Save money- don't buy a TV licence
We all like saving money, and one way to do that is to go through direct debits and standing orders and see whether there are any old or outdated ones that could be cancelled. One bill that many people wish they could cancel is the TV licence fee- a £145.50 annual BBC ‘tax’ on watching telly. And they don’t even make Downton.
But you don’t have to buy a TV licence. According to BBC figures, less than 3% of the population don’t have a TV at all, and these poor individuals are normally excused, but depending on how you watch TV, you could escape the charge too.
The levy is charged on those watching live TV, so even if you don’t have a telly, if you watch programmes live over the internet, you are liable for the charge. If you record live TV programmes, which would include Sky+/TiVO services, you are still ‘watching’ live TV and need to cough up your £145.50. However, if you do not watch live TV, you don’t have to pay.
You could just use your TV (or computer) to watch DVDs and play computer games. You might watch movies and online-only series through LoveFilm or Netflix. You might watch BBC and other terrestrial programmes through iPlayer or catch up services (which is not the same as recording it for later viewing). In any of these circumstances, you do not need a TV licence.
So how do you get the TV licensing people off your back? Anyone who owns, or who buys, a TV will be hounded and threatened with court action without refrain- according to Aol over 155,000 people were convicted and fined up to £1,000 last year and 107 people have been jailed for non-payment, so it’s not an idle threat. However, you can make a ‘No Licence Needed’ declaration on the TV Licensing website which, if accepted, will free you from snotty reminders for up to 2 years, when you will need to re-declare.
Of course, the TV Licensing people ‘reserve the right’ to visit your property to check you really aren’t watching live TV and veiled references to surveillance and detection equipment suggests they might be able to check whether or not you are watching live TV. It's up to you whether you believe this, or have more faith in the empty van with a man turning a handle to spin a detecting dish on the roof. However, if you genuinely don’t watch live TV, or you don’t mind waiting for catch up services*, this could be a way to save yourself some dough.
The alternative is to adopt an over-74 year old as they get free licences. But that’s probably going a bit far.
*a word of warning. Match of the Day does not appear on catch up until the Tuesday following broadcast. It’s like they know.