Created: Jul 05, 2021 7:55 AM
Debt collectors will benefit from a break in reporting their accounts for 2020 due to the disruption caused by the Covid-19 pandemic last year, the House of Assembly said.
But the Debt Collection Amendment Act 2021, despite the use of the word ‘exempt’, will not mean that collectors approved in 2020 will never have to file last year’s audited financial statements with the Debt Collection Authority.
Home Secretary Walter Roban has assured MPs that auditors will still be examining debt collectors‘ books for 2020 “in any event” when returns are filed this year.
It was responding to concerns reported by Scott Pearman of the One Bermuda Alliance, who said the legislation appeared to waive the requirement for collectors to report last year.
Mr Roban said the law, which was approved last night in the House, took into account that shelter-in-place restrictions imposed on Covid-19 last year meant new licenses for debt collectors were not issued until the third and fourth quarters of 2020.
The minister added that collectors approved last year would simply have “more time” to put their books in order.
The legislation also grants the Minister the discretion to extend the date of submission by collectors of annual audited financial statements to the Debt Collection Authority for a period not exceeding six months.