Tourist Refund Scheme – How does it work?
Get up to 10% cashback instantly on your purchases when you fly out of Australia with the Tourist Refund Scheme (TRS).
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Did you know that you can get a full GST refund on everything from laptops and smartphones to jewellery and wine that you have purchased during your trip to Australia?
The Tourist Refund Scheme (TRS) is open to temporary visitors and Australian residents. It is issued at Australian international airports and seaports.
Follow this guide to understand how the refund works to maximise your returns and avoid delays at customs.
What is the tourist refund scheme?
The Tourist Refund Scheme allows travellers to claim a refund of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) and Wine Equalisation Tax (WET) for certain goods that you buy and then take out of Australia.
What rules are there for claiming the tourist refund?
To be eligible for the tourist refund, you must:
- Spend $300 or more (including GST) at any single business with an ABN. You may also combine invoices from the same retailer.
- Have paid for the goods yourself.
- Have purchased the goods within 60 days of departure
- Have the original tax invoice for the goods. This must be in English with a description of the goods, date, name of retailer and purchase cost on it. Do be aware that any tax invoice exceeding $1,000 will need to include your name as it appears on your passport.
- Wear or carry the goods as carry-on baggage (unless they are liquids, gels, aerosols or oversized bulky goods that must be checked in).
What items are ineligible for a GST refund under the tourist refund scheme?
Most purchases are eligible for a GST refund, with the exception of the following:
- Alcohol and tobacco products
- Goods that do not have GST included
- Gift cards or vouchers
- Services (e.g. accommodation, vehicle hire, food, tours and etc)
- Goods that do not accompany you on your flight or ship out of Australia
- Goods that have been used in part or in full in Australia (e.g. food, perfume etc.). Electronics and clothing are the exempted.
What is the tourist refund application process?
- Check the location of the TRS facility at the airport where you will depart from Australia.
- Present your goods, original tax invoice, passport and boarding pass to an officer at the TRS counter.
- You can choose to get your refund to a credit card or Australian bank account. Alternatively, you can request a cheque.
Claims are only available up to 30 minutes prior to the scheduled departure of your flight or 1-4 hours before your sailing. As there can be a queue for this service, consider making the TRS refund office your first stop.
Claims can be made between one and four hours before your ship’s scheduled departure time. Claims can only be made at the last Australian port before departure for overseas. TRS facilities are available at Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne, Cairns, Darwin, Fremantle and Hobart terminals.
Fast track with the TRS app
You can save time by downloading the TRS mobile app and then enter your travel details, details of the goods and your preferred refund method. The information will be stored in a QR code. Present this code along with your purchased goods and supporting documents at the TRS facility.
Download the tourist refund scheme app
What documents do I need to supply to claim my refund?
You will need to bring the following documents along with your goods to the TRS facility:
- Original tax invoices
- Boarding pass
Where is the TRS desk in Sydney airport?
The TRS office at the Sydney airport is located on the Departures Level just after Customs within the main Heinemann Tax & Duty Free store.
Is there a limit to how much I can get refunded?
You will be refunded:
- The total GST (price you paid divided by 11), and/or
- The total WET (14.5% of the price you paid for the wine)
How do I claim the tourist refund scheme on an engagement ring?
Engagement rings that meet the eligibility requirements above are eligible for a tourist refund.
If you have previously claimed a tax refund on the ring and are returning to Australia with it, you must declare the item on Question 3 of your Incoming Passenger Card. You'll need to repay the GST refund if you ring is valued over $900.
What happens if I return to Australia with an item that I claimed the tourist refund on?
For travellers aged 18 years and over, you can bring up to $900 worth of general goods (including gifts, souvenirs, cameras, electronic equipment, leather goods, perfume, jewellery, watches and sporting equipment) into Australia. If you are younger than 18 years, the maximum value is $450. This is called a passenger concession.
If the total value of your goods exceeds your passenger concession, you must:
- Declare all these goods
- For goods that you have previously claimed a tax refund, you will need to pay the refund back
- Pay the duty and tax that is applicable to all items of this type
Penalties apply if you do not declare any goods that exceed your passenger concession.
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