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The Tourist Refund Scheme
Travellers departing Australia can get a GST or WET refund under the tourist refund scheme (TRS), administered by the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) and its operational arm the Australian Border Force (ABF). The scheme applies to goods purchased at prices that include GST or WET, from an Australian retailer with an ABN and registered for GST. It does not apply to services such as accommodation. GST-free goods cannot get a refund under the scheme, as no GST has been paid. Crew members of an aircraft or ship are not eligible to claim refunds under the scheme.
A traveller may claim a refund under the TRS if they meet the following requirements:
Residents of Australia's external territories, such as Norfolk Island, Christmas Island and the Cocos (Keeling) Islands, can also obtain a refund of GST where they export the goods to their home territory as unaccompanied baggage.
ABF may refer false or misleading Tourist Refund claims to us. If this happens we may decide to review the claim and even if the traveller did not get a refund they could be penalised.
If a traveller brings goods back into Australia after they have made a claim for a GST refund under TRS and the value of those goods (combined with any other overseas purchases) exceeds AUD $900, they must be declared to the ABF and the GST refund will have to be repaid. GST is payable on the entire value of the items, not just the amount that is over the AUD $900 limit. Penalties may apply to undeclared taxable goods.
Link updated January 2017
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