If you have made purchases during your stay in Australia, it is possible to be reimbursed for the taxes on them. Indeed the Tourist Refund Scheme (TRS) allows you to get your GST back, more precisely you can get GST back on some goods you bought in Australia (not only electronics). The Tourist Refund Scheme allows for a full rebate of the 10% GST on goods. You will have to leave Australia with these goods and have them in your carry-on luggage when checking in for your flight unless the goods are oversized goods or liquids, aerosols and gels restricted to hold luggage for security reasons. You can ask for the refund at Sydney, Melbourne, Perth, Brisbane, Cairns, Adelaide, Darwin, Gold Coast, Canberra and Hobart international airports.
What is the Goods and Services Tax (GST) ?
In UK we know the VAT (Value Added Tax) which applies to all products and services purchased. Its rate is variable but 20% is the most common rate for purchases in the country.
The Australian GST is its equivalent. The applicable rate is 10% of the amount of the good. It applies to all goods and services purchased in Australia. For example, if you buy a $1,000 camera, you will pay $100 in tax.
If you are a tourist and therefore do not live in Australia permanently, you can request a refund of this tax when you leave the country.
Read also : GST in Australia – How it works
Conditions to get your GST back
To be able to claim your GST back a few conditions apply:
You will need to have bought the goods in person in a period of 60 days before your departure date
The total amount of goods has to be $300 or more. Your purchases must be from a single business. It can be more than one items but only if they have been bought in the same shop. If you bought items from one business, even on separate invoices, that together total AUD 300, these items could be eligible for a tax refund.
You must have an original paper tax invoice for the goods, not a copy. If you have an electronic invoice, remember to print it out before you go to the TRS counter. The invoice must include the shop’s Australian Business Number (ABN), the date of purchase, the description of the goods and the amount of GST paid. If you do not have an eligible tax invoice you cannot make a claim.
You need to have the goods with you, in your carry-on luggage when flying out. For oversized and restricted goods, they must be sighted by ABF Client services before checking in and you will have to take the stamped invoices to the TRS Facility on the day of departure.
You cannot claim a refund on these goods
- Tobacco products
- Goods purchased over the Internet and imported into Australia
- Services (Hotel rooms, car rentals, tours, etc)
- GST-free goods where no GST was paid
- Goods prohibited on aircraft for safety reasons (gas cylinders, fireworks, aerosol etc)
- Product already used as perfume, however, you can claim GST on devices such as a computer, camera, Iphone, used during your stay
Good to know
You can remove your goods from the packaging and use them. You do not need to bring the packaging to make your TRS claim.
How to claim your GST
The refund is made at the airport, after the customs. Look for signs indicating Tourist Refund Scheme (TRS). To find the TRS facility, check the website of the airport where you will be flying. There will be at least a 90 minutes wait. Can be more so anticipate and arrive in advance to make sure you don’t miss out.
The refund can be paid into an Australian bank account, to a credit card, or by cheque. The refund will be made within 60 days of the claim being lodged.
You will need to present:
– The goods
– Your passport
– The invoices
– Your boarding pass.
Good to know
Although the TRS counters at airports don’t have fixed opening hours, they are open when an international flight is scheduled.
Use the TRS apps to prepare your application
To facilitate and accelerate the process, you can use The Tourist Refund Scheme (TRS) app. It allows you to get a head start by registering your personal details and uploading your receipts in advance. All you have to do is simply go to the TRS desk which is located in the Duty Free area with all the shops. Tourist Refund Scheme provides a website and an app available for iOS and Android. The app is free. The only downside is that it does not work in all airports! Only use the app if you are travelling from the following airports: Sydney (NSW), Gold Coast or Sunshine Coast, Brisbane, Townsville, Cairns (QLD), or Darwin (NT) but also Melbourne (VIC), Adelaide (SA) or Perth (WA).
How does the app work?
After downloading, just type in the following:
- Details of your trip
- Details of the goods and invoices
- Preferred way of refund
After saving the information, you receive a Quick Response (QR) code that you can find in the Present My Claim section of the app. Once at the airport, you will need to present at the TRS counter. You will still need to attend a TRS facility with your tax invoice. This does not submit your claim.
Online statements are available at the following international airports: Adelaide, Brisbane, Cairns, Canberra, Darwin, Gold Coast, Melbourne, Perth, and Sydney.
Coming back to Australia with de-taxed goods
If you are bringing goods back into Australia for which you have claimed a TRS refund, know that you can bring up to AUD900 worth of goods without having to pay customs duties or GST. For minor under 18, the amount you can bring in is $450. This is called your passenger concession.
Families travelling together can pool this allowance.
For example a couple can bring in a total of AUD900 x 2 = AUD1800 worth of goods into Australia without paying duty.
If the total value of the goods you are bringing back into Australia after claiming a refund is greater than your passenger concession (AUD$900):
- you must declare the goods
- you will need to repay the GST refund back on the goods you claimed under the TRS.
- customs duties and GST will apply to all items purchased, not just goods over your passenger concession limit ($900).
If you need to contact the Tourist Refund Office (TRO) for a specific question, you can call them:
From within Australia: 1300 555 043
From outside Australia: +61 2 6245 5499.
You can also contact the TRO via email firstname.lastname@example.org or their enquiry form.