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Going Overseas?

Read on to see how you may be able to claim back, under the Tourist Refund Scheme, the 10% import duty paid on cameras etc

Import duty has been replaced with a 10% GST on most imports. You can claim a refund on goods costing $300 (GST inclusive) or more, bought from the same business, no more than 30 days before you leave the country. You may purchase several lower-priced items from the one business, 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 and the goods are covered by the one tax invoice. You may buy goods from several stores, provided each store‚Äôs tax invoice totals at least $300 (GST inclusive).

You will not receive a refund unless Customs is able to verify that you are taking the goods with you. The goods must be taken on board the aircraft or ship on which you are travelling**. You therefore need to include the goods in your hand luggage or wear them onto the aircraft or ship.

** If there is a high level security alert, procedures may change without notice.  Contact your airline to check procedures.

You may elect to have your refund paid by:

  • cheque
  • credit to an Australian bank account; or
  • payment to a credit card.

Customs will aim to pay your refund within 30 days.

Can I open and use the camera within the 30 days before I leave Australia?

Yes, you can open and use your new camera and other purchases prior to leaving Australia. This means that you can get to know your camera before you go on holidays. This is a big improvement on the old duty free arrangements where your camera had to be left in a sealed bag until you boarded the plane or ship.

What do I have to do when I buy the goods?

If you wish to claim a refund, you must get a tax invoice from the store where you buy the goods. Oxford Appliance Parts will give you the required tax invoice when you receive your camera. A TRS refund cannot be given without it. The tax invoice provides evidence of the date and price of the purchase, the Australian Business Number (ABN) of the retailer and a description of the goods supplied.

How do I make a claim?

If you are leaving Australia by air, look for the TRS booth in the departures areas of international terminals at Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne, Perth, Cairns, Adelaide, Darwin and Coolangatta, after you have passed through passport control.

At the booth you will need to produce:

  • your goods (to prove you are taking them out of the country)
  • the tax invoice from the retailer (to provide information for Customs officers)
  • your passport; and
  • your international boarding pass or other proof of travel.

The TRS facilities are located at the the following international airports: Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne, Perth, Cairns, Adelaide, Darwin and Gold Coast  If you are leaving Australia from a cruise liner terminal located at Circular Quay and Darling Harbour in Sydney, or terminals in Cairns, Darwin or Fremantle, or from Broome airport, you will need to present the same items to the Customs officer on duty, who will assist you to make your claim.

If you are leaving Australia from another port, contact Customs to find out if you can make a claim.

Bringing the goods back into Australia

If the goods are to be brought back into Australia, please be aware that they may be subject to GST. Normal passenger concessions apply and include any items for which a TRS claim has been approved (excluding most personal items such as new clothing, footwear and articles for personal hygiene and grooming). If the value of those goods together with overseas purchases exceeds the passenger concession, the goods must be declared to Customs on your return to Australia. Penalties apply to undeclared taxable goods.

If in doubt you should declare the goods to Customs on your return.

More information is contained in the brochure 'Know Before You Go' which is available from Customs.

For further information on duty free under the Tourist Refund Scheme, visit the Customs website

Phone Customs: Within Australia - 1300 363 263 for the cost of a local call
Outside Australia - 61 2 6275 6666