Data box. What is it for and why is it worth having?
You're sending a letter to the IRS. You don't have an envelope and the post office hours don't suit you. Moreover, you are not sure that the office will actually receive the letter. A data box will solve these problems. In this article we will explain what a data box is and what are its advantages and disadvantages. We will also look at the penalties for not using a data box.
What is a data box
and who can or must use it
A data box is a tool designed for electronic communication with authorities and public administration bodies (for example, the tax office or the labour office) and with other institutions, citizens or companies. Simply put, it works like e-mail. Legal and natural persons can communicate with each other via the data box and all authorities must use it.
For legal entities, the use of a data mailbox is mandatory and it is set up automatically after registration in the Commercial Register. Companies use the data box to submit, for example, tax returns, reports or financial statements and other documents. Each legal entity is entitled to one mailbox.
Individuals, self-employed persons and legal entities not registered in the Commercial Register can apply for a data box voluntarily. A natural person may have two mailboxes - one as a non-entrepreneur and one as an entrepreneur. From 2023, data boxes will be compulsory for all natural persons running a business. This innovation also applies to non-business citizens if they log in somewhere using an NIA ID (i.e. a method of electronic identification of users for state portals).
The data box can be set up in three ways: online, in person at CzechPOINT contact points or by post.
Advantages of a data box
Setting up a datacard will make it easier for you to communicate with authorities, companies and other entities. You can benefit from the following advantages:
- You can handle correspondence at any time. When sending documents through a data box, you are not limited by the opening hours of offices or other institutions, so you can handle the necessary matters anytime and anywhere. You can be sure that your message will arrive quickly and securely. The same applies to the documents you receive, so you don't have to worry about not being able to receive a paper letter while on holiday.
- You can easily prove delivery of the document. Electronic documents have the same legal effect as a paper letter with a round stamp. You can save the message you sent and prove what you sent to the office or anyone else at any time, which a regular mail-in slip does not allow.
- You save on postage. Setting up and using a datacard is free for communication with public authorities. Postal data messages (an electronic form of letters) to private entities such as insurance companies or businesses cost CZK 5. The difference with the price of a registered letter is therefore considerable.
Disadvantages of data mailboxes
However, no system is perfect, and this also applies to data boxes.
- You'll pay extra for repeated password resets. If you forget your login details once, you pay nothing. However, each subsequent password reset will incur a fee of CZK 200.
- You must keep an eye on the contents of your mailbox. Almost every document you receive is considered delivered after 10 days (even if you have not logged in to the mailbox and read the message, this is called a fiction of delivery). You must check your mailbox - we recommend setting up an email or SMS alert.
- Communication outside the government is not free. You do not pay for receiving correspondence, but you can send messages for the aforementioned fee of CZK 5.
- Storing documents for a longer period of time will cost more. All messages are automatically deleted 90 days after delivery. You can download and save the message as a pdf, but you will lose the time stamp that technically confirms receipt of the message and signs the data in the message. If you want to have this confirmation at a later date, you can back up the message to your computer, including the envelope with the electronic signature and time stamp (known as authorised conversion) or set up a Data Vault service - but both methods incur a fee.
Fines associated with the data box
Legal entities that have a data box established by law must deal with the authorities exclusively through it. If the entity submits, for example, a paper tax return or VAT return, it may be penalised. The tax administrator will first call on the company to remedy the situation and may impose a fine of up to CZK 1,000 if the company fails to comply.
However, the obligation to process submissions in this way does not apply to entities that have voluntarily set up a data box, i.e. for example individuals or self-employed persons.
Enjoy the benefits of a data box
without the hassle of managing it
Do you have a data box, but do not keep track of its contents? Get in touch with us. We will check your mailbox regularly and you can be sure that nothing important will be missed. We can manage your mailbox on a long-term basis, or just temporarily, for example during your vacation.