How to avoid paying for a TV licence

2 min Read Published: 16 Aug 2022

How to avoid paying for a TV licenceIn this article, we take a look at TV licences and answer some of the most common questions our readers have when it comes to who has to pay for a TV licence; when don't you need a TV licence; can you cancel it and how to cancel your TV licence if you work out you don't need it.

How much does a TV licence cost and who has to pay for it?

You need to be covered by a valid TV Licence if you watch or record TV as it's being broadcast. This includes the use of devices such as a computer, laptop, mobile phone, DVD/VHS recorder or tablet.

The TV Licence is, in essence, a tax and currently stands at £159.00 per annum for a colour TV Licence and £53.50 for a black and white licence. However, there are concessions for certain eligible groups such as:

  • the registered blind get a 50% discount
  • people over 75 in receipt of pension credit do not have to pay anything at all
  • people living in a care home or in sheltered housing can pay the discounted rate of £7.50

These groups should ensure that they apply for the discount/exemption they are entitled to.

Do you need a TV licence for Netflix?

Netflix has its own subscription and you don't need a TV licence to watch it but you will need a Netflix subscription which costs between £6.99 and £15.99 per month depending on the package you choose.

Can you cancel your TV licence?

You can cancel your TV licence if you DO NOT:

  • watch or record programmes as they’re being shown on TV on any channel including Sky
  • watch or stream programmes live on an online TV service (such as ITV Hub, All 4, YouTube, Amazon Prime Video, Now TV, Sky Go, etc.)
  • download or watch any BBC programmes on BBC iPlayer.

How do I cancel my TV licence?

You can simply inform  TV licencing that you don't need a licence but be prepared for a visit as they say:

"If you tell us you don’t need a licence, we may confirm this with a visit to your address. This is because when we visit and make contact, we find one in eight people* that tell us they don't need a TV Licence actually do need one. If you are not licensed, you risk prosecution and a fine of up to £1,000** plus any legal costs and/or compensation you may be ordered to pay."

Visit "Telling us you don't need a licence" for the full checklist and then submit your no TV licence needed registration.

How to pay less for your TV licence

But just as important if, for example, a relative is living with you who is over 75, then by registering the TV Licence in their name, rather than your own you could benefit from a free TV licence. Importantly, the relative must live in the same building as you and not an annex or separate building. For full eligibility criteria follow this link to the TV Licensing web page. This is a tax benefit that your relative is entitled to so why should they lose out just because you have the decency to look after them? So make sure that if someone who lives with you is eligible for a discount you claim it! And as one Licence can cover an entire household, everyone who lives there can benefit.

And Students, if you move home or leave your halls of residence and there are at least 3 months left on your TV Licence you can claim a refund.

What can I watch without a TV licence?

  • Netflix
  • Disney+
  • YouTube
  • Amazon Prime
  • On Demand or Catch up TV (except through BBC iPlayer)
  • DVDs and Blurays