Second home owners to escape broadcasting charge
Proposed public service broadcasting charge will be levied on occupier, not owner
Holiday and second-home owners are likely to escape having to pay the proposed new public service broadcasting charge
Holiday and second-home owners are likely to escape having to pay the proposed new public service broadcasting charge designed to replace the television licence, under proposals made by Minister for Communications Pat Rabbitte.
For businesses, the level of charge would vary according to size so that small traders are not landed with a disproportionate burden, according the proposals. At present, even large hotels with televisions in every room have only to pay for one licence.
A study published by the Minister proposes that all principal residential households would have to pay the charge and the occupier, as opposed to the owner, would be liable. Second homes would be exempt provided the occupier had paid the charge for his or her principal residence.
The study also suggests using the local property tax register to identify households liable for the charge, though in the first instance the existing television licence database would be used.
Businesses would be categorised as micro, small, medium-size and above and charged different levels accordingly.
Provision for civil and criminal proceedings would be made in the legislation setting up the charge, subject to the attorney general’s advice. Where a householder fails to pay, the legislation would oblige them to provide the requisite details of their properties, including the occupiers, so that the charge can be collected. Random spot checks will also be carried out to ensure compliance.
Mr Rabbitte last night announced an eight-week consultation process on the proposals for the charge, which was promised in the programme for Government. The aim is to provide a stable source of income to support public service broadcasting, regardless of the device used to access it. Evasion of the television licence is currently running at up to 20 per cent.
The charge will be set at a level no higher than the current licence fee and the department says that since most households have a television a new liability will occur in only a small number of cases.