Australia has a 10% goods and services tax on most retail purchases, and there is a scheme where travellers can reclaim the GST on some purchases.

The Tourist Refund Scheme (TRS) enables you to claim a refund 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 plane when you leave the country. It does not apply to services or goods consumed or partly consumed in Australia. Unlike other tourist shopping schemes, such as duty free shopping, you can use the goods before leaving Australia.

It is essential that you get a tax invoice when you buy the goods you want to claim a refund on and take this with you to the airport. There are TRS booths at the departure areas of SydneyBrisbaneMelbournePerth,CairnsAdelaideDarwin and Coolangatta airports where you need to show the goods you want to claim the refund on, the tax invoice, your passport and boarding pass. In most cases you will be able to get a cash refund on the spot. If you’re leaving from an international airport that doesn’t have a TRS booth, such as Broome, you will need to present these items to a customs officer who should be able to process your refund; however in this case you will not get a cash refund.

Contact the Customs Service (website: www.customs.gov.au; tel: 1300 363 263) for more information on the scheme.

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