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Fake tax agent slapped with 30-month sentence


A man posing to be a tax agent will now serve a two-and-a-half-year Intensive Corrections Order after pleading guilty to stealing close to $110,000 in agent fees and refunds.

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Appearing in Mount Druitt Local Court today, Benjamin Cox received a 30-month prison sentence to be served in the community by way of an Intensive Corrections Order.

Mr Cox had earlier pleaded guilty to dishonestly obtaining financial advantage by deception, and dealing with identity information to commit indictable offence.

The 33-year-old pretended to be a tax agent to more than 1,000 people, charging $100 for his services and using their myGov log-in details to submit income tax returns on their behalf. He also stole $12,866.62 worth of refunds by having them directed to his personal account.


He received a total of $109,800 from 1,098 individual victims.

Mr Cox has since been ordered to pay over $13,000 in compensation to the ATO and his victims, and has had $22,000 worth of his assets seized.

Detectives from Mount Druitt Police Area Command, assisted by the ATO, had arrested Mr Cox at his home in July following reports that he was targeting travelling workers in the Sydney metropolitan area.

He advertised his services through Facebook and Gumtree, targeting vulnerable people in the community who were unfamiliar with the Australian tax system.

Assistant commissioner Adam Kendrick welcomed the sentence handed down today, saying that Mr Cox’s actions risked damaging the integrity of the tax system and the tax profession.

“Not only was Mr Cox pretending to be a tax agent and providing services without a registration, he was stealing from his clients,” Mr Kendrick said.

“These unregistered preparers pose a threat to vulnerable taxpayers and risk the reputation of registered tax agents.

“They pretend to offer legitimate services to the community, but in reality, they pose a serious threat not only to the people that use them, but to the broader community and the tax system as a whole.”

Mr Kendrick said unregistered preparers often promise refunds that are too good to be true or provide discounted services much cheaper than legitimate registered tax agents.

Unregistered preparers would often ask for a taxpayer’s myGov log-in details, a tell-tale sign that they were not legitimate, Mr Kendrick said.

“Your tax agent has access to your personal identifying information like your Tax File Number. Giving information like this to an untrustworthy person can end badly, as shown in this case. You can protect yourself by checking that your tax agent is registered and never sharing your myGov log-in details and password with anyone, including your tax agent,” Mr Kendrick said.

“We have a shared interest with registered agents, the TPB and tax professional associations to protect the community and the integrity of Australia’s tax and super systems.”

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Jotham Lian

Jotham Lian


Jotham Lian is the editor of Accountants Daily, the leading source of breaking news, analysis and insight for Australian accounting professionals.

Before joining the team in 2017, Jotham wrote for a range of national mastheads including the Sydney Morning Herald, and Channel NewsAsia.

You can email Jotham at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

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