It works the same way in France.
We don't have a TV so don't pay one, but my SO had to answer the first letter with "no we don't have one" and a second confirming this with "yeah I'm sure/ honor declaration".
They can and do check sometimes, but the inspector would have to make an appointment, we're behind two doors with a doorcode and no way to reach us from the street, so not really an impromptu visit
I don't know if it's part of their normal how-to or just that one inspector but a friend had a 'neighbor' come to his door with a "Hi, I'm a neighbor and had a question about TV dishes or something".
(A lie as big as a house since everyone in that neighborhood works for X company in X housings).
So yeah, inspector tried to lie his way to an answer (I'm pretty sure he can't lie his way inside the house at least).
Here if you own a tv or a computer (monitor) with a whatsit cable you have to pay it, even if you only use it to watch DVDs because nothing is stopping you or a houseguest to actually watch the tv.