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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).

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 and is issued at any Australian international airport or seaport.

Follow this simple 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. These items can be taken with you in your carry-on or checked luggage, depending on what you purchase.


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
  • Goods have to be bought within 60 days of departure

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. You may also combine invoices from the same retailer.
  • Have paid for the goods yourself.
  • Have the original tax invoice for the goods. Do be aware that any tax invoice exceeding $1000 will need to include your address.
  • 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 is the tourist refund application process?

At airports

  1. Check the location of the TRS facility at the airport where you will depart from Australia.
  2. Present your goods, original tax invoice, passport and boarding pass to an officer at the TRS counter.
  3. 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. As there can be a queue for this service, consider making the TRS refund office your first stop.

At seaports

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.

Alternatively, 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
  • Passport
  • 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?

So long as the ring meets the eligibility requirements stated above, you may claim the tourist refund on it using the steps above.If you had previously claimed a tax refund on the engagement ring and are returning to Australia with it, you must declare the item on Question 3 of your Incoming Passenger Card if the ring is valued at over $900.The GST refund on your ring will then have to be repaid.


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.

Stephanie Yip

Stephanie is a journalist, avid traveller and all-round bargain hunter. If there's an online coupon code, deal or cheap flight available, she'll know about it. And she'll let you know about it, too.

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2 Responses to Tourist Refund Scheme – How does it work?

  1. Default Gravatar
    Jenny | October 11, 2016

    Can I dispute if I can’t received the correct amount of refund?

    • Staff
      Stephanie | October 14, 2016

      Hi Jenny,

      You can contact the Tourist Refund Office on 1300 555 043 if you have any queries about your refund.

      Hope that helps!

      Stephanie

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