Tax Free

Tax Free

Tourist Refund Scheme (Duty Free)

As of 17 April 2013 changes to the requirements for making a claim under the Australian Government’s Tourist Refund Scheme (TRS) will come into effect.

The key changes are:

  1. Travellers can claim through the tourist refund scheme on purchases made up to 60 days before leaving Australia (under old regulations they had 30 days). This will apply to sales made on or after 17 April 2013.
  2. Travellers can submit more than one tax invoice to make their claim, as long as each is a valid tax invoice from the one Australian Business Number retailer and the total value of goods purchased is $300 or more (including GST).

How TRS works

The refund will be paid on goods totalling $300 (GST inclusive) or more, bought from the same store, no more than 60 days before you leave Australia.

The GST refund is calculated by dividing the total amount of the purchase by 11. For example, if you buy goods for a GST-inclusive price of $660 you will receive a refund of $60.

You can collect your refund through one of the following methods:

  • cheque;
  • credit to an Australian bank account; or
  • payment to a credit card.

Customs will aim to post cheque refunds within 15 business days. Bank and credit card refunds will be issued by Customs within 5 business days, however, payment will be subject to processing by your bank or card issuer.

What you need to do when buying goods

If you wish to claim a refund, you must get an original tax invoice from the store where you buy the goods. All stores will be able to give you a tax invoice. A refund cannot be given without it.

A tax invoice prominently states the words ‘tax invoice’ and Australian Business Number (ABN) of the retailer, the purchase price including the GST paid, a description of the goods, the name of the supplier and the date the purchase was made.

Tax invoices for purchases of $1000 or more need additional information, such as the name and address of the purchaser.

More information on tax invoices is available by contacting the Australian Taxation Office.

How you make a claim

You will need to present the following at the Customs TRS facility when you depart Australia:

  • your goods (to prove you are taking them out of the country);
  • the original tax invoice from the retailer (to provide information for Customs officers);
  • your passport; and
  • your international boarding pass or other proof of travel.

Where you make a claim

Claims can be made after you have passed through Customs and Immigration outward processing at:

  • the TRS facilities at international airports at Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne, Perth, Cairns, Adelaide, Darwin and Gold Coast;
  • cruise liner terminals at Circular Quay and Darling Harbour in Sydney, Cairns, Darwin, Fremantle, Darwin and Hobart.

If you are leaving Australia from another port you should contact Customs to find out if you can make a claim.

How long it will take you to make a claim

For passengers departing from international airports, the process will only take a few minutes. However, you should allow for other passengers queuing for a refund. We suggest you allow an extra 15 minutes on top of airlines’ recommended time allowances.

Claims can be made up to 30 minutes prior to the scheduled departure time of your flight. Passengers departing from seaports should make their claim no earlier than four hours and no later than one hour prior to the scheduled departure time of the vessel.

Please note: You will not receive a refund unless Customs is able to verify that you are taking the goods with you. The goods must be taken on board the aircraft or ship on which you are travelling. You therefore need to include the goods in your hand luggage or wear them onto the aircraft or ship.

Bringing the goods back into Australia

If you bring the goods back into Australia, you could be liable to pay GST. Normal passenger concessions will apply but if in doubt you should declare the goods to Customs on your return. More information is contained in the brochure Know Before You Go which is available from Customs.

Goods that do not attract refunds under the TRS

Please refer to the Customs website for this information

All care has been taken in compiling the above information.

Please refer to the Customs website for the latest information.