In Germany, the broadcasting fee has been mandatory for every household or business establishment since 2013, regardless of whether one actually owns a reception device or not. This is a levy that is used to finance the public broadcasters.
The amount of the broadcasting contribution depends on various factors, such as the number of residents or employees, the type of use of the premises and the number of business premises. If an apartment is used both as a residence and as a law office, the question arises as to whether the broadcasting contribution must be increased accordingly.
In order to answer this question, it must first be clarified whether the law office constitutes an independent place of business or whether it can be regarded as a sub-unit of the apartment. In addition, the exact usage conditions must be determined in order to determine whether the office must pay an independent broadcasting contribution.
In this article, we will take a closer look at the legal situation regarding the broadcasting fee for an apartment used simultaneously as a living space and a lawyer’s office, and provide you with all the important information on the subject.
What is the broadcasting contribution?
The broadcasting fee is a financial charge levied on all households in Germany to fund the public broadcasters. This article also applies to apartments that are used simultaneously as law offices.
The fee is currently €17.50 per month and is levied regardless of the number of people living in the apartment. It also does not matter whether a television or radio is present or used.
As a law firm, you must pay the broadcasting fee if you have receiving equipment on your premises. This also applies if they are used purely for professional purposes and no private use takes place. If the apartment is also used as a private residence, the broadcasting fee only has to be paid once.
Overall, the broadcasting contribution enables the public broadcasters to continue and improve their diverse offerings. In addition to traditional radio and television programming, this also includes online offerings such as media libraries, podcasts, etc.
Why do I have to pay the broadcasting fee for an apartment used as living space and a law office??
The broadcasting contribution is a tax that is levied to finance public broadcasting in Germany. It is payable regardless of whether or not a household owns a receiving device. This means that the broadcasting fee must also be paid for apartments that are also used as a lawyer’s office, since they are used as living space.
The amount of the broadcasting fee depends on the number of homes and business premises as well as the number of employees. It is irrelevant what kind of activity is carried out in the premises. For example, the broadcasting fee must also be paid for a limited liability company that is located in the same premises as a law firm.
However, there are exceptions: If the law firm has a separate place of business that is not located in the apartment, no broadcasting fee must be paid for the apartment. An exemption from the obligation to pay broadcasting fees can also be applied for secondary residences that are used exclusively as work or office space for self-employed persons.
- The broadcasting fee is levied for the financing of public broadcasting.
- The broadcasting fee must also be paid for apartments used as a lawyer’s office.
- The amount of the broadcasting fee depends on the number of apartments and business premises as well as the number of employees.
- There are exceptions for separate business premises and second homes that are used exclusively as a workplace.
Broadcasting fee for an apartment used simultaneously as living space and a law office
The calculation of the broadcasting contribution for an apartment used both as a residence and as a law office can be complex. The amount of the broadcasting fee depends on various factors.
One of the important factors is the number of existing devices suitable for the use of broadcasting or the Internet. This includes, for example, radios, televisions or computers. If special equipment such as printers or scanners are available for the lawyer’s office, these do not have to be taken into account for the calculation of the broadcasting fee.
In addition, the area of the apartment plays an important role. A distinction is made here between the proportion of the space used exclusively as living space and the proportion used as a lawyer’s office. The contribution is calculated according to the percentage of the lawyer’s office in the total living space.
It is also important to note that the broadcasting fee does not only apply to the private sector, but also to tradespeople and freelancers if broadcasting or telemedia services are used commercially. This also includes the use of radio broadcasts in the lawyer’s office, for example when researching legal information.
- As can be seen, the calculation of the broadcasting fee for an apartment that is used as a residence and a law office at the same time is a complex matter.
- Among other things, the number of devices present and the area of the apartment are important here.
- In addition, tradespeople and freelancers must also pay the broadcasting fee if broadcasting or telemedia services are used commercially.
Do I have to pay the broadcasting fee if I use my apartment as a law office?
The question of whether you have to pay the broadcasting fee if you use your apartment as a law office at the same time is not an easy one to answer. In principle, everyone who lives in an apartment or a room in Germany must pay the broadcasting fee.
However, if you also use your home for business, you may be able to get an exemption from the fee. In this case, however, you must prove that you actually use your apartment as a workplace and that you do not own a television or radio.
It does not matter whether or not you actually use the office on a regular basis. The only decisive factor is whether you have the possibility to use it as a law office.
In order to be exempted from the obligation to pay broadcasting fees, you must submit an informal application to the Contribution Service and provide proof that you use your apartment as a law office.
Settlement of the broadcasting contribution for an apartment as a lawyer’s office
As the owner of an apartment that is also used as a law office, you are obliged to pay broadcasting fees. These contributions are levied to finance public broadcasting and are independent of the type of use of the apartment.
The broadcasting fee is generally calculated per apartment. Therefore, if you use the apartment both as a living space and as an office, you must split the broadcasting fee accordingly. There are various options for this:
- You can divide the contribution yourself and pay only for the private share. However, for this you must keep a precise record of the use of the premises.
- You can indicate that the apartment is also used as a lawyer’s office when registering for the broadcasting fee. In this case, the contribution can be reduced by a certain amount as a lump sum.
- You can apply for exemption if you can prove that you are unable to pay the broadcasting fee for financial reasons.
It is important that you pay the broadcasting contribution regularly and on time. If you fail to pay, you may be subject to heavy fines. If you are unsure which option is best for you, you can contact the responsible office of the public broadcaster for advice.