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what is the ...
Australian Tourist Refund Scheme?

No matter where you go in the world, shopping tends to be a big part of the travel experience. What you may not know, is that after shopping in Australia, you can receive a full GST (Goods and Services Tax) refund on some purchases, claimable upon leaving the country.

This is known as the Tourist Refund Scheme (TRS) and is open to all temporary visitors and Australian citizens. Issued at any Australian international air or seaport, you can claim this refund on certain goods that you buy and then take out of Australia.

If you intend to utilise the Tourist Refund Scheme’s 10 per cent tax next time you leave the country, just remember that the goods must be worth more than $300 and have been purchased a maximum of 60 days before you leave. 

who is the australian tourist refund scheme for?

The TRS is in place for primarily for international travellers visiting Australia who are taking purchased goods back to their respective countries.
However, Australian citizens also utilise the TRS to claim tax refunds on some of their purchased goods. 

 

 how does the tourist refund scheme work?

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The TRS was originally created to boost tourism and sales by Australian retailers to international travellers heading home.

Operated by the Australian Government Department of Home Affairs, the TRS allows you to claim a refund of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) and/or Wine Equalisation Tax (WET) that you pay on certain purchased good in Australia, within 60 days.

Refunds have totalled more than $1.6 billion since the TRS was introduced in July 2000, with Australians claiming a large percentage of that amount. 

 This page was last updated on: 25 February 2020

when am i eligible for the tourist refund scheme?

you can claim on the tRS when you meet the following eligibility criteria: 
  • You must have spent $300 AUD (incl. GST) and above in one store, although you can combine invoices from the same retailer
  • You must have paid for the goods yourself
  • You need to present an original copy of the tax invoice for the purchased goods. Any invoice over $1,000 will need to list your address
  • The purchase needs to have been made within 60 days of your departure date
  • You must transport the goods as carry-on luggage, unless they are liquids, gels, aerosols or oversized goods, which must be checked in.
  • Australian Border Force officers will need to see all items that you claim under the TRS.
  • You declare the goods and you pay the full refund if you're bringing goods back into Australia.

which items are not eligible for refund under
The tourist refund scheme?

While most goods are eligible for refund under the TRS, there are a few exceptions. These include:

Examples of household flammable goods include: 

  • Gift cards or vouchers
  • Any alcohol or tobacco goods not purchased from duty free (beer, brandy, fortified wines and spirits do not qualify for the Wine Equalisation Tax, or WET. This is a tax that's 29 per cent of the wholesale value of the wine. 
  • Goods that have been already partially or wholly consumed in Australia, such as food and beauty products
  • Dangerous goods that are prohibited on an aircraft or ship due to safety precautions, such as liquids, gas cylinders or fireworks
  • Permanently attached cosmetic implants; hair or breast implants, dental work/implants and hair extensions
  • Any goods that do not come with you on your flight or ship out of Australia
  • Goods that have been purchased overseas and imported into Australia
  • Goods that do not have any GST included such as baby goods, medication, lenses for prescription glasses
  • Anything that wasn’t purchased within 60 days of leaving Australia.

For up to date criteria on which items ar enot allowed under the Tourist Refund Scheme, visit the Australian Border Force's website

can i bring items claimed under the TRS back to australia?

If you’re aged 18 and over, you can bring up to $900 AUD worth of goods claimed under the TRS back into Australia. In the case you’re younger than 18, the maximum value is $450 AUD.

This allowable amount of goods is called a ‘passenger concession.’

If the total value of all your purchased goods exceed your passenger concession, you need to:

  • Declare all goods at the TRS Facility 
  • On goods that you’ve claimed a tax refund, pay that refund back
  • Pay duty and tax that applies to each item.

Penalties may apply if you don't declare goods that exceed your passenger concession. 

how to apply for a full GST refund

You’re able to apply for your full GST refund under the TRS at Australian international airports and Australian international seaports. The following steps will help make the refund process easier:  

Claiming a TRS refund at an international airport
  1. Present all of your goods and relevant tax invoices at the TRS facility, alongside your passport and boarding pass
  2. Nominate whether you’d like your refund processed to a credit card, Australian bank account or receive a cheque.

You must make a TRS claim at least 30 minutes prior to the scheduled departure time for your flight. Keep in mind that the TRS desk is popular - so leave enough time that you can line up for a period of time (90 minutes in some cases) to claim your refund.

Claiming a TRS refund at an international seaport

To claim your full GST refund under TRS at a seaport, you can start the process between one and four hours before your ship is scheduled to depart. You can make a claim at your last Australian port before overseas departure, at terminals in: 

  • Sydney
  • Melbourne
  • Brisbane
  • Cairns
  • Darwin
  • Fremantle
  • Hobart
     
can i bring items claimed under the TRS back to australia?

If you’re aged 18 and over, you can bring up to $900 AUD worth of goods claimed under the TRS back into Australia. In the case you’re younger than 18, the maximum value is $450 AUD.

This allowable amount of goods is called a ‘passenger concession.’

If the total value of all your purchased goods exceed your passenger concession, you need to:

  • Declare all goods at the TRS Facility 
  • On goods that you’ve claimed a tax refund, pay that refund back
  • Pay duty and tax that applies to each item.

Penalties may apply if you don't declare goods that exceed your passenger concession. 

 speed up the process with the TRS Mobile App

Man using phone

 

You can make the TRS process quicker on your phone. Simply download the TRS mobile app for either iOS or Android devices, enter your travel details, information of purchased goods, and where you’d like the refund transferred to.

All of this information will be stored as a QR code, which you can present with your goods and documents to the TRS facility. This will help speed up the refund process, as your information will entered automatically in the system.

 what documents do i need to bring to claim my refund?

To successfully claim your full GST refund, you’ll need:

  • Your original tax invoices for all purcahsed goods 
  • Your passport 
  • Your boarding pass

You must bring these documents regardless of whether you have used the TRS app or not.

how much are you refunded under the TRS?

Under the TRS, you will be refunded: 

  • The total GST (which is the price you've paid, divided by 11), and/or 
  • The total WET (14.5 per cent of the price that you've paid).


Learn more about making a claim under the TRS, and ensure your purchases are covered with the appropriate travel insurance

 

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