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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

Stef is the Travel Editor at finder.com.au and has been writing about travel for over a decade. She's visited over 50 countries and has had some incredible experiences, including hot air ballooning over Cappadocia, hitchhiking across Romania and seeing the Northern Lights (twice!). And while she’d never say no to a luxury escape, she's far more likely to stretch her travel dollars as far as they can go by keeping her ear to the ground for unbeatable travel bargains. And she'll tell you all about them, too! Stef has had articles featured on Travel Weekly, Escape and Hostelworld.

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12 Responses

  1. Default Gravatar
    YoyoNovember 11, 2018

    Hi,
    If I purchased a laptop and get tax refund, can I open the original box and use it before I leave Australia?
    Thanks

    • finder Customer Care
      CharisseNovember 18, 2018Staff

      Hi Yoyo,

      Thanks for reaching out to finder.

      The goods (laptop) don’t have to stay sealed in their original box and you can also use them before you leave. Just keep in mind that the item/s must be purchased within 60 days of your departure. If the laptop is valued at more than $1,000, you must have the original tax invoice with your name or passport number on it.

      You can also go to http://www.abf.gov.au for the full information about TRS guidelines.

      I hope this helps.

      Cheers,
      Charisse

  2. Default Gravatar
    October 15, 2018

    If I purchased an iPhone with finance, is it tax refundable?

    • finder Customer Care
      JeniOctober 15, 2018Staff

      Hi Hans,

      Thank you for getting in touch with finder.

      As per Apple Australia’s page, to claim a refund you must:

      – Spend $300 (GST inclusive) or more on a single tax invoice
      – Buy goods no more than 60 days before departure

      Apple ships each item as it is available to ship; if you have multiple items on your order they may ship at different times or from different locations. Once your order has shipped, Apple will email your invoice to the email address provided on your order. If your order contains multiple items and they ship at different times or from different locations, you will receive multiple invoices. Apple cannot amend invoices after they have been issued and cannot combine multiple invoices to one invoice.

      I hope this helps.

      Please feel free to reach out to us if you have any other enquiries.

      Thank you and have a wonderful day!

      Cheers,
      Jeni

  3. Default Gravatar
    VictoriaOctober 9, 2018

    Do the tax invoice (over $300) need to include customer name for it to be refunded at the airport?

    • finder Customer Care
      CharisseOctober 10, 2018Staff

      Hi Victoria,

      Thanks for reaching out to finder.

      Only tax invoices for sales of $1000 or more must include the buyer’s identity, for example their name or passport number. For purchases $300 and over, you must have the original tax invoice for the goods in order for you to make a claim. You can also make a TRS claim with a valid electronic tax invoice.

      I hope this helps.

      Cheers,
      Charisse

  4. Default Gravatar
    JuliaSeptember 30, 2018

    My son is 13yrs old and have purchased an $450 I-pad with his own money. He’ll be going overseas and would like to claim the gst refund. Is there an age restriction on who can make a gst refund claim at the airport? Thanks

    • finder Customer Care
      NikkiOctober 1, 2018Staff

      Hi Julia,

      Thanks for your message and for contacting finder.

      There is no age restriction who can make a GST refund claim. As long the refund meets the criteria below it will be good for a GST refund claim.

      -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).

      Take note of the GST refund claim process as well to avoid delays.

      Hope this helps! Feel free to message us should you have further questions.

      Cheers,
      Nikki

  5. Default Gravatar
    August 8, 2018

    Can you get a refund for items bought using a gift card? I have bought items totalling over $300 in one store but I have used Gift cards to pay for them.
    Kathy

    • Default Gravatar
      JoelAugust 8, 2018

      Hi Kathy,

      Thanks for leaving a question on finder.

      Usually, if you return merchandise purchased with a gift Card, the refunded amount will be credited directly back to your gift Card. To be sure, you can contact the seller to ask for a refund if you are not happy with your purchase. Hope this gets resolved soon.

      Cheers,
      Joel

  6. Default Gravatar
    JennyOctober 11, 2016

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

    • finder Customer Care
      StephanieOctober 14, 2016Staff

      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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