The terms and conditions of a TV Licence are available on this website.
A TV Licence is a legal permission to install or use television receiving equipment to watch or record television programmes as they are being shown on TV or live on an online TV service, or to download or watch BBC programmes on demand, including catch-up TV, on BBC iPlayer. The licence fee is not a payment for BBC services (or any other television service), although licence fee revenue is used to fund the BBC.
The requirement to hold a TV Licence and to pay a fee for it is mandated by law under the Communications Act 2003 (opens in a new window) (“the Act”) and the Communications (Television Licensing) Regulations 2004 (opens in a new window) (as amended) (“the Regulations”). Under the Act, the BBC as the responsible public authority has the power to determine the terms and conditions of a TV Licence including the duration of a TV Licence. As the TV Licence fee is an annual sum, successive licensing authorities have followed the principle that a Licence should run for 12 months.
An initial Licence (i.e. the first TV Licence a person is issued with) may cover a period of slightly less than 12 months. A person needs a TV Licence from the day they first install or use television receiving equipment - which can be on any day of the month - while the Licence expiry date is fixed i.e. Licences are set to expire on one of 12 end-of-month dates.
This means that an initial TV Licence will expire on the anniversary of the last day of the month preceding the month of issue (e.g. a TV Licence issued on 15 August will expire on 31 July the following year). Any renewal of that Licence is given the same expiry date for the following year (i.e. a full 12 months).
This system is more cost-effective than one whereby a Licence can expire on any day of the year. Given the number of TV Licences in issue (more than 25 million), operating a system with 365 expiry dates would be costly both in terms of administration and enforcement – costs which would be borne by the licence fee payer.
A TV Licence is issued in the name of the person paying the fee and covers the use of television receiving equipment at the address/premises specified on the Licence.
The Terms and Conditions of a TV Licence are printed on the Licence. A copy of the Terms and Conditions is available here, and state that: “The licence allows installation and use of TV equipment at the licensed premises by anyone.” So while it is the address/premises that is licensed for using television receiving equipment, the Licence is issued in the name of the person on the Licence.
An “address” is any place which constitutes a “licensable place” for the purposes of the Communications Act 2003 (opens in a new window) and the Communications (Television Licensing) Regulations 2004 (opens in a new window) (as amended). An address or place with only one postal delivery point may be registered as being two or more licensable premises e.g. a house split into several flats, or a flat which includes a lodger.
When purchasing a TV Licence at www.tvlicensing.co.uk you are required to provide a valid email address. We may then email you other messages regarding your TV Licence including reminders that your licence is about to expire. If you would prefer to receive these messages by post rather than email you can change this via one of the methods set out under 'What if I want to change the way I’m receiving my TV Licence' below.
Providing us with an email address means we can more readily contact you via email with important messages about your account such as reminders that your licence is about to expire.
On receipt of payment of the applicable licence fee (or in the case of customers who pay in instalments, the applicable issue fee), your TV Licence will be sent to your nominated email address, which must be valid for you to receive the emails we send you.
TV Licensing will make every effort to ensure you receive your licence and reminder after you choose to receive them electronically. We cannot guarantee that the electronic delivery of your TV Licence, instalment payment plan (if applicable) and your first reminder will be uninterrupted or error free, or that the server that makes them available are virus free. You can log into your TV Licence online at any time to confirm you are correctly licensed and to print a paper copy of your licence and payment plan (if applicable).
It is your responsibility to inform TV Licensing of any changes to your email address. You can change your email address online or by contacting TV Licensing by phone or email.
If you do not inform TV Licensing of any changes and consequently do not receive an email reminder that your next TV Licence is due, you will remain fully responsible and liable to pay the licence fee and to ensure that you are properly licensed and may still be prosecuted if you are found to be using a TV receiver to receive television programmes without a TV Licence.
There are a number of ways you make changes to your account:
You can tell us you no longer wish to receive emails from us. However, if you do so less than a month before your current TV Licence expires the changes may not come into effect in time to receive a renewal reminder by post so you may still receive your reminder by email. This is because it takes up to four weeks to change your preferences from email to postal communications.
It is not a requirement to retain a physical copy of your licence. However, TV Licensing recommends that you access your licence online at www.tvlicensing.co.uk and print off a copy for your records.
Under no circumstances will TV Licensing be liable for any of the following losses or damage (whether such losses were foreseen, foreseeable, known or otherwise):
You can pay for your TV Licence in cash or by debit card at any PayPoint. Currently, there are more than 28,000 PayPoints across the UK. They can be found in newsagents, convenience stores, supermarkets and garages.
For information on the locations and opening hours of PayPoints please check the PayPoint website.
If you have a query about disabled access to a PayPoint please phone TV Licensing on 0300 790 6165*.
A TV Licence is a legal permission to install or use television receiving equipment (TV, computer, laptop, tablet, mobile phone or any other) to watch or record television programmes as they are being shown on TV, regardless of how they are received (terrestrial, satellite, cable, via the internet or any other way).
Unlike utility and other consumer bills, which are usually paid for in arrears, the TV Licence fee is a fixed fee to permit installation or use of television receiving equipment to receive television programme services, and is charged annually in advance.
Therefore in most cases the licence fee is paid in advance by Monthly Direct Debit or under a Cash Payment Plan. However, payment in arrears is possible by Quarterly Direct Debit; this incurs a £5 charge as set out in the Communications (Television Licensing) Regulations 2004 (as amended).
The schemes available for paying the licence fee by instalment are the following:
The Monthly Direct Debit Scheme enables individuals to pay by monthly direct debit for their current TV Licence in six monthly instalments, and in the seventh month start to pay in advance towards their next licence in 12 monthly instalments. They then continue paying for future licences in this way.
This scheme is the same as the Monthly Direct Debit Scheme in that individuals pay for their current TV Licence in payments over six months, and in the seventh month start to pay in advance towards their next licence.
Individuals can pay the licence fee in arrears under the Quarterly Direct Debit Scheme. This payment method comes with a £5 annual charge (or £1.25 per quarter) because the licence fee is paid in arrears. The £5 charge is prescribed by Parliament under the Communications (Television Licensing) Regulations 2004 (as amended). Persons are advised of the charge whenever they choose this payment option, and it is outlined in the payment plan accompanying each new licence.
Individuals can choose to save towards the cost of their next TV Licence using savings cards (previously called Saving Stamps).
Funds from advance payments made under the Monthly Direct Debit Scheme and Cash Payment Plan are surrendered each month to the Consolidated Fund administered by HM Treasury. This money is held in an interest-neutral way.
Unlike utility and other consumer bills, which are usually paid for in arrears, the TV Licence fee is a fixed fee to permit the installation or use of television receiving equipment to receive television programme services, and is charged annually in advance.
Because the licence fee is paid in arrears under the Quarterly Direct Debit Scheme, this payment method comes with a £5 annual charge (£1.25 per quarter). The £5 charge is prescribed by Parliament under the Communications (Television Licensing) Regulations 2004 (as amended). People are advised of the charge whenever they choose this payment option, and it is outlined in the payment plan accompanying each new licence. If people would prefer not to pay this, then there are other payment options, including annual and monthly direct debit.
When TV Licensing becomes aware that an overcharging error has occurred, they will act to rectify the situation and arrange a refund as soon as possible.
*Calls to our 0300 numbers cost no more than a national rate call to an 01 or 02 number, whether from a mobile or landline. If you get inclusive minutes with your mobile, calls to an 0300 number will be included.