There used to be a time when anyone who had a TV would need a TV Licence, but the rules are not so clear these days. There are some occasions when a TV Licence is not needed. If you are unsure whether you need a licence or not, then this guide may help.
How much is a TV Licence UK 2020?
From 1st April 2020 the cost of the annual television licence fee is £157.50.
Do you Need a TV Licence to watch Live TV?
If you watch TV on any channel as it is being broadcast, then you will need a TV licence. This does not just apply to terrestrial TV, but also channels that are watched via Sky or Virgin.
You also need a licence if you watch TV via a mobile device or computer. This includes watching live, or recording shows to watch at a later time.
You will also need a licence if you watch any shows on BBC iPlayer, whether they are live or on catch up. This is a rule that was introduced in 2016.
You can purchase a licence from the TV Licensing website. There are a variety of ways to pay, but some of these will occur a surcharge so this is something to be aware of. If you pay by quarterly direct debit, then you will pay £5 more for your licence than if you pay monthly, weekly or in one lump sum.
You can also pay by credit card and there are no fees for this, so it is possible to make some money by using a cashback credit card as long as you pay the balance in full.
Do you need a TV Licence if you Record Live TV?
If you record a show live to watch later, then you will need a TV licence. The fact that it is being recorded means that it is being accessed when it is live. This access requires you to have a licence, regardless of when you watch the show.
You can get round this by waiting until the show is on catch up and then watching it from there. However, you will still need a licence if you are using BBC iPlayer to catch up.
Do you need a TV Licence If You Are Over 75?
Until recently, everyone over the age of 75 was eligible for a free licence. Now you have to be in receipt of pension credit in order to be exempt from paying for a licence.
TV Licensing will be writing to everyone that now needs to start paying for their licence. Their advice is to wait until you have received this letter as it will contain all the details of any action that you need to take.
Do you need a TV Licence if you only Watch Catch- Up TV?
If you only watch catch up TV other than BBC iPlayer, then you do not need a TV licence. This includes the ITV Hub, All 4 and 5 On Demand. Most shows are uploaded to these services within an hour or so of them being broadcast, and so you shouldn’t have to wait too long for your favourite show to become available.
If you have Now TV and you watch the show at the same time as it is being shown on a Sky channel, then you will need a licence.
Do you need a TV Licence for watching Netflix?
If you only watch content on demand, such as films or TV shows on a streaming service like Netflix, then you do not need a TV licence.
If you watch Premier League games on Amazon Prime then you will need a licence because these are classified as live TV.
Do you need a TV Licence if you own a TV but don't watch it?
The TV licence covers you for watching TV, not for owning one. Therefore if you have a TV but never watch it, you do not need a licence. This is true even if the TV is connected to an aerial or has Freeview built in. As long as you do not watch live TV or shows from BBC iPlayer, you do not need a licence.
You are permitted to use your TV to access radio channels. The Communications Act 2003 states that a licence is needed if you have a television receiver. Your TV will not be classified as a television receiver if you are only using it to listen to the radio and so you do not need a licence.
Do you need a TV Licence if you are living with someone else?
If you are a lodger, then you should be covered by the licence of the homeowner. This is the case even if you have your own TV in your room.
You will need a licence if you rent a house or apartment and live there by yourself or with other members of your family. There may be some occasions where the landlord provides the licence for the property, but this does not happen very often. You should check with your landlord if you are unsure whether you need to purchase your own licence because there are penalties for people who don’t have a licence but need one.
Can I get a fine for not having a TV Licence?
If you do not have a TV licence, then you need to be absolutely sure that one is not required. If you don’t have a licence but you actually need one, then you could face a fine of £1000.
TV Licensing estimate that there is only 2% of households that do not require a licence, so to avoid a fine you need to be sure that you are watching TV in the right way if you don’t have a licence. Remember to think about the way other people in the house may watch TV, especially children who may not understand the rules.
Can you go to prison for not having a TV Licence?
You cannot be imprisoned if you do not pay for your TV licence. However, prison can be used as a punishment for non-payment of fines that are issued by TV Licensing. It is very rare for a case to progress this far, but it is important to understand that the penalties for not having a licence when you should can be severe.
Who is exempt from TV Licence?
People who are aged 75 or over and receive Pension Credit. People who are blind (severely sight impaired). People who live in qualifying residential care and are disabled or over 60 and retired. For businesses that provide units of overnight accommodation, for example, hotels and mobile units.
What powers do TV Licensing have?
TV License Enforcement Officers do not possess any official powers of arrest and cannot enter homes or search property without permission.