TV licence rule means some people don’t have to pay and can request refunds


TV viewers who only watch on-demand shows or stream programmes could cancel their licences and request a partial refund, it is claimed.

A standard colour licence is £159 a year, which is a large outlay during a cost of living crisis.

It can paid monthly or annually, but only one TV licence is required per-household.

The Daily Record reports about a TikTok user called @frugalspender who claims no payment is required for a TV licence if you don’t watch live broadcasts or use the BBC iPlayer.

He also said you can request a refund if you are paying for a licence when you do not need it.

The TikTok user was technically right, but the rules around TV licensing can often be unclear.

On the TV licence website, it states: “A TV Licence is a legal permission to install or use television receiving equipment to watch live on any channel, TV service or streaming service, and to use BBC iPlayer On any device.”

Money Saving Expert Martin Lewis explained the requirements on his ITV show last year and shared the instances in which you do not have to pay a licence fee.

He said those who “never watch live TV – including ITV, that’s not just the BBC” and “only watch on catch up – but not BBC iPlayer” don’t have to pay for a TV licence.

You do not have to pay for a TV licence simply for owning a television set, so long as you do not use it to watch or record programmes as they are being shown on TV or live on an online TV service.

If you use streaming services like Netflix, Amazon Prime or Now TV and only watch on-demand or catch-up programmes, you do not need a TV licence.

There are some instances where this is not the case however, for example you can only watch catch-up shows and cannot watch live content on streaming services.

You are also not allowed to watch BBC programmes on its streaming service; iPlayer, regardless of whether you are watching on a TV or any other device such as a laptop or a phone.

You still need to pay for a licence if you watch TV programming through a digital box, such as Sky, Virgin or BT.

Certain groups are entitled to TV licence discounts such as those who live in care homes, who could get it for free or pay as little as £7.50 if they are part of an Accommodation for Residential Care scheme.

People who are blind and severely sight impaired are also entitled to a discount of 50%.

Until 2020 over-75s got free licences, this only applies to over-75s who are in receipt of pension credit.

You can also have your TV licence fee reduced from £159 to £53.50 if you choose to watch live tv programming in black and white.

Those who do not use TV services may be able to claim a refund if they no longer need their licence despite paying for a year.

On the TV Licensing website it says you can get a refund if: “you won’t need your licence again before it expires, and you have at least one complete month left on it”

But it also warns users to consider whether they will need their licence moving forward.

The page continues: “Please check you won’t need your licence again before it expires.

“That means you won’t ever be watching TV live on any channel or service, or using BBC iPlayer.

“If we approve your refund, your licence will be cancelled automatically.”