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Claiming GST when leaving Australia: A guide to get GST back

Claiming GST when leaving Australia: A guide to get GST back

Claiming GST when leaving Australia and wondering what to do?

In accordance with the Tourist Refund Scheme (TRS) you are allowed to get GST back on some good purchased in Australia. On some products, you can get a refund of the full 10% GST paid on products.

One of the majour requirements is the good you are claiming for need to be presented to the controller in order to qualify for the refund so you will need to able to have these goods in your carry on luggage.

GST refunds are possible in all majour Australian airports including Sydney, Melbourne, Perth, Brisbane, Cairns, Adelaide, Darwin and Hobart airports.

Claiming GST when leaving Australia: How to get your GST Back?

Sadly, you can’t get your GST back on absolutely everything you purchased while you are in Australia. A few key conditions apply in order to quality to get your GST back. You don’t need the original packaging still in tack to make a GST claim but you do need a receipt!

  1. Goods must have been purchased within 60 days of departure of flight. This means if you have been in Australia for a year, only things purchased in the previous 60 days qualify.
  2. Goods must cost $300 or more from a single business on a single invoice
  3. You must present the original tax invoice when making a claim.

How to claim the GST refund

The first thing to note is that you can collect your GST refund at the airport. It is easy to find where to collect the GST refund. Simply, look for a counter with a sign stating it is where the Tourist Refund Scheme (TRS) is conducted.

In order to get the refund you need to present to the counter: the goods purchased, your passport, flight ticket and invoice showing the GST paid.

Within 60 days of the claim being lodged with the officer, you will receive funds into your account. Funds can be paid into a credit card, given by cheque or into an Australian bank account.

Note: Sometimes there is a wait to be served so make sure you arrive well in advance of your flight if you want to ensure you receive your refund.

Goods excluded from a GST Refund

Certain goods are precluded from the GST refund scheme. These include the following:

  • Alcohol
  • Tobacco
  • Hotel rooms, car rentals, tours
  • Anything prohibited on a aircraft

It is impossible to claim GST on a product if no GST has been paid. Check your receipt to see if GST has been paid. If in doubt, you can always try to make a claim at the counter.

Can you return to Australia with these goods?

The general idea is that you don’t have to pay GST on these goods because you are leaving Australia and hence why you are eligible for the GST refund.

However, the government understands that sometimes you need to come back which is why there is an exception to this rule. You are allowed to bring up to AUD900 worth of de-taxed goods back into the country. This amount can be pooled over multiple people for example, a couple can bring AUD1800 worth of de-taxed goods back into the country. This policy is known as the passenger concession.

If you did not realise you needed to return to Australia and have more than AUD900 worth of de-taxed good you will need to declare this and repay the GST refund back.

Fast track the process with the TRS App

As this process was taking a long time at airports, the Australian government launched an app known as the TRS App to make the process go faster at the airport.

The process is simple. First you can download the app which is available on iPhone and Android.  The app then requests you details, goods and bank details for refund. Upon giving the required information, the app provides you with a QR code that you can present to the TRS counter.

Please note this does not avoid you from presenting the goods and the invoice at the TRS counter.


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