|Daniel Futej||Rudolf Sivák|
As part of the so-called e-government process, Slovak authorities have implemented a system of electronic communication which, until recently, was voluntary. However, based on the new rules, the electronic delivery of documents from public authorities will become mandatory.
The obligatory electronic delivery of documents only applies to delivery from public authorities to legal entities with a seat in Slovakia and branches registered in Slovakia, not vice versa. Therefore, legal entities may, in principle, still deliver their documents by regular mail or use electronic communication for delivery of their documents to public authorities. Moreover, the obligation to electronically deliver documents does not apply to natural persons or entrepreneurs. These persons may also voluntarily use e-delivery of documents.
Every legal entity in Slovakia will have an electronic mailbox established automatically. This will be carried out by a government authority, both for already-existing and newly-established entities. There will be one electronic mailbox per legal entity. It cannot be transferred to any other person or disposed of.
The process of establishing electronic mailboxes started on August 1 2016; it will be completed on January 1 2017. An electronic mailbox is activated either on the date of first access to the mailbox or, at the latest, on January 1 2017 when all electronic mailboxes will be activated automatically.
The entity's statutory representative has access to the electronic mailbox (for example, the company executive). They must obtain an identity card with an electronic chip. This includes their electronic signature which will enable them to access the mailbox. If a legal entity has more than one person as a statutory representative, any of them can access the mailbox provided that person disposes with the technical devices mentioned above.
While, in general, this poses no problem for people with citizenship of Slovak Republic, who may obtain an identity card, the situation is slightly more complicated for non-Slovak statutory bodies.
To establish access to electronic mailboxes for foreign statutory representatives, it is necessary to ask the foreign police to issue a residence card with an electronic chip and to activate the same. Because issuing a residence card is a cumbersome process, a foreign executive can authorise a natural person who is a Slovak citizen or a foreigner with a residency card with an electronic chip to be granted access to the electronic mailbox. This is done by submitting a written application. Application is available online at the Central Public Administration Portal. The signature on the application must be verified. If the signature of the foreign statutory representative is verified outside the Slovak Republic, an apostille should be affixed. (An apostille is required in the case of any signatory state of the Apostille Convention – The Hague Convention Abolishing the Requirement of Legalisation for Foreign Public Documents). In the case of non-signatory countries, a super-legalisation is required.
Access to, and regular checking of, the electronic mailbox is crucial. According to the new legislation, in principle, all documents issued by the state/municipal/other authorities will be delivered to the electronic mailbox without any need to deliver the document by regular mail. However, based on latest information, tax authorities will keep on using their own system of e-communication. It remains to be seen which public authorities won't join the new communication system.
If the electronic mailbox has not been accessed by January 1 2017 as previously described or if it will not be checked regularly, this can have significant negative consequences for the company. If the company does not check its electronic mailbox regularly, a decision may be delivered and the period for appeal could pass without the company knowing about the delivery of the decision. The decision will become effective and enforceable against the company. The fact that the company did not check the electronic mailbox cannot be used as an excuse for missing the period for appeal.
Daniel Futej and Rudolf Sivák