With so many bills to pay and so little cash to go round, the £145.50 annual requirement for a TV Licence is by some people purposely overlooked. But this small saving can later cost you dearly: watching live TV without a valid licence is a criminal offence, which can lead to prosecution, a court appearance and a fine of up to £1,000 plus legal costs. Also see: 11 best smart TVs 2014
There’s a good chance that those who don’t own a licence but do watch live TV will be caught out, too. If your home doesn’t have a TV Licence, you are already on the TV Licensing authority’s database; don’t make the mistake of thinking the TV Licensing authority will simply take your word for it if you say you don’t own a TV. Enforcement officers allegedlycarry handheld signal-detection devices and have access to a fleet of vans that can quickly identify TV-receiving equipment at targeted addresses. Also see: Best TV guide apps for Android
There are ways you can save money on your TV Licence, of course. If you’re prepared to watch black-and-white TV the licence will cost you a more manageable £49 per year, while over-75s can apply for a free licence. If you’re registered blind or severely sight-impaired you qualify for a discount; those who live in your home can benefit by transferring the licence into your name. If you’re a student, you can also get a refund for the summer months that you spend away from uni. But if you really want to avoid paying the TV Licence fee, just don’t watch live TV.
In the past catch-up TV has been a loophole, and has not required you to own a TV Licence. As of September 2016 you’ll still be able to watch some catch-up TV without a TV Licence, but the law is about to change for BBC iPlayer…
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