Computer owners ‘have to pay TV tax’

Computer owners in Sweden could soon be forced to cough up nearly 2,000 kronor per year due to a change in the TV tax law – even if you can’t or don’t want to watch SVT.

Parliament voted on June 1 to touch up the TV licence fee law by making it a requirement to pay the fee regardless of how TV is watched. The law is vague, leaving it to the courts to sort out the details, reports Sydsvenskan.

The new law says those who have an apparatus able to receive TV programs are required to pay the tax, even if the machine can be used for other purposes.

Radiotjänst, the agency that manages the TV licence fee collections doesn’t know how the new rules will work. The problem is defining what exactly constitutes a TV program.

“It will be Radiotjänst in Kiruna and then the courts who will decide if a computer is defined as a TV receiver, said Filippa Arvas-Olsson, spokeswoman at the Education and Culture department, who helped write the proposition.

She said the law was not aimed at small channels that are designed for Internet broadcasting, but large channels like Channel 5.

“But I agree, it could be a problem if many channels are broadcast on the Internet but not (the government funded) SVT,” Arvas-Olsson said.

Currently, a person who owns a TV must pay 1,968 kronor in television tax, nearly 5 kronor per day.