Property tax database to be used for new €180 levy
THE Government is going to use the new property tax database to ensure that every family in the country pays the new broadcasting charge.
It will replace the €160 television licence and will be issued to every household, even if they do not have a television.
Up to 15pc of households evade the TV licence fee.
The Department of Communications has confirmed that all possible information sources will be used to track down households, including the property tax database, the ESB database of electricity connections and the An Post database of existing TV licence holders.
But the new "public broadcasting household charge will not be introduced until "late 2014" due to the need to build this database with every household address.
At the Dail Public Accounts committee, Department of Communications secretary general Aidan Dunning said it would be crucial to have a proper transition period between the end of the TV licence and the introduction of the new broadcasting charge.
The new broadcasting charge is being introduced because many households are now watching RTE and TG4 programmes on their tablet computers and smartphones and do not need to own a TV.
It is expected that information from the state body which regulates the rental sector – the Private Residential Tenancies Board – will also be used.
The Department of Communications said this was among the range of policy options that would be considered in the future.
Mr Dunning signalled that the 410,000 people currently getting a free TV licence would be exempt from the broadcasting charge.
Fine Gael TD Pascal Donohoe said there were a lot of technical issues to be addressed.
Mr Dunning said the final decision on the cost of the broadcasting charge would be made by the Government.
But he said the "very minimum" required would be the approximately €220m revenue gathered each year from the TV licence.
There are around 1.6 million households in the country, but this number would drop to around 1.2 million if exemptions for those on free TV licences are taken into account.
That would mean a broadcasting charge of around €180 would be required to deliver the current €220m in TV licence fee revenue.