (see below) and who do not pay IFI. 

What are the relevant income thresholds? 

The 2021 redevance télé income thresholds are based on a person’s finances in 2020. One person living alone is exempt from paying the licence fee if their income was less than €11,120. For two adults living together the threshold is €17,058 for the household.

Further details can be found at Service-public.fr

Redevance télé in 2021 

This year, the redevance télé charge is €138 in metropolitan France and €88 in overseas territories. 

It should be paid alongside your taxe d’habitation, the deadline for which is November 15 or November 20 if you are paying via the impots.gouv.fr portal. Taxe d’habitation is gradually being phased out and 80% of households no longer have to pay, but this does not apply to TV licence fees. 

If you have not yet received your bill, it means that you have until mid-December to pay (your bill will also show this).

Read more: Who still has to pay taxe d’habitation in France and until when?

Licence fees are charged to a household and do not depend on the number of residents.

If you have a child who is living elsewhere but who forms part of your household (foyer fiscal) for tax purposes, you only need to pay the fee once. However, the child must be under 21 – or under 25 if still studying – or disabled. 

If you have more than one television or different televisions spread across two residences, you will only need to pay your licence fee once. 

Read more: French TV licence for my second home?

If you only watch television through a tablet or computer you do not need to pay the fee, as it depends on your having a television. Equally, if you own a television but only use it to watch programmes and films through apps such as Netflix, you still need to pay the redevance télé. 

Those who fail to pay their redevance télé on time will see their bill increase by 10%. 

If you do not have a television, you must notify the tax authorities each year by ticking a box on your tax return. 

People who tick the box dishonestly could face a fine of €150 per television.

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