The Tourist Refund Scheme (TRS) lets you claim a refund of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) and Wine Equalisation Tax (WET) that you pay on certain goods you buy in Australia and then take out of Australia with you or in your checked luggage or carry-on bags.
Who can get a refund?
TRS is open to all overseas visitors and Australian residents, except for operating air and sea crew.
What purchases are eligible for a refund?
Purchases are eligible for refunds if:
- they are purchased in the 60 days before you leave Australia
- your purchases from any single business total $300 (GST inclusive) or more. For example, if you bought items from one business - even on separate invoices - that together total $300, these items may be eligible for a tax refund under TRS
- you, the passenger, paid for the goods
- you have an original tax invoice for the goods
- you wear or carry the goods (unless they are liquids, gels or aerosols or oversized or bulky goods which the airline require to be checked in) as hand luggage aboard the aircraft or ship as you leave Australia, or check the goods in with your luggage after they have been verified by an officer at the Customs and Border Protection Client Services counter.
Purchases are not eligible for refunds if they are:
- beer, spirits or tobacco products
- goods that did not have GST/WET paid on them (e.g. medicines, some foods)
- services (e.g., accommodation, vehicle hire, food, tours warranties, etc.)
- gift cards or vouchers
- items that have already been used (in part or in full) in Australia (e.g. food, perfume etc). It’s ok to use cameras, iPhones, clothing, etc.
- do not accompany you on your flight or ship out of Australia.
Check your tax invoice; some tax invoices indicate if GST or WET has been applied to each item.
How do I make a claim?
You can make a claim for a tax refund by visiting the TRS counter in an international airport or the cruiseliner terminal of some Australian seaports.
How much will I get?
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)
on all of your eligible goods.
Refunds to a credit card or to an Australian bank account will generally be paid within 30 days. Refunds by cheque can take up to two months.
What do I need to bring to the TRS counter?
Bring your goods, original tax invoices, passport and boarding pass to the TRS counter.
A tax invoice has the word ‘tax invoice’ on it and shows the business name and Australian Business Number (ABN) of the retailer, the purchase price including the GST and/or WET paid, a description of the goods and the date you purchased the goods. For tax invoices over $1,000, the tax invoice must also show your name and address.
If you are unable to present some or all of your goods and/or tax invoices on request, or cannot provide evidence that an officer has sighted your goods, some or all of your claim may be rejected.
Different rules apply for people wanting to claim the TRS on liquids, aerosols, gels and oversized items. You can read about these below.
How long before I depart Australia should I go to the TRS counter?
You can make a claim up to 30 minutes prior to your flight’s scheduled departure time. To make sure you have enough time to make your TRS claim, you should complete your departure immigration clearance at least 90 minutes before the scheduled departure time of your flight.
After you have passed through departure immigration, go to the TRS counter, where you can lodge your claim.
TRS counters are staffed while outward flights are being processed at Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth, Darwin, Adelaide, Cairns and Coolangatta international airports. To find the location of the TRS counter, check the website of the airport where you will depart from Australia.
At seaports, you can make a claim 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, which may be a different port to where you boarded the ship. Make sure you have purchased the goods within 60 days of departing from the final port of departure for overseas.
TRS counters will be available at terminals in Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne, Cairns, Darwin, Fremantle and Hobart.
If you are leaving from another airport or seaport, contact Customs and Border Protection to find out how to make a claim.
I claimed a TRS refund for some goods that I now want to bring back into Australia. What do I need to know?
If you are aged 18 years or over, you can bring in up to A$900 worth of general goods into Australia duty-free, or A$450 if you are younger than 18. Families travelling together can pool this allowance (so a couple with a child can bring in a total of A$900 + $900 + A$450 = A$2250 worth of general goods into Australia without paying duty or tax). This is called your Passenger Concession.
General goods include gifts, souvenirs, cameras, electronic equipment, leather goods, perfume concentrates, jewellery, watches and sporting equipment.
If the total value of the goods you are bringing in is greater than your Passenger Concession, including goods for which you have previously claimed a tax refund under TRS:
- you must declare all of these goods
- for goods where you have previously claimed a tax refund under TRS, you will need to pay that refund back
- duty and tax will apply to all items of this type, not just goods over the limit of your passenger concession.
Penalties may apply if you don’t declare that you have goods in excess of your concession.
Need more information?
For more information about the Tourist Refund Scheme, contact the Customs Information and Support Centre: Tourist Refund Scheme Customs Website