The French government is preparing to end the TV licence fee this year in a change estimated to apply to around 23 million households, saving them €138 a year.
The measure was an election promise by President Emmanuel Macron and comes after the gradual suppression of one of France’s main local taxes - the taxe d’habitation - during his first term.
The TV licence is called la contribution pour l'audiovisuel public in French, formerly known as the redevance télé.
It currently funds France Télévisions (France 2, France 3, France 5), Radio France (France Inter, France Info, France Culture, France Musique) Arte, and international media such as France 24 and RFI.
Precise details of the move to scrap the fee have yet to be fully clarified but a law containing the legislation for it is expected to be put to parliament after the legislative elections in June to appoint the country's MPs.
The change is expected to cost the state €3.2billion per year. However, government spokesperson Gabriel Attal denied that France Télévisions and Radio France would be privatised, and said that the “financing of public audiovisual media is guaranteed”.
The source of funding set to replace the licence fee has not yet been confirmed.
The licence fee is only paid by those with a TV. Those without can declare so on their tax return to avoid the fee.
In the lead up to the April presidential elections this year, President Macron said that getting rid of the licence fee was a “coherent” measure following on from the suppression of the taxe d’habitation.
By 2023, the taxe d’habitation will no longer apply to any main homes. However, second-home owners in France will still have to pay this tax.
Nothing has, however, been announced to the effect that the TV licence fee, usually combined with the taxe d’habitation bill, will also be maintained for second-homes, so we would assume this not to be the case pending any further clarification on this.
Unlike taxe d’habitation, which can be payable on multiple properties, the TV licence fee is only paid once per tax household however many homes a given family owns in France.
If you do not have a TV and still have to make a French tax declaration this year, we suggest you continue to cross box ‘0RA’ to continue to opt out of paying the fee due to not having a TV.
Usually those who do not declare income because they are non-resident and have no French-source income, have been advised to check with their tax office to make sure they know not to levy the fee if they do not have a TV at their property.