The TRS enables you to claim a refund, subject to certain conditions, of the goods and services tax (GST) and wine equalisation tax (WET) that you pay on goods you buy in Australia.
The refund only applies to goods you take with you as hand luggage or wear onto the aircraft or ship when you leave Australia. It does not apply to services or goods consumed or partly consumed in Australia, such as chocolate and perfume. However, unlike other tourist shopping schemes, most of the goods, such as clothing and cameras, can be used in Australia before departure.
The TRS is open to all overseas visitors and Australian residents, except air and sea operating crew.
The GST refund is calculated by dividing the total amount of the purchase by 11. The WET refund is 14.5 percent of the price paid for wine. For example, if you buy goods for a GST-inclusive price of $660 you will receive a refund of $60. If the $660 is made up of a camera ($460) and wine ($200), you will receive a total refund of $89 (total GST refund of $60 and $29 WET refund on the wine).
The refund will be paid on goods totalling $300 (GST inclusive) or more, bought from the same store, no more than 30 days before you leave Australia.
You may purchase several lower-priced items from the one store, either at the one time or over several occasions within the 30-day period, provided the total purchase amounts to $300 (GST inclusive) or more. You will have to ask the retailer to consolidate these lower-priced purchases onto a single tax invoice.
You may buy goods from several stores, provided each store's tax invoice totals at least $300 (GST inclusive).
You can collect your refund through one of the following methods:
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.
If you wish to claim a refund, you must get an original tax invoice from the store where you buy the goods. All stores registered for GST 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.
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.
Claims can be made after you have passed through Customs and Immigration outward processing at :
the TRS facilities at international airports at Sydney, Brisbane, Melboure, 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.