Claiming your GST refund as you leave Australia

by on December 1, 2014

If you’ve been in Australia on holiday or are a resident leaving for an extended period, you may be able to claim back the GST you have paid on your large purchases. That laptop or camera, electronics goods, surfboard or expensive shoes which cost you over AUD300, or a combination of less expensive items purchased from the same store totalling AUD300 may be eligible.

Make sure you get a proper tax invoice which details the goods, purchase date and the amount paid. You can even combine purchases made from the same store within a certain period to make up the amount.

Until recently it was necessary to show the item to the customs officer at the TRS facilities in the departure lounges  at international airports at Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne, Perth, Cairns, Adelaide, Darwin and the Gold Coast. The facility is also available at cruise liner terminals at Circular Quay and Darling Harbour in Sydney, Cairns, Darwin, Fremantle, Brisbane and Hobart.

As the TRS Facility counter is located after Customs and Border Protection and Immigration controls, it meant passengers would be restricted to only items they could hand carry, which cuts out ‘big things’.

Recognising this, the Customs Department has recently made available an app you can use on a desktop, or download to your Android or iPhone to complete all your details before you go to the airport or port. The information is stored as a QR code which is your TRS claim code for the officers to scan.

The process

When you check in, you need to tell the counter staff that you want to make a GST claim and they will call the TRS facility and an officer will come out to sight the goods in your check-in baggage so you can then send it in the hold.

Claiming your GST refund Australia

TRS/GST verification counter

You will need to leave plenty of time for this as the officers may be quite busy if there are lots of flights leaving at the same time.


TRS/GST receipt collection

You must also have the QR code and your original Tax invoice (receipt) ready for them to sight. They will stamp the invoice to acknowledge they have seen it and you then present yourself with your phone/QR code and stamped invoice at the TRS counter when you’ve gone through the Immigration and Border controls.

They will also ask for your passport and boarding pass. As these can also take quite a while, say your goodbyes early and go in so you don’t have to wait in a queue inside.

If you have made a purchase at a Duty-Free store during your travels, you’ll need to look for a counter like the one in photo, to verify that the item is with you and produce your receipt.

For more information, the Australian Customs website has the answers in their FAQ page.

To download the app for your desktop or other devices, this page has all the links for various devices and also answers questions on how to use them.

Leave a reply »

  • Sesilia
    November 15, 2016 at 9:12 AM

    Q: I brought all my stuff to send overseas but its all in a shipping container but I have all my receipts so Can I still claim Gst please?


    • November 15, 2016 at 11:34 AM

      Hi, I think your best option would be to quickly check with your shipping agent as the authorities need to confirm that you are actually taking the goods out of Australia. They would be able to advise you on the procedures for goods that are shipped rather than carried with you on a flight out.


  • steve
    April 10, 2017 at 2:53 PM

    I bought a new surfboard. How do I get them to see it?


    • April 10, 2017 at 3:25 PM

      Hi Steve, It will be hard to squeeze that in your hand luggage!
      First, use the app as mentioned in our story, to complete the forms. When you get to check-in, speak to the counter staff (or go to the airport information counter, that might be quicker) and they’ll direct you to the counter or call the officers, who will come out to verify the item. After that you can check in your surfboard and go inside to complete the process.


  • Puan Mariah
    July 31, 2017 at 2:00 PM

    I got my GST refund from Perth 2 week after my trip to Perth. I think it is the fastest refund that I got so far.

    Just fill in the form at the airport . No inspection needed as i just bought souvenirs , shirts and boomerang

    Kudos to the Custom PErth


  • Shehab
    August 8, 2017 at 10:48 AM

    My flight is at 22:30 from Brisbane airport
    Do you think the GST office will be open at that time to claim the refund of tax.


    • August 8, 2017 at 10:12 PM

      Hi, It’s our understanding from the information provided by the authorities, that the counter will be open during the airport opening hours. If aircraft are arriving or departing, they will need to be on duty for the normal checks anyway. It would be safest to arrive a bit earlier at the airport to ensure you have enough time for the formalities. Don’t forget to download and use the app – the link is in the article.


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