Simply receive all mail digitally!

But is digital, not illegal?

Mail scanning services are popular among digital nomads. But do you know the risk you're exposing yourself to with a digital mailbox expose yourself to? Post scan services are much less legally secure than you think. Read here how you can avoid expensive warnings and fines.

Digitization has given birth to a new type of self-employed person, born: the "digital nomad." Equipped with a laptop, a smartphone, and strong business ideas, he sets out to conquer his own world. Digital nomads work wherever they please: in a home office, in a coworking space, on a visit home to their parents, or on a sandy beach.

Despite their mobility, they need a fixed address to receive mail. The only problem is: how are you supposed to receive mail on time if you're constantly on the move? This is where post scan services come into play, which is for low postal addresses for a low cost. Some freelancers also use such an address as the "official" address in the imprint of their website, so that their website so as not reveal their home address. This approach is only too understandable but also dangerous.

What is an "address" anyway?

We asked our associated attorney, Alexander Baron von Engelhardt. Among other things, we lawyers distinguish between the following types of addresses:

  • Seat (for companies) or in German "Sitz der Gesellschaft":
    The place where the articles of association determine the domicile of the company.
  • Business Address:
    The place of business of your trade or freelancer. If you are not a freelancer, you must register as a tradesman, whether as an individual or a company (such as GmbH, UG) your business to the trade office. This is legally mandatory.
  • Postal address:
    An arbitrary address at which the mail is is received. A typical example is a post office box at the post office. These are addresses without indication of a street and house number, but only postal code and city. As a registration address, a pure postal address is only permissible for people without a fixed domicile - i.e., for homeless people and not for digital nomads who have registered ("with the police") in Germany and even less for companies. In such circumstances, no one is allowed to receive mail and will not want it.
  • Summable address:
    A postal address at which you can be served an official subpoena. This requires of course, that someone - you yourself can personally receive the mail, or an authorized person has the authority to receive and accept mail in a legally binding manner. Such an official delivery regularly sets deadlines in motion, disregarding them can quickly become expensive.

A summonable address is mandatory for all entrepreneurs.

Every entrepreneur must disclose a summonable address, under which it can be served legally secure documents. This follows in particular from the following regulations:

  • §14 I GewO
  • §29 HGB
  • §8 para. 4 no. 1 GmbHG
  • §5 para. 1 no. 1 TMG (imprint obligation)

Definitely not as summonable Addresses are purely postal addresses, such as a post office box or an ordinary mail scanning service. Such postal addresses are admittedly permissible as the return addresses of an online store or return addresses for complaints about consignments of goods, but not as an official business address. 

Admonishment Trap: Website Imprint

The imprint is the page of a homepage wherein the official address of the person or company responsible for the contents of the website is listed (§5 TMG). This applies to bloggers, consultants, and other service providers as well as to webshops. The purpose of the imprint: If someone wants to take legal action against the operator of a website, he should be able to can read here, to whom he can turn.

"Not having a summonable address is committing breaking the law.", says Attorney Alexander Baron von Engelhardt, "only with a chargeable Address your enterprise attains legal security.

  • Fine for an administrative offense, according to §5 I TMG, §16 III TMG. Fines up to € 50,000 are possible.
  • Much more frequently, however, it comes to a warning because of a violation of competition under the law against unfair competition. The value of the dispute, determining the legal fees, is usually – in the four-digit range. This means that expenses for lawyers, court fees, etc. quickly skyrocket into the five-digit range.

Solutions for summonable addresses

The Worst Solution - "c/o"

If you have a local good friend or business partner. have, you can provide their address:

[company name]
c/o [your friend's address]

However, this does not look particularly professional and does not create trust with potential business partners.

The perfect solution: virtual office with a summonable address: BeamAddress

Beam specializes in providing legally compliant solutions for internationally active entrepreneurs such as digital nomads, and investors.

Of course, a summonable address is part of our services. Beam calls this solution "BeamAddress." It costs only a fraction of traditional coworking spaces with chargeable addresses. Go to a coworking Work in a coworking space but have your address with Beam. This is especially for founders of new businesses, or start-ups, the cost-saving and quite flexible solution.

This is made possible thanks to the focus on the digital world: While coworking spaces are designed for meetings for managers and teamwork zones, Beam has tailored its infrastructure to digital entrepreneurs.

Like the dot on the "i", we also embellish our scanning services with translations on the fly.

Beam offers a simple mailbox with a scanning service and the addressable business address: the BeamAddress.