What is “cégkapu” good for?
Let us start with the basics. “Cégkapu” is an official storage space provided to business organizations, which serves for electronic administration and for keeping contact with official bodies, authorities and service providers and which, in theory, has been in operation since 1 January 2018.
Pointing out only a few opportunities, from next year, business organizations will be able to send and receive official documents to and from and administer affairs electronically with municipalities, public utility service providers, courts, the Hungarian Tax and Customs Authority and public administration bodies through "cégkapu". Administration will be simplified substantially and official documents will be trackable. It is beyond doubt that this is a major step in the direction of electronic administration.
However, the question may arise why “cégkapu” is necessary when the system of “ügyfélkapu” (the government administration portal) has been operating reliably for over 10 years. A reason could be that the launch of “cégkapu” became necessary due to technical development but the real reason is that cégkapu relates directly to business organizations, while “ügyfélkapu” is for private individuals. Accordingly, electronic administration, which is to be extended broadly in the future to business organizations, and communication is expected to become much more efficient and easier to track. This, of course, is a burden in the short run with companies having to familiarize themselves and apply a new process but this was no different at the time of the launch of “ügyfélkapu” either, which by now has become a daily routine task.
Which companies have to use “cégkapu”?
Under business organizations we do not only mean companies but also the over 20 types of organizations specified in the Act on Civil Procedure. To point out just a few, associations, cooperatives, law firms, notary public offices, foundations, societies and the branch offices of foreign companies all fall in this category.
Private entrepreneurs are still eligible for electronic contact with the “ügyfélkapu” service, and therefore the registration obligation does not affect them.
In theory, from 1 January 2018, legal regulations oblige these business organizations to electronic administration through cégkapu, they therefore have to register with cégkapu until 30 August but until 31 December 2017 at the latest. The scope of affairs which can be administered electronically and the number of the relating online forms will be extended continuously. If a company does not register until the end of August 2017, no sanction has to be expected for now.
The first step for business organizations to fulfil their statutory obligation of announcing their electronic contact data prescribed in the Act on Electronic Administration is precisely by registering at cégkapu. The announcement is made by registering and for now, there is nothing more to do.
What should you pay attention to when registering at “cégkapu”?
Many information materials say that only members of the business organization authorized to represent it can register who has access to “ügyfélkapu”, the portal for the electronic administration of private individuals or who has an electronic personal identification certificate. If the organization does not have such a representative, personal registration to “ügyfélkapu” at a scheduled appointment is necessary at one of the offices of government issued documents or a government customer service centres.
However, telephone information from Nemzeti Infokommunikációs Zrt. (National Info-communication Company) confirmed that if an authorization in this regard is available, a person having an "ügyfélkapu" registration and documents certifying that he/she is included in the registered data of the organization – i.e. the company’s accountant or tax advisor – can carry out the company’s "cégkapu" registration for the organization!
It must be noted, however, that in this case documents certifying the right of representation and the documents certifying the listing of the organization in the authority register have to be filed also and a declaration under the registering person’s criminal liability has to be made stating that the documents filed are true. This is an option for solving the absence of a Hungarian" ügyfélkapu" registration in the case of foreign company representatives.
The menu of the system is currently only available in Hungarian, which also makes registration difficult for foreign individuals. Hopefully this will change in the future also but we do not have any information in this regard at the moment.
Tasks in “cégkapu” administration are allocated as follows:
There are different roles within “cégkapu”, which should already be considered at the time of registration!
- There is the company representative, who carries out the registration (a person authorized to represent the organization, whose role ends with this task).
- One person has to be selected, who will manage the cégkapu account itself and will be given the relating rights. This person is the designated cégkapu officer – this will be the most important operative role.
- In addition, the organization has to name the persons who will be able to send and receive documents in the future as cégkapu administrators (this is, of course, only relevant for larger companies in the case of which cégkapu administration will concern a number of different units).
At the time of registration, the designated cégkapu officer has to be specified therefore, companies should consider the person assigned for this purpose carefully having regard to the nature of this rule.
Finally, it is important that at the time of starting the registration process the company should have an email address in place which can be used in the future for cégkapu administration and for the receiving notices making sure that the information emails sent to this address are checked continuously. During the registration process, an email address has to be provided for contact. This is basically nothing new relative to the current company registration process with the court of registration (if compared to current practices) as providing a company email address is also compulsory in this case.
Open issues in relation to "cégkapu"
The announcement obligation is fulfilled with the registration but “cégkapu” itself is not yet in operation. Organizations cannot yet log in, you should therefore not expect to get your cégkapu user name and password. By registering at “cégkapu”, you only fulfil your statutory obligation of registering.
“Cégkapu” will be a new arena of electronic administration between business organizations and various official bodies with the tax authority most likely to predominate in this regard as the Hungarian Tax and Customs Authority already has the most extended electronic contact with clients.
As an example, it can be expected that in the future tax returns and electronic communications will not be submitted to the Hungarian Tax and Customs Authority in the organization’s name through the ügyfélkapu of a private person but through the cégkapu portal. Similarly, documents from the tax authority will not be sent to the email address of a private person but to the cégkapu email address of the company or, in the case of an accounting firm having permanent authorization, to the cégkapu email address of the accounting firm. Later on, other areas of public administration will also join this platform in various company affairs.