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UK weekly edition, Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Americans aren’t that wild about willy-nilly taxation, but here in England there seems to be a fee attached to everything. No doubt about it, living in Britain can be taxing. Pun intended.

So whether you’re just arriving here or have been here awhile and are learning the ropes of the British regulatory world, the TV license is a prominent public payment.

The fee is a public tax that goes toward funding the British Broadcasting Corp., that publicly run media monolith that gives you assorted radio shows featuring the likes of Chris Moyles while at the same time offering telly programs such as "Two Pints of Lager and a Packet of Crisps," "Britain’s Youngest Grannies" and "Shopping is my Life." OK, so some of the programming may be a head-scratcher.

A license costs about 140 pounds a year, or $280, for a color TV. The fee is less if you have a black-and-white set. And you need to pay the tax even if you use, for example, a PC, laptop or mobile phone to watch or record TV programs as they’re being shown on television, according totvlicensing.co.uk.

Those who don’t pay can expect a visit from an "enforcement officer," according to the Web site.

"On average about 1,000 evaders are caught daily," the site says.

The moral is: If you want to watch a TV program, you have to pay the price.

Got a question about something you’ve seen or heard around the United Kingdom? E-mail us at: uknews@estripes.osd.mil


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