If you’ve been in Australia on holiday or are a resident leaving for an extended period, you may be able to claim an Australian GST refund for the tax paid on your purchases. That laptop or camera, electronics goods, surfboard or expensive shoes which cost you over AUD300 may be eligible. A combination of less expensive items purchased from the same store including purchases from different branches, totalling AUD300 can also be claimed.
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 items to the customs officer at the TRS facilities in the departure lounges at international airports. As the TRS Facility counter is located after Customs and Border Protection and Immigration controls, passengers were restricted to claims only on items they could hand carry. This restricted the type of purchases that were eligible for claims.
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. This is your TRS claim code for the officers to scan.
GST refund: making your TRS Claim
You must have the goods with you for officers to confirm they leave the country with you.
Claims may be made at International Airports in:
- Brisbane, Cairns and Gold Coast
- Melbourne-Tullamarine and Melbourne-Avalon
- Perth, Adelaide and Darwin.
At Avalon, the Verification counter for checked items is just outside the Departure entrance.
The facility is also available at cruise liner terminals at:
- Circular Quay and Darling Harbour in Sydney
- Cairns and Brisbane in Queensland
- Darwin, Fremantle, and Hobart.
When you check in:
- tell the counter staff that you want to make a TRS claim
- they will call the TRS facility
- an officer will come out to sight the goods in your check-in baggage
- allow sufficient time for this as the officers may be quite busy
Alternately, the officers may request the check-in staff to check items to confirm that they are in your checked luggage.
If you have completed the process using the downloadable app, 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.
When the GST refund Counter is closed
If the counter is closed:
- Take a form (including the pink carbon sheet), from the counter
- Complete the form, with all details, including payment details (bank, credit card etc)
- Take an envelope from the counter and complete your name and address on the front
- Place the completed form (both sheets) and original receipts in the envelope
- Do not seal the envelope. It is used to return your receipts and the pink copy to you, with payment advice
- Drop the unsealed envelope in the dropbox provided.
- You should receive the payment within 2-3 weeks.
Is it safe to use the dropbox?
We have made claims using both methods. Payment was credited within 2-3 weeks.
Bought something at a Downtown Duty-Free store?
If you have made a purchase at a Duty-Free store during your travels:
- Look for a counter like the one in the photo on the right.
- The officer will verify that the item is with you and check 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.