bCentral Home
Your Online Business Center

TVs in the office

Don't get caught out, say TV Licensing

With the long-awaited Ashes series finally starting on Thursday, more than a few cricket fans will be bringing a portable TV into work.

But research among businesses which use television equipment has shown that one in five either think that they do not need a licence, or they are not aware of the regulations. These businesses are risking a trip to court and a fine of up to �1,000 if caught.

TV Licensing has a database of over 28 million addresses, which identifies any business or domestic address that is unlicensed, plus a team of Enquiry Officers who pay visits to business premises. It is working with organisations such as the Federation of Small Businesses to help make sure businesses don't run the risk of breaking the law.

The FSB's Stephen Alambritis is urging business owners to check they are correctly licensed, before it's too late. 'It's worth taking the time to make one simple phone call, he said, 'if it means you can avoid ending up in court and being charged with a criminal offence.'

Need a licence?

If your business installs or uses any equipment such as a TV set, a PC with a broadcast card or any other TV equipment to receive or record television programme services, you'll need to be covered by a valid TV licence.

One licence will cover all the TV equipment your business uses on a single site - with the exception of hotels, which have separate licensing requirements.

However, if you sublet any part of your premises to another business, or have an on-site social or welfare club, then it will require its own separate licence. You should also note that the licence does not cover any residential accommodation on-site or within the premises.

Using television equipment to receive or record television programme services without the correct licence is a criminal offence. You could face prosecution and a hefty fine of up to �1,000.

But if your TV set is never used to receive or record television programme services, and is only used for closed-circuit monitoring or watching pre-recorded videos, then you don't need a licence.

Getting a licence

A colour TV licence costs �126.50 and a black and white licence costs �42. These are the same fees charged for domestic users. Businesses at multiple locations can have a Company Group Licence, which covers all your premises on a single licence. Unfortunately, there's no discount for buying in bulk.

If you already have a TV licence, you can expect to receive a renewal reminder with full instructions, at least two weeks before your current licence runs out.

If you need to sort out a licence in a hurry, you can call 0870 241 5590 or visit www.tvlicensing.co.uk and pay by credit or debit card. Businesses can also pay by BACS electronic transfer - call 08705 22 66 66 for more information.

But the most popular way to pay for a TV licence these days is Direct Debit, with more than half of licence payers opting for the method. If you're buying a colour licence, you can minimise the impact on your cashflow by setting up a monthly or quarterly payment.

And don't forget, if you move business premises, you'll need to transfer your licence to your new business address. You can register your new details by calling 0870 242 3349 or visiting the TV Licensing website.

What next?

If you need to check the position of your business, call TV Licensing on 0870 243 0654.

Sign into Microsoft Small Business+ for free web-based training and software support.

sign in
Security information

Find a local Microsoft Small Business Specialist to help with your IT needs

Microsoft Small Business SpecialistMore info >

What do you want your PC to help you with?

What do you want your PC to help you with?

Free business newsletters - subscribe now

Our free newsletters are packed full of business advice and ideas - plus all the latest news

Security information

Get the latest bulletins and updates direct from Microsoft