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   v. February 8, 2016
No TV / radio tax? (letter)

Translation (a bit modified) of a sample text of a demand to drop the TV and radio fee (ie, the hidden culture flat-tax).

To ....( organization for the collection of a hidden culture tax, the television and radio "fees")

Date: ...???...

Enclosed is a stamped envelope with a prepared note for the communication of your file number or at least your receipt number. Please send this within 1 month.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

From now on I'll pay the so-called television and radio fee (in fact, a hidden flat rate tax) only under reservation, subject to the final decision in the following case:

1. Reason:

The average monthly income amount of the citizens in our country is (depending on perspective) about ???
My tax declaration proves a monthly income amount of only about ...???...

In our country, the collection of the "culture flat rate tax" (so called TV and radio fee) has been delegated to you. The amount calculation of this culture tax should have been submitted to the observation of social aspects, like stated by fundamental legal rules of our country.

The "fee" is (at present and in its current form) a nearly generalized "information tax, to finance public television and public radio ". The legislator is obliged to submit laws to the social obligation of fundamental rules of our country. This obligation also applies to all government-related institutions, to which tax obligations has been delegated. So this obligation also applies to this flat rate tax. (It is in its first step a tax. It is used in a second step to finance public television and radio broadcasting.)

It is this social obligation, by which government-related agencies can be distinguished from exaggerations like the occasionally so called "neo-liberal predatory capitalism ". I am glad to find in your organisation surely the intention to stay away from such exaggerations. I am sure that you are willing to observe social obligations, like required by constitutional law and by other basic rules of our country.

For the details of the observation of social obligations, the calculation rules of the income tax laws can generally be applied. This is the best expression of a common consent which has grown over decades. It is the general valid interpretation of the constitutional duty of the parliamentary representatives for legislation details related to financial contributions.

The benchmarks for taxation in our country are as follows: For a monthly income like ... € monthly, the taxation is only 50% of the average tax burden. For an income like .... , it is only 25% of the average tax burden. A monthly income below .... is free or is nearly free from income tax.

For my monthly income of ..., only approximately ... % of the average income tax has to be paid. This percentage, applied to the "TV and radio tax", results in an amount of only ... .

2. Please confirm this reduction of your culture flat tax (so-called radio and television fee). Please change according to this the tax collection account.

Since you claimed enforceability and since I was not informed until now about the inaccuracy, I think my objection also applies retroactively for up to 30 years. Please take this into account for accounting purposes. This results in a considerable balance in my favor.

Please confirm the appropriate entry in your culture tax collection account for my case (in your terminology: Fees Account). Because of that balance I would be exempt for at least 5 years from payments to you collection of the culture flat tax. (In your terminology: "free of fees "). For the following time, I am waiting for your account statement showing the balance.

If the retroactive billing is not yet ready for acounting, so please confirm me in the meantime first already the full exemption.

If you do not share my views, I ask you for a reasoned rejection.

If there is already a court ruling in the sense of your rejection, I ask to quote this and to specify where to find its text on the Internet. In this way, there would be no need to burden you again with a dispute.

3. Upon receipt of your possible - total or partial - rejection:

I will check if your arguments can be considered as valid. I will then decide according to this examination if a further procedure seems to be suitable. Legal action is only intended if the present initial information exchange does not result in a comprehensable clarification.

Sincerely ... ...

Can you use this letter?

It must be pointed out, like always for legal aspects: Everyone should consult his lawyer, if he has not himself a corresponding knowledge.

There is no recommendation to use this letter sample. It is an adapted translation of a German language letter sample. It only fits for obligationary fees which violate some basic rules in a specific country. It is left to you to check if the fee system of your country violates basic legislation rules of your country.

The question if there should be public TV and radio broadcasting, and the question if there should be some fee for it, these are questions of national politics. These questions are not concerned by the letter sample. Only cititzens of a specific country can take part in the discussion of such underlying political decisions.

There is no restriction to discuss this subject in an abstract general manner for all or for many countries. There is only a restriction for foreigners if the discussion concerns the governmental policies within a single specific country.

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Public TV - the facts

From Wikipedia - the key information
From Wikipedia, state 2011-10:

Public broadcasting includes radio, television and other electronic media outlets whose primary mission is public service. Public broadcasters receive funding from diverse sources including license fees, individual contributions, public financing and commercial financing.[1]

Public broadcasting may be nationally or locally operated, depending on the country and the station. In some countries, public broadcasting is run by a single organization. Other countries have multiple public broadcasting organizations operating regionally or in different languages.

