Business in postal services

Act No 221/2012, amending Act No 29/2000, on postal services and amending certain acts (the Postal Services Act), as amended, and certain other acts, entered into force on 1 January 2013. (available in the Czech Collection of Laws only in Czech language).

The Postal Services Act lays down the obligations of the operators providing postal services or providing foreign postal services. Detailed information is provided in the Postal Services Act. Given below for easier orientation in these issues is a brief overview of the main obligations.

1. Business activities in the postal services area

Business activities are systematic activities carried out separately by an undertaking in its own name and on its own responsibility for the purpose of generating profit. Business in the postal services area includes the provision of postal services and provision of foreign postal services.

According to Section 2(1)(a) of the Postal Services Act, postal service is an activity which usually comprises deposition, sorting and transport of postal items through the postal network. The purpose of postal services is to deliver the postal items to the recipient. Postal delivery of cash is also considered as postal service.

According to Section 2(2) of the Postal Services Act, postal service is not the transport of postal items by any party that was not involved in the deposition, sorting or delivery of such items. A service similar to postal services carried out by the sender or by a party connected with the sender is also not a postal service.

According to Section 2(1)(j) of the Postal Services Act, foreign postal service is a service where provision was agreed outside the Czech Republic and where the purpose is to deliver postal items or amounts of cash in the Czech Republic, and which belongs to the area of postal services in the phase provided by the operator in the territory of the Czech Republic.

In case of any doubt as to whether or not an undertaking operates postal services, it is possible to contact the Czech Telecommunication Office – Department of Communications and Postal Services Regulation, using the Contacts.

2. Business notification and registration of the operators providing postal services or foreign postal services

According to Section 18 of the Postal Services Act, operators providing postal services or providing foreign postal services shall notify their business in the postal services in writing to the Czech Telecommunication Office (CTU). To do so, they have to deliver a properly and fully completed business notification form, including all attachments, and have to meet the conditions described in detail in Section 17 of the Postal Services Act.

For the notification of business you shall use a form template, details of which are specified in the Decree No. 434/2012 Coll., establishing the form template of notification of business in the area of postal services. The completed form can be delivered to CTU in person to the registered seat of CTU, or by post, or electronically to CTU’s data mailbox, or by e-mail with an authorised electronic signature. All contact information for communication with CTU is available at CTU’s website.

The mandatory attachments to the notification include:

  1. basic data of the natural person necessary for CTU to request the person’s extract from the Criminal Registry in accordance with Section 17(5) of the Postal Services Act. This information has to be provided (filled in) by the notifying party (the authorised person). On the basis of the data referred to above, CTU will request the Criminal Registry to issue an extract for verifying the person’s integrity on the basis of Act No 269/1994. Individuals who are not citizens of the Czech Republic have to prove their integrity by submission of an extract issued in a foreign country, or by submission of a document to a similar effect issued by a relevant authority of the state whose citizen the person is as well as the state where the person has stayed continuously for at least 6 months during the last three years; where such documents are not issued by the state concerned, the person’s integrity has to be proved by a statement of integrity before the relevant authority of such a state. These documents and statements must not be older than three months. In the case of a legal entity, the integrity requirement has to be met by all members of the governing body. These members should prove their integrity as individuals (natural persons),
  2. certificate issued by a relevant tax authority proving that the notifying person has no arrears with the Czech tax authorities and Czech customs authorities, except any outstanding amount with permitted payment deferment or division of the payment into instalments,
  3. document proving that a legal entity was established or constituted, if the entity has not yet been incorporated (entered on the Public Register), or document proving that the legal entity is registered in a relevant register other than the Public Register, if it is already incorporated. For a foreign legal entity: a certificate of incorporation (extract from the Public Register or a similar register maintained in the state where the entity has its registered office), and a document proving that an undertaking is being operated outside the Czech Republic; a document on the operation of an undertaking outside the Czech Republic is not required from a legal entity having its registered office, administration centre or place of business in a Member State of the European Union; no such certificate may be older than three months,
  4. document proving permanent residency of a foreign natural person, if permanent residency has been granted to such a person. For a foreign natural person establishing in the Czech Republic an organisational unit of a business: a document proving that such a person has a business outside the Czech Republic and a document on its operation. A document on the operation of a business outside the Czech Republic is not required from a natural person who is a citizen of a Member State of the European Union,
  5. document on the payment of an administrative fee.

Documents that are attachments to the notification sent to CTU must be originals or certified copies. In case the notifier received the documents in electronic form and send them to CTU in the same manner, it is required the document must contain original electronic signature of the entity that issued this document. If the document is converted from electronic into paper form, or on the contrary, it must be provided with a verification clause according to Section 22 (1) of the Act No. 300/2008 Coll., on electronic transactions and automatic conversion of documents. The Czech POINT is entitled to perform this conversion or provided the document with verification clause.

According to Section 18(1) of the Postal Services Act, the authorisation to carry on a business commences as at the date of delivery of a written notification of business activities, which has to meet the detailed requirements laid down in Section 18(2) and (3) of the Postal Services Act.

Based on a proper notification of business activities, CTU issues a certificate to prove that the operator has complied with its notification duty and is therefore entitled to do business in the area of postal services.

It is laid down in Section 36a(1)(b) of the Postal Services Act that CTU shall maintain a list of operators. CTU also grants a postal licence to an appointed provider with the obligation to provide and ensure the universal services. CTU also makes public the list of postal service operators at its web site.

