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How to set up a data box?

The obligation to own and use a data box will apply to a large part of the Czech population in six months. If you don’t want to wait for the state to set it up for you, go ahead and do it yourself. There are many advantages (and some disadvantages) to using a data box. How to do it?

muž pracuje v kavárně, datová schránka
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What is a data box and how does it work?

If you’re used to using email to communicate, then a data box shouldn’t come as much of a surprise. It is basically the equivalent of email, except that you have to verify the identity of the owner. Therefore, a document sent via a data box can be just as valid as a document submitted in person at the office, if it is submitted in paper form and signed by hand.

You can set up a data box as a natural person (citizen) or as a natural person running a business, and you can also choose both options, which is recommended. Setting up an additional mailbox is free of charge. As a citizen, you can apply for a criminal record extract, for example, while as a business you will file a tax return. Legal entities can also use data boxes, of course, and many of them already do so because the law requires them to do so.

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Tip: We have described who is now subject to the obligation to set up a data box and what will change from 2023 in our article.

What can you do via data mailbox?

Data boxes are intended to make it easier for citizens to communicate with the authorities. With a data box you can, for example:

  • Apply for a new driver’s licence – here, in addition to the data box, you will also use the Citizen Portal. Just log in and add your datacard to it. You will see the My Documents window and if your current licence is about to expire, the portal will automatically offer you the option to “Apply for a new” licence. You can then send your application to the relevant office to collect your licence.
  • File your tax return – you can do this in two ways. You can either download the relevant electronic forms and send them via the dataport after filling them in, or you can log in directly to the Tax Portal using your data box login details.
  • Obtain extracts from registers (e.g. criminal records) – again, use the Citizen’s Portal to do this, select the extract you want to obtain and submit your request. You will receive the extract in your mailbox within a few minutes.
  • Obtain an overview of pension insurance – on the ePortal of the CSSA you can find a request for sending an informative personal pension insurance certificate, which contains an overview of pension insurance periods (employment) or substitute insurance periods stored in the records of the CSSA.
  • Track changes in the cadastre – this service is offered directly by the Cadastre of the CSZK on its website. However, it is necessary to log in to the service via electronic identity.
  • Get notification of the expiry of documents.
  • Request a driver’s points statement – here you can also use the Citizen’s Portal at the same time, where you select the driver’s points statement form and submit the request. You will receive the statement in your inbox within a few minutes.
  • To claim the parental allowance – just find the relevant form on the website of the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs and send it by fax.
  • Submit income and expenditure statements to the health insurance company and the district social security administration.

Advantages of the data box

If you are the type of person who suffers when dealing with offices and waiting at post offices (which is almost all of us), you will experience significant relief after setting up a datacard. What are all the benefits of a data box?

  • Anytime and without queues – if you are a data box owner, you don’t have to deal with office or post office hours. You can make your submission in accordance with your biorhythms at midnight on Saturday. You don’t have to wait for the lonely lady at the counter who misses her company or for the gentleman in the queue behind her to vent all his frustrations. Reciprocally, this also applies. Even if you travel a lot, sleep for days, or are unable to fix the doorbell for a month, the parcel will arrive reliably in your hands.
  • You can save considerably on postage – depending on how often you communicate with authorities and state institutions, of course, but, for example, just sending your tax return in writing via the post office currently costs around CZK 180 (the price of a registered letter is CZK 52 – 67 depending on the weight). If you use a datacard, you can do the same for CZK 5 (you can send it to the tax office and the Social Security Agency for free and to the insurance company as a private entity for CZK 5).
  • You can easily prove the delivery of the document – you don’t have to go anywhere to verify signatures, keep your filing slips, etc. If you actually send the above mentioned tax return printed and by post, you probably keep a copy somewhere, followed by a delivery slip or a text message of delivery. However, the likelihood of some of this getting lost is high. In the case of a data box, you can save sent and received messages and keep track of all official communications in one place. You can then prove at any time exactly what and when you sent to the office or to anyone else, which is not possible with a regular mail slip.

Disadvantages of a data box

Without pretending that everything is rosy and sunny, there are some drawbacks to a data box. What are they?

  • Beware of the fiction – every document you receive is considered delivered after 10 days (even if you haven’t logged in and read the message). This is a statutory fiction of service. If you don’t use your mailbox for work purposes on a regular basis (for example, weekly), be sure to set up notifications for incoming messages via SMS or email.
  • It won’t be free – Payments associated with the operation of a data box are of three kinds. Firstly, you pay CZK 5 for each message sent to a private entity (i.e. insurance companies, banks, businesses, etc.), then there is a charge of CZK 200 for the second and each subsequent password renewal (the first time is free). However, the most expensive thing is storing documents. If you don’t want your message to be deleted after 90 days, you either have to download the message and save it as a pdf (which will lose the time stamp confirming receipt of the message). If you want to have that confirmation later, you can set up a Data Vault service, for which you pay 120 crowns (for 20 messages) depending on the number of messages you save – or a surprising 29,500 crowns for 5,000 messages. This price is significantly higher than any commercial data storage service.

Tip: We have discussed what exactly is meant by delivery by fiction, when it occurs and how it is calculated in our article.

How to set up a data box?

You have three ways to access your data box:

1) In person at Czech POINT

You can usually find individual Czech POINT locations at post offices or municipal offices. If you are setting up a data box as an individual or a legal entity, you must either be registered in the Register of Persons or you must provide a document proving your authorisation to do business. Legal entities that are not on the Register of Persons will need to provide a document evidencing the establishment of the status. It is also necessary for the company’s statutory representative to apply for a data box. Otherwise, they will still have to provide proof of authority to act, or power of attorney.
After the application has been processed, you will take with you the certificate of the establishment of the data box, including the data box identifier. The authority will then send you the confirmation by email or post, whichever you choose.

2) By post

You can download a data box application form on the datoveschranky.info portal, which is run by the Ministry of the Interior, and then fill it in and print it out in a special program. However, you will not be able to avoid a trip to Czech POINT anyway, because you will need an officially certified signature. The signed application should then be sent by post to the address of the Ministry of the Interior. The mailbox should be set up within 3 days and you will receive the login details by post. However, consider whether you would rather set up a mailbox at Czech POINT directly.

3) Online

You can set up a mailbox online via the eIDENTITA.cz portal. You can log in via eObčanky, Mobile eGovernment Key, mojeID or Bank Identity. You will then log in to the mailbox using the same data you used when setting it up. Alternatively, you can request special login details.

Tip: Beware: the moment you set up a data box, the authorities will start communicating with you exclusively through it. It is therefore necessary to check it regularly.

Data box or electronic signature?

People sometimes confuse electronic signature and data box. A secure electronic signature can also confirm your identity. However, you can use your own email to communicate. However, there is a fee for an electronic signature, both for its creation and for each renewal. It is only valid for one year from the date the certificate is provided. After that, you must renew it. There is also no guarantee of sending or reading, and there is no fiction of delivery.

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Author of the article

JUDr. Ondřej Preuss, Ph.D.

Ondřej is the attorney who came up with the idea of providing legal services online. He's been earning his living through legal services for more than 10 years. He especially likes to help clients who may have given up hope in solving their legal issues at work, for example with real estate transfers or copyright licenses.

Education
  • Law, Ph.D, Pf UK in Prague
  • Law, L’université Nancy-II, Nancy
  • Law, Master’s degree (Mgr.), Pf UK in Prague
  • International Territorial Studies (Bc.), FSV UK in Prague

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