Datová Schránka - Data Box
A new electronic way the Czech authorities will communicate to youSince summer 2009 a new electronic messaging system called datová schránka "data boxes" is in use by all czech governement bodies (such as the tax office, trade license register, commercial court, social office etc). This electronic system should replace the paper correspondence by registered letter (eventually).
Who is obligated to have a datová schránka?
- any legal entitly registered at commercial court (so every s.r.o, a.s. or foreign company) *
It is possible to register volutarily for a datová schránka, even as private person or živnostenský list owner that doesn't fall in the above mentioned category. In theory then you will not have to pick up registered letters anymore, but it has to be said that many people forget about having a databox and never look in it, thus not receiving any correspondence anymore.
Now, in Q4 of 2012, it looks as if most government bodies returned to sending registered letters again.
Datová Schránka is a web-based systemThe datova schranka is a we-based system which uses an online portal with 2 internet addresses:
- www.datoveschranky.info - general information site in Czech ONLY
- www.mojedatovaschranka.cz - here you log in to your databox.
This system is not an email system. It is a stand-alone secure, encrypted environment, which is much more secure than email, where the user has to log in in order to read messages sent to him into his "data box".
This system is designed to eventually eliminate all mail / paper document streams from / to the authorities. This is at least the theory. Although since Fall 2009 the system should be 'on sharp' as the billboards promise us, in good old czech tradition, hardly any government body has been prepared for this new and completely different system and therefore still use the registered letter.
Practise so far has shown that despite a person having a databox the social office and health insurance keep sending registered letters to (possibly the wrong / old) mail address, so that is already proof that the system doesn't work, because one would expect messages in his dedicated databox, but instead paper letters are sent.
Also, since social security and health insurance already for years use their own independent systems for sending data from the user to them (using a guláš of XML Filler, Form Studio, editable pdfs and sometimes even plain Word and XLS sheets) for the next forseable future it most likely will remain an idea nice in theory, but hardly usable. This however, fits seamlessly into the czech 'formality is more important than the result'.
90-day message validity, set up notification by email or sms!In all of their wisdom, the czech government decided that a message will automatically be flushed after a set number of days after it entered your box, so if you do not check your davoá schánka regularly, after a couple of months you will be completely unaware that anything was ever sent to you.
Therefore it is wise to enable notification that something arrived in your box.
A notification by email is free of charge, but sms notification costs 3 CZK per sms.
Registering your databox for the first time - you have received a letter automaticallyOwners of new s.r.o's and a.s'es will received a registered letter to their business address (sídlo) that urges them to go to the postoffice to pick up their username and password. With this it is possible to log on for the first time and it is highly recommended to change the password into something that doesn't look like your cat walked over your keyboard. Your databox will be most likely empty. Not even a welcome message 'to get the look and feel' is there.
Registering for a datová schránka - you didn't received a letter automaticallyThere are several scenarios in which people didn't receive a letter with a username and password:
- anybody doing business with an invalid sídlo, or no access to their formed business address
- businesses that are obligated to have a datová schránka since January 2010
- anyone that didn't go to the postoffice to pick up the letter within 30 days
Companies newly registered at commercial court should receive the letter automatically
There are 3 ways to recuperate from this situation, of which the first two ridiculous (they are needlessly complicated, time-consuming and Kafka-esque, but officially supported by the Datové Schranky provider):
- downloading the 17 Mb big XML-Filler, filling in an electronic request form and oh shoot, an electronic signature that needs to be applied for separately using a paper letter or at Czechpoint, *waiting*, receiving a registered letter with your electronic signature, so you can send your original XML Filler form "online", followed by *waiting* for the returning registered letter with the username / password
- downloading a pdf, filling it in, having it signature-verified by a notary or Czechpoint, and then sending this in a registered letter to the ministry and *waiting* for the returning registered letter with the username / password
- Going straight to Czechpoint to request your datová schránka, getting the username / password within hours as an email.
Let's take the third option, shall we? Print out your vypis z obchodního rejstríku or vypis z živnostenského rejstríku from the Internet (it doesn't have to be the original paper, a print-out is good enough), get your passport and head to CzechPoint (at most big postoffices).
There they are able to create / re-issue the username and password for you. Be so clever to ask for an email instead of a registered letter, then you will have your username / password in a matter of hours. If you do not specify an email address or different correspondence address, once again the codes will be sent to your (old) sídlo.
Also, when applying, it is possible to correct names, addresses or any other mistakes in the data on the spot * - Czechpoint corrects it and prints out a paper with latest data for you.
Amazingly, this service is free of charge, unless you forget your password twice, the second time around it costs 200 CZK **.
If you want to correct mistakes later through the Datové Schránky portal, the good old XML Filler (17 Mb of user-interface hell in Czech) will automatically install on your PC just to change one typo in your basic correspondence address. So much for the secure environment.
Note that the second time around there is a chance that you cannot log in right away, but first must enter a 5-digit code which you must select from a 12-digit code according to instructions in Czech.
Obligated monthly reporting for EU transactionsAs per 2010, any VAT-registered business that sends invoices to VAT-registered EU customers are obligated to report monthly / quarterly with an electronic document in a special format. This report can be sent using the datová schránka or with special software + an electronic signature.
This has big consequences for consultants who perform their work here in Czech Republic but send an invoice to a company based in another EU country. Their accounting has because of this rule has become more complex and will need monthly / quarterly attention instead of just yearly accounting for a tax return. See also
Getting official documents in your databoxIf you get a notification (by email or sms) log on as soon as possible, before the document disappears.
It is highly recommended to save AND print the message so you have a backup of the document.
The moment you 'collect' the document a notification to the sender will be sent, which is also a legal proof you have read the text. So logging on and not reading properly will not excuse you lateron.
Since most likely it will be a text full of legal wordings, have a czech person read it and explain it to you. (or contact us)
Sending documents with your databoxAfter logging in on www.mojedatovaschranka.cz it is possible to send messages to by uploading documents from your computer. There are no restrictions to the document format as far as we can tell. In order to identify a receiver uniquely, at least 3 things must be known: datová schránka ID, ICO and business name.
There is a built-in search function to get this information needed for sending. Unfortunately, many official authorities (including the financial offices) cannot be found easily using search engine. Searches for business / individuals based on ICO do return proper results, but in those most users will hardly be interested (since so few actually use their databox!)
If the slightest mistake is made in the name of the receiver, the message will never get to him, so double-check all diacritics carefully!
Secure communication between usersThe datové schranky system also allows communication between end-users, as long as the receiver also has a databox. So, in theory, it is possible to use your datová schránka as an instant electronic registered letter system. It is not only free of charge, but you also can save yourself a trip to the postoffice.
Note hoewever, that if the other person does not read his databox, or has no access to it, he will not be aware of what you have sent him. Also the jury is still out on the fact if this stands in court, so it might be wise to send a registered letter anyway as backup for important matters.
Alexio Datová Schránka servicesAlexio can apply for and set up your Datová Schránka. The one-off cost of this is 1500 CZK.
Alexio.cz can watch the Datová Schránka for you. This means that we receive the notification and we will read the messages which will be in Czech and inform what actions should be taken. We charge 2500 CZK annually.