Kristin Fisher Eyebrows declares ‘business as usual’ as ATO debt nears $900k

Eyebrow queen Kristin Fisher has declared that everything is “business as usual” despite owing almost $900,000 in debts to the Australian Taxation Office.

The Daily Telegraph exclusively reported earlier this week that the founder of Double Bay small business, Kristin Fisher Eyebrows (KFE), had no choice but to bring in a restructuring specialist to attend to the enormous debt.

Ms Fisher reportedly chalked the debt up to the Covid-19 lockdowns and the collapse of her marriage, which left her as the primary carer for her two children.

Her business, KFE offers services between $40 and $1600, with the cheapest including brow and lash tints, while some of the pricier services include feathering and ombre. The small business was even visited by popster Meghan Trainor, who had her brows and lashes done there in March.

Despite owing $871,736 to the ATO, the Commonwealth Bank and the Workers Compensation National Insurer, Ms Fisher sought to assure her customers that everything was “business as usual”, announcing that the business would build two new treatment rooms – and add in new treatments – to combat demand.

In three candid Instagram posts, the socialite described what the last year has been like for her, recalling when the debt was first brought to her attention in a call that “no small business owner ever wants to receive”. “I was in a state of shock for a solid 24 hours. I didn’t leave my bed,” she wrote.

She continued, saying that she was advised to fold the company, which she said simply wasn’t an option.

“There was no way on this earth was I ever going to do that to this business that I have spent years building, the sacrifices a once young breastfeeding mother of two who literally flogged herself into the ground building it, whilst it was in it early stages of growth,” she wrote.

She added that throughout the lockdowns, her business had “absolutely zero revenue”, and “growing debt from the fit-out and accumulating rent on the premises” despite having “wonderful” landlords at the time.

Ms Fisher also said that the last nine months had been a learning opportunity, adding that she had learned “how to actually be across your financials (instead of living blissfully unaware thinking your ‘advisors’ were looking after it)”.

However, taking ownership for the debt, she admitted that she “dropped a ball” and that she could not pass on the blame.

“I should have been across it all, but like the old saying goes, ‘you can’t work on a business, and in a business at the same time’ – particularly when you have two little people who are your main priority each and every day.

“I am one of the lucky ones. I survived the sh*t show. We’re in the middle of a business restructure,” she wrote, discussing the hardships small business owners have faced in the wake of the pandemic. Thanking her family, friends, staff members and customers, she said that KFE has “never been busier” and was actually in need of more staff.

Ms Fisher emphasised that everything was back to normal.

“Just to reiterate – we are business as usual, will continue to be business as usual and will continue to grow and flourish because that’s what we do,” she wrote.

The post comes after it was revealed in a Daily Telegraph exclusive that Ms Fisher blamed the pandemic for a significant decline in revenue of $927,000.

Restructuring specialist Mervyn Kitay of forensic accountants Worrels added that the “breakdown of her marriage” was another factor Ms Fisher – formerly referred to as Ms Barnes in documentation – mentioned, as she reportedly took a financial hit when she became “the primary carer of her two children”.

The split between Fisher and her former husband, Mr Barnes, was reportedly amicable, and ASIC documents state that Mr Barnes “did not (or) could not provide any financial support for her or the children”.

“It is clear from my review, that the combined effects of Covid (including lock downs) and the matrimonial breakdown, exacerbated by a lack of financial advice, resulted in the business becoming the primary source of funding for both its affairs and that of Ms Barnes personally,” Mr Kitay wrote.

“The effect of this was the start of what may be described as a substantial increase in indebtedness owed by Ms Barnes to the Company. For example, the Company became the source of funding of Ms Barnes’ personal income tax debts.”

Now, as a requirement, a restructuring plan has been submitted to ASIC, under which $216,000 is proposed to be paid this year to stop the business from going under, with remaining debts also required to be paid.

The Daily Telegraph also reported that Ms Fisher’s financial adviser was told she couldn’t borrow anymore money, after taking out a $300,000 loan to improve her business “in order to attract a higher paying clientele”.

Read related topics:SydneyTax Time

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