Historically, in many countries (with the notable exception of the US), public broadcasting was once the only form or the dominant form of broadcasting.[citation needed] Commercial broadcasting now also exists in most of these countries; the number of countries with only public broadcasting declined substantially during the latter part of the 20th century.[citation needed]

The biggest public broadcaster worldwide by budget (6.3 billion euros in 2009) and employees (23,000) is the German ARD[2] followed by the British BBC.[citation needed] Other large public broadcasters are China National Radio, Japan's NHK and China Central Television.

From Wikipedia - financing public TV; how to justify public TV
(same source and copy date like above)

Public broadcasters may receive their funding from an obligatory television licence fee, individual contributions, government funding or commercial sources. Public broadcasters do not rely on advertising to the same degree as commercial broadcasters, or at all; this allows public broadcasters to transmit programmes that are not commercially viable to the mass market, such as public affairs shows, radio and television documentaries, and educational programmes.

One of the principles of public broadcasting is to provide coverage of interests for which there are missing or small markets. Public broadcasting attempts to supply topics of social benefit that are otherwise not be broadcast by commercial broadcasters. Typically, such underprovision is argued to exist when the benefits to viewers are relatively high in comparison to the benefits to advertisers from contacting viewers.[6] This frequently is the case in undeveloped countries that normally have low benefits to advertising.[7]

(End of the text copy from Wikipedia.)

Critics and other aspects

The "obligatory television licence fee" (or more general, a "broadcasting fee") is in the sense of economics not a fee but a tax, because in developed countries nearly all housholds have to pay it.

In Germany, consequently the broadcasting pseudo-"fee" has definitely been converted to the characteristics of a househould and IT tax. After some transition periods, from approximately 2012, every household has to pay its fixed amount, also every computer user, even for consumers not used for consumer purposes.

The taxation type (the so called "fees") for public broadcasting (mainly for public TV) is in most countries a flat rate tax. This way, it costs for poor people approximately 5 times of the income percentage, compared with average households. This flatrate tax is even to pay by poor persons who refuse to want to have a TV set or who refuse to view public TV.

In some countries, poor people have the right to register for some kind of "proven poverty status".

In this case, they have not to pay the full flat rate tax.

In general, the fact of a recognized poverty status is so far limited to various public and private data registers. Every permanent tariff reduction based an limited financial resources results in a computerized registry of a recognized poverty status. Examples: Public transport, museums, TV fees, etc.etc..

In most or all develioped countries, various such registries are interfaced for automatic data exchange about the poverty status of an applicant.

Our computerized modern world tends to become a wonderful world if citizens do not choose to be the watchdogs. But we can feel lucky because so far there is nowhere a legislation in preparation to mark poor people with armbands.

We do not need armbands any more because now we have chips. In the near future, the chips of your smartphone might tell the sales persons if the customer has identified himself by his Internet profile: Will he have the money to buy the product for which he declares to be interested?

A really generalized flat rate tax is free from the privacy problem but is not a satisfactory alternate solution.

A flat rate tax is typically an illegal violation of constitutional principles and of the basic principles of the Conventions on Human Rights. But you should be aware that - for example - the European Convention on Human Rights excludes taxation aspects from its general rules of non-disrimination. Anyway, social discrimination as the only violation of the Convention is not suffcient for a valid complaint.

Greece demonstrates the rare example how to avoid the heavy violation of basic taxation principles.

In addition, the official recognition of a poverty status is not required. In Greece, the TV and broadcasting tax is paid as an increase of the electricity invoice. The taxation amount depends from the electricity consumption of the household.
(from --- state 2011-10)

This covers with far more reliability with the true wealth status of households and the number of possible TV viewers. - (It was not checked if the details of the Greek concept also conform to the principles of an optimized regulation.)

Is there a need for public TV and radio?

Only the German language version of this text page includes a detailed analysis of this. Its result is that the discussion about this is based on an methodological error. In error, the cause and the result have been exchanged.
You can switch to the Germand text on top of this page, by clicking on "DE". On top of that page, there is the option for a translation in many other languages.

The analysis result:
If public TV gets significant financial amounts for quality TV, then the always existing demand for quality TV will result in a de facto monopoly for the financially privileged public TV. If there would not be such a privileged status for a single market player, then the permanent significant quality demand would result in a rich and diversified market for quality TV services.

It is the demand for quality which creates a market for quality. Example: It is the demand for classical music which creates the corresponding market. It is not due to subsidies by the tax payers that there is such a market. If the distribution of classical music would be monpolized by subsidizing one single state-owned company, than this privileged company would soon have a de facto monopoly.

Consequently, the privileges of public TV do not result in an increase of the quality market. Due to the typical reduction of diversity and innovation on a monopoly market, public TV probably results in a significant reduction of the quality volume on the TV market.

As far as concerns possible political and financial abuse by power on information markets: The German text version of this page also explains how this can be avoided by regulating diversified ownership and various content rules.

You see: "Always ask economists before making your mind about subjects related to economy."


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