When experienced bricklayer, John,  launched his own business over a decade ago in Western Australia, he didn’t expect that one day he would be struggling under the weight of huge tax debt.

But a series of unfortunate events, including health issues that arose at the same time as the COVID pandemic, eventually took their toll and he found himself at a cross-road: find a solution or declare bankruptcy.


Recognising the situation John was in, his accountant recommended that he speak with Reginald Kuek, Principal of Restructuring and Recovery at RSM in Perth.

As a specialist in personal insolvency and business restructuring and turnaround, Reginald and his team were well-placed to help John understand his options and make an informed decision about what to do next.

Not wanting to go bankrupt, John decided that a personal insolvency agreement was the way to go. A personal insolvency agreement is an official arrangement to pay off your debt in a way you can afford. 

This meant John could continue trading and making a living to repay the debt, without fear that penalties and interest would continue escalating.


Reginald spoke with the Australian Tax Office (ATO) on John’s behalf to negotiate a debt compromise.

In collaboration with John and his accountant, Reginald and his team then developed a formal personal insolvency agreement and proposed it to the ATO. The agreement set out the debt compromise and detailed how John would repay it by making fixed repayments over 24 months.

“We worked closely with John and his accountant to formulate a debt compromise and repayment plan that was fair and acceptable to the ATO.

Having open and early communication with creditors is key when dealing with debt compromises.” Reginald Kuek, RSM.


When the ATO accepted, John was able to put the stress of the past few years behind him and move forward. He even authored a book “The Legend of the Gorilla” which is inspired by his journey.

Manageable monthly contributions make it possible for John to budget and keep on top of current bills and tax payments while paying off his old debt at an amount he can afford.

“It’s like a massive weight off my shoulders and now I can live a bit more freely. It was easy working with Reginald and the team at RSM – they handled it really well. The process wasn’t as stressful as I thought it would be, and it’s nice to be able to move past it.

I would definitely recommend RSM to anyone in a similar situation. All you have to do is speak with them, and you’ll see what they can do for you.” John K.

Struggling with unmanageable debt? 

We are here to help you explore your options, contact the RSM Restructuring and Recovery team or call us today on 1300 263 816.