TRS Refund | How To Quickly Claim GST

While international travel from Australia is currently banned due to COVID-19, you can apply for an exemption, including if travel is required for your business or by your employer.

International travellers, including Australian residents, may also be able to claim a Goods and Services Tax (GST) and/or Wine Equalization Tax (WET) refund for certain goods they take out of the country on a ship or aircraft. This is known as the Tourist Refund Scheme (TRS)—an initiative of the Australian Government. The scheme applies to goods purchased at prices that include GST or WET from a retailer who has an ABN and is registered for GST.

Requirements for TRS

Travellers can claim the TRS airport refund if their purchases meet the following requirements:

  • Goods are purchased from a single business with the same Australian business number (ABN), but not different stores within that business if they have different ABNs
  • Goods must total AUD$300 (including GST) or more
  • Goods are purchased within 60 days of departing Australia
  • You must have the original paper tax invoice/s for the goods
  • Your invoices must state the date of purchase, description of the goods that match the invoice, your name as it appears in your passport, the amount of GST or WET paid (or total price including GST), and the retailer's name, address, and ABN (ACNs and ARNs are not accepted)
  • You, as the travelling passenger, must have paid for the goods yourself
  • You carry or wear the goods on-board the aircraft or ship as cabin baggage unless they are oversized or subject to aviation security measures (and the airline requires them to be checked in as “hold” luggage)
  • Residents of Australia’s external territories (e.g., Christmas Island, Norfolk Island, and the Keeling Islands) can also get a GST refund if they export the goods to their home territory as baggage or as cargo

Allowances for TRS

  • You can make several purchases over several days
  • You can calculate the GST refund amount yourself by dividing the total price in dollars by 11
  • You can ask your domestic airline to make your goods available to you before your international connection

TRS restrictions

TRS has a large number of restrictions that must be understood before applying. Here they are in full:

Money and invoicing

  • You cannot get a cash refund
  • You cannot use reprinted, photocopied, or duplicated invoices
  • Refunds can only be paid to you or another person by an Australian bank account or credit card (Visa, JCB, Diners, Amex, MasterCard and UnionPay)

Time and location

  • You cannot claim TRS online, or at a domestic airport
  • You can only claim at your last port of departure from Australia (which may be different to where you originally boarded your cruise ship or aircraft)
  • You cannot claim TRS before the day of departure, less than 30 minutes before your scheduled departure time, or after you leave Australia
  • Goods cannot be shipped separately


  • Crew members of a ship or aircraft are not eligible to claim refunds under the scheme
  • You cannot claim TRS if you are buying for a business

Item types

You cannot claim TRS on the following item types:

  • Alcohol of greater than 22% Brandy, beer, spirits, and fortified wines also don’t qualify for WET
  • Tobacco or tobacco products
  • Dangerous goods that are prohibited on a ship or aircraft — fireworks, liquids, and gas cylinders etc
  • Goods that are wholly or partially consumed in Australia — drinks, food, and perfume etc
  • Cosmetic enhancements that are attached permanently — breast or hair implants, hair extensions and dental work and implants etc
  • Gift vouchers and cards (goods purchased with gift vouchers or cards are eligible for a refund subject to all other TRS requirements being met)
  • Unaccompanied goods and posted and freighted goods (unless the goods are being exported to an External Australian Territory by a resident of that territory)
  • Goods purchased overseas and imported into Australia
  • GST-free goods — baby food, abalone, medical aids and appliances, medications, nebulisers, lenses for prescription spectacles and CPAP breathing machines etc
  • Services, taxis, tours, accommodation, car rental, house plans and drawings, warranties and labour charges, shipping/postage charges, educational and training courses or the course materials and documents (digital or physical)

The process for claiming TRS

  • Before travelling, check with your carrier what you can and can't take with you
  • Factor in extra time before your departure — TRS recommends arriving at least 90 minutes prior to your scheduled departure time, as queues for these facilities can be long
  • Take copies of your invoices, as the originals may need to be left
  • Make sure your passport details are the same as what is on the tax invoice
  • Check where the airport’s TRS facility is — Here are the links to their locations to get you started: Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth, Adelaide, Gold Coast, Cairns, Canberra, Hobart, Darwin.
  • A TRS facility is typically open for every international departure. If it is not staffed, seek out an Australian Border Force Officer for further assistance
  • If your purchase is packed in luggage you intend to check-in, you will need to make your way to the Australian Border Force Client Services Office
  • You need to claim GST and/or WET in person by showing your goods, boarding pass, passport, and original tax invoices to the TRS on the day of departure
  • Claims need to be made at least 30 minutes prior to the scheduled departure time or an hour before travelling on a cruise
  • If you have oversized or restricted goods, they need to be sighted by Australian Border Force Client Services before checking in.
  • Declare the goods — if over your passenger concession, you need to pay the full refund back if you bring the goods back into Australia
  • Be prepared to take all your goods on-board as carry-on luggage if directed
  • Understand that circumstances beyond your control may result in you not being able to claim

Lodging online

You can complete your claim online before you fly. This process won’t actually lodge it, but it can reduce your time at an airport TRS facility, as the officer won’t have to type in all your details. The Australian Government Department of Home Affairs has developed online and mobile Tourist Refund Scheme apps that allow you to enter the information required.

These apps allow you to store details in a Quick Response (QR) code that can be scanned at some TRS facilities. To lodge your TRS claim in Australia with apps you must:

  • Enter your travel details
  • Enter details of the goods for which you are claiming a refund of GST and/or WET
  • Enter how you prefer to receive your tax refund
  • If you have more than ten invoices, enter them in batches of ten and print a QR code for each batch
  • On your departure day, present the TRS facility your goods, original paper tax invoices and QR codes

For more information, visit the website, email or phone 1300 555 043 in Australia or +61 2 6245 5499 from outside of Australia.