Irish TV tax

I posted at the weekend about how to legally avoid the television licence. It seems however, the Irish are way ahead of me.
The Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources Pat Rabbitte wants to replace the television licence fee with a household broadcasting charge.
Mr Rabbitte said his department is committed to examining the role and collection of the licence fee and to transforming it into a household-based charge under the Programme for Government.
The existing system and the efficacy of collection need to be examined because of changes in technology and the continued evasion of the TV licence, Mr Rabbitte added.
Some people are not paying the TV licence fee but still watching TV. Others will be following similar steps to those I laid out in my post linked to above. One is illegal, the other is not. This Irish minister has decided that every household in Ireland should be forced to pay the fee by default, regardless of weather they watch or own a TV. He is concerned that modern technology is making evasion easier.
“A huge number of the population now get their news not from sitting down and watching the nine o'clock news but accessing the arrangements that the public service broadcaster has put in place.
I don't even know what that is supposed to mean but Grandad has a response:
Now what in the name of fuck is that about?  Is he complaining that we read the RTE website instead of watching the news?  If RTE are moaning about that then why do they have a website in the first place?  That’s equivalent to complaining that we get our news from local gossip instead of the radio.
If this is the case, many websites are funded by advertising which is driven by traffic. A household fee will charge everyone for using a service that many will not be. Although strenuously denied, this will just turn the telly licence into another tax.
“There is and continues to be significant evasion - anywhere between 14 and 18 per cent or in excess of €25 million in lost revenue - from failure to collect from people who do have a television but don’t pay the existing license.”
It is your responsibility to individually target lawbreakers, not make everybody pay just to be sure you get all those that are using the service.
“Those of us that believe in public service broadcasting need to ensure that in the future there is a sound financial framework for supporting public service broadcasting,” he told RTÉ radio this morning.
And what of those of us who don't believe in public service broadcasting? Do we not get a say?
He said his department is examining how to levy and collect the charge, but he denied it would be is an additional tax on households, saying anyone who currently pays their existing licence had “nothing to fear”.
If everyone is forced to pay then it is a tax. Nothing more, nothing less. And what of those who don't have a TV? What do they have to fear?
Mr Rabbitte admitted it would be difficult to “strip out” households that genuinely don’t have a television or computer from those simply evading the licence. He said proposals would have to be run past the attorney general to make sure they are as “legally firm as possible”.
That's just lazy lawmaking. Difficult or not, it's your job to distinguish between those who use a TV and those who do not.


As more and more people opt out of paying for the BBC, a telly tax similar to this one will be become more probable over here too. I doubt the BBC will try to fund itself through advertising or subscription. It would probably be dead in no time at all.

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