Doing business in Czech Republic, or even simply living here as a foreigner for any other purpose, inevitably brings a fair amount of bureaucracy to deal with. That’s why I see having a data mailbox (datová schránka) as a great relief. It really saves you time and money, and it’s FREE! Whether you are self-employed or not, an EU citizen or Indian (or wherever you happen to come from), you can benefit from having one. A data mailbox allows you to handle your paperwork with the Czech bureaucratic apparatus without leaving your home. You simply log in to the platform and communicate with different institutions via data e-mails.
How does it work?
It works just like a regular email. However, what you send / receive via datová schránka is valid as an official document. Don’t forget, here your identity is verified by the platform. To name just a few examples of the benefits this platform offers, using it you can…
- submit your tax returns (you can also grant your accountant user access and ask them to deal with it)
- deal with social security and health insurance
- request information from land registers
- request an overview of your penalty points from the drivers register etc.
There are many governmental offices that allow you to deal with them via their e-government websites. Many of these offer integration with your data mailbox platform. You can log in, and then interact with their website as a user with a verified identity. Among all of these, there is a central e-gov portal that the Ministry of Interior operates. Log in to your data mailbox, then just visit the portal – now you can handle all the different requests online. Everything in the list above is free of charge. In fact, most of the communication with governmental institutions via data mailbox is absolutely free. For a small fee, you can also exchange documents with other users, e.g. banks, lawyers etc.
Your data mailbox stores all messages for the next 90 days for free. To keep the digital copy of a document for longer, use the Czech Post’s add-on service for a small fee.
Can I get a physical copy of my data mail or an attachment?
You can even get a physical copy of any document sent via data mailbox with its full legal validity. For example, you might need to be able to use the document 90 days after it’s been delivered to you. In such case, you just need to click a couple of buttons in order to send it to CzechPoint. They will convert your dgital file into a physical copy. Then go to any CzechPoint office and show them the bar code you obtained from your data mailbox platform after sending the file for conversion. They will print the file with an official time stamp on it. Such physical copy of the document is then just as valid as its digital version. Find the nearest CzechPoint office in this interactive map. But honestly, it’s safe to say they are in any post office around the country.
What if I’m not doing business in Czech Republic?
You can have a data mailbox as a private citizen (of any country) and use it for your personal errands. Or, as well, as a self-employed private citizen (again, including foreigners) for your business dealings. You can also have both, but not more than 5 different private data mailboxes all together.
If you run your own business as an s.r.o. (Limited Liability Company) you must be familiar with what a data mailbox is, because all Czech LLCs must have one.
What are the downsides of having a datová schránka?
There is just one caveat to it. If you have an active data mailbox, you must use it to submit your taxes. You will need to fill in your tax return forms online and submit your digital papers via Tax office’s e-portal. This is the only government office demanding that you use data mailbox if you have one. Others will accept your communication either way, but they will have to reply via data mailbox.
Don’t forget to set up email notifications so that you get informed whenever a new data mail arrives. Legally data mails are considered delivered 15 days after they land in your data mailbox.
How to start using my datová schránka?
It’s easy. Just take your Passport (ID is fine if you are an EU citizen) and go to the nearest CzechPoint office. Tell them ‘Potřebuji si založit datovou schránku’ and smile. 🙂 The clerk will take care of the rest. Within 30 days you should receive an email with your login details and you can start using your data mailbox. To access it go and log in on www.mojedatovaschranka.cz.
Beware, the system is currently only available in Czech language, just like most of other state run platforms. But it is pretty intuitive! Also, honestly I expect you will have a Czech friend helping you in all of this anyway… Especially, if you don’t have any Czech vocabulary. Don’t be discouraged by the language barrier. Enjoy this modern, and more efficient way of dealing with Czech bureaucracy; whether you are doing business in Czech republic or not.