According to Section 18(4) to (6) of the Postal Services Act, the undertakings that have properly notified their business in the postal service area have to notify any changes in providing or ensuring postal services and, as the case may be, any suspension, resumption or termination of business activities. All these changes should be notified in a similar way to the notification of business, using the above-mentioned form.

3. Administrative fees

An administrative fee of CZK 1,000 is charged for the issuance of a certificate of business notification. This administrative fee is charged in accordance with Act No 634/2004 on administrative fees, as amended (Annex – Scale of Fees, Part VIII, item 113(a).

An administrative fee of CZK 500 is charged to a natural person as well as a legal entity to which CTU issued a certificate of notification of a change in the notified information. This administrative fee is collected in accordance with Act No 634/2004 on administrative fees, as amended (Annex – Scale of Fees, Part VIII, item 113(b).

The administrative fee has to be paid by the natural person or legal entity to the receipt account of Department of Communications and Postal Services Regulation of the Czech Telecommunication Office. Any contact details necessary for the payment of the administrative fee will be notified to the undertaking by the relevant department of CTU (see the Contacts) after it receives the notification of business or notification of a change in previously notified business from the notifier.

The reimbursement of the administrative fee is possible also in form of stamps added to the notification form. The stamp may be placed anywhere at the notification form but must not overlap the text.  

More information and the scale of administrative fees are available here.

4. Rights and obligations of postal services operators

Information obligation of the postal service operator

CTU has to ensure that statistical data on the postal service market are collected and made public. Postal service operators have to cooperate with CTU in these matters. The providers’ information obligation is laid down in Section 32a of the Postal Services Act. The postal service operator will obtain a written request to provide information to CTU together with the certificate of notification of postal service provision.

A web application for electronic data collection was developed for easier communication with CTU. This application is available via the following link: https://monitoringtrhu.ctu.cz/. Access to this application is allowed only for registered users (postal service operators) and is activated after sending an application for enabling access to the application.

In the request for information, CTU always has to indicate the purpose for which the data or information is required. The volume of information requested must not be larger than necessary for the purpose for which it is required. Operators also have to provide protected information, data or evidence, such as personal data or information subject to trade secret. CTU has to protect the obtained information against abuse by any third party.

Net costs, revenue and income records

It is laid down in the Postal Services Act that CTU has to provide – through an appointed postal service operator – a minimum range of universal services, which are available at a reasonable price in the entire territory of the Czech Republic. This range of services, referred to as the postal obligation, is described in Section 21(1) of the Postal Services Act. The postal obligation is imposed on the postal licence holder. 

Net costs may arise while discharging the postal obligation, and therefore the Postal Services Act lays down a mechanism that protects the postal licence holder against unfair burden.

The method to determine and finance net costs is described in Sections 34b and 34c of the Postal Services Act.

In case net costs are generated from the provision of universal services and these net costs represent an unfair burden for the postal licence holder (the ‘unfair burden’ criterion is described in Section 34c of the Postal Services Act), the postal licence holder should be entitled to adequate reimbursement. The method by which CTU calculates net costs is set out in the Decree No. 466/2012 Coll., on the method of the Czech Telecommunication Office in calculating the net costs of fulfilling the obligation to provide universal services.

To be able to determine the amounts of the contribution in a fair manner, CTU needs to know the amounts of revenue and income generated by each provider from providing or ensuring postal services. For this reason, providers are obliged to maintain records of the revenue and income from postal activities. The CTU´s procedure for calculating net costs is regulated by Decree No. 466/2012 Coll., on the CTU´s procedure for calculating net costs of fulfilling the obligation to provide basic services.

Obligations of the postal licence holder

Within its business activities, the postal licence holder has specific obligations, related in particular to the provision of universal services.

The services considered as universal services and the method of how they should be provided are specified in the Decree No. 464/2012 Coll., on specification of individual basic services and basic quality requirements for their provision. This Decree contains the technical specification of individual universal services, the accessibility of Post Offices and post boxes and the exceptional cases in which the postal licence holder does not have to make an attempt to deliver mail to the place indicated in the postal address, and other requirements for the quality of the universal services.

The above Decree also specifies which information, and how, the postal licence holder has to provide upon request at the Post Office or which information is to be made public by posting it up at the Post Office or at the web site.

To be able to verify the evidence and determine the net costs arising from the provision of universal services, and to examine the cost-orientation of prices, the postal licence holder has to maintain separate records of costs and revenue. The meaning of this term and the method of maintaining such records are specified in Section 33a of the Postal Service Act and the regulation based on it – the Decree No. 465/2012 Coll., on the method of keeping separate records of costs and revenues of the postal licence holder.

Many recipients do not use the standard delivery of postal items to their place of residence or registered office. Instead, their postal services are delivered, for example, to incoming mail boxes or P.O. boxes. According to Section 34 of the Postal Services Act, the postal licence holder is obliged to provide other providers with access to elements of the postal infrastructure, such as the P.O. boxes in a transparent and non-discriminatory manner based on a written agreement.

The postal licence holder is obliged, on an annual basis in accordance with Section 33(4)(e) of the Postal Services Act, to publish information about the results of providing or ensuring the universal services. The form and content of the information published are specified in the Decree No. 433/2012 Coll., on the determination of the content, form and manner of publication of information on results and ensuring the provision of universal services and performance evaluation of quality parameters.

5. Conclusion

The above list of the obligations of postal service operators gives a brief overview of the obligations of the opeators providing postal services or foreign postal services. If you have any inquiries concerning the conditions for the provision of postal services, please contact the Czech Telecommunication Office’s Department of Communications and Postal Services Regulation (see the Contacts).

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