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  • Tourist refund scheme

    Travellers departing Australia can get a GST or WET refund under the tourist refund scheme (TRS), administered by the Department of Home Affairs and its operational arm the Australian Border Force (ABF).

    The scheme applies to goods purchased at prices that include GST or WET, from a retailer with an ABN and registered for GST.

    It does not apply to services such as accommodation. GST-free goods cannot get a refund under the scheme, as no GST has been paid.

    Crew members of an aircraft or ship are not eligible to claim refunds under the scheme.

    A traveller may claim a refund under the TRS if the purchases meet the following requirements:

    • the purchases are from a single business with the same Australian business number (ABN) and total AUD$300 (GST inclusive) or more. For example, if you bought items from one business, even on separate invoices, that together total AUD$300 the goods were purchased within 60 days of departure from Australia
    • the traveller has original tax invoice/s for the goods
    • the travelling passenger paid for the goods
    • carry or wear the goods on board the aircraft or ship as cabin baggage unless they are oversized or subject to aviation security measures and the airline requires them to be checked in as hold luggage
    • present their tax invoices (in English), goods, passport and boarding pass to the TRS facility when departing Australia
    • make the claim at the TRS facility at an airport at least 30 minutes prior to the scheduled departure time or 60 minutes if travelling on a cruise.

    Residents of Australia's external territories, such as Norfolk Island, Christmas Island and the Cocos (Keeling) Islands, can also get a GST refund if they export the goods to their home territory as accompanied or unaccompanied baggage or as cargo.

    Travellers bringing goods back into Australia for which they have already claimed a TRS refund

    ABF may refer false or misleading Tourist Refund claims to us. If this happens we may decide to review the claim and even if the traveller did not get a refund they could be penalised.

    If the total value of the goods a traveller is bringing into Australia that they have purchased overseas or for which they have claimed a refund under TRS is greater than their passenger concession (exceeds AUD$900):

    • they must declare all of these goods on your incoming passenger card
    • they will need to repay the GST refund back on the goods they claimed under the TRS
    • duty and GST will apply to all items purchased, not just goods over the limit of their passenger concession.

    Penalties can apply if travellers don't declare that they have goods in excess of their passenger concession.

    What retailers are required to do

    When a customer requests a full refund you should check their invoice to determine if they have already claimed under the TRS. If a claim has been approved the invoice will contain a stamp from the ABF.

    Customers applying for a refund when they have already obtained a TRS refund are not entitled to receive a refund for the GST/WET portion of the invoice.

    To obtain a full refund, a customer must provide proof that the GST/WET has been repaid when they declared the goods on their return to Australia.

    See also:

      Last modified: 04 Jan 2019QC 16664