Looking for information on how to get the Sydney Airport tax refund? Here’s all you need to know about the Tourist Refund Scheme at Sydney Airport and other airports in Australia.
Did you know that tourists are able to claim a GST (Goods & Services Tax) refund on certain purchases when they leave Australia? The Tourist Refund Scheme allows international travellers take advantage of GST-free shopping if they are departing Australia and taking the products with them.
So if you need to buy a new phone, some expensive jewellery or perhaps just do some shopping for the next season, it’s worth looking into how much money you might save in Australia.
Sydney Airport tax refund FAQs
What is the TRS?
The Tourist Refund Scheme (TRS) lets international travellers departing Australia claim GST back on some of the purchases they made while in the country.
What do you get back?
GST in Australia is 10% on most goods and services in Australia, so you can claim this back through the Tourist Refund Scheme. You’ll see the total GST amount on your tax invoice, or you can divide your purchase by 11 to find the GST amount.
What items can you get tax back at the airport on?
Most products in Australia have GST included in the price, and you can claim back the GST on most of these items if:
- The amount you’ve spent at a single supplier is more than $300 (can be over multiple purchases on different days)
- You’ve made the purchases within 60 days of your departure
- You’ve got a valid tax invoice (more on that below)
You cannot claim GST back on things like food and drink, experiences or services, or anything that you consume (partly or wholly) in Australia, like food or perfume. You can claim GST back on items you have already opened and started using, provided they aren’t consumable.
You also need to have the items with you in your carry on luggage so the TRS staff can sight them at the TRS counter which is past security. If the goods are too big to put in your carry on then you’ll need to have them checked at the ABF (Australian Border Force) Client Services desk before you check in and receive a confirmation that they’ve been seen and approved before you check in your bag, then you can show your stamped form at the TRS counter once you’re through security to go through the remainder of the process.
What do you need in order to get a tax refund at Sydney Airport?
In order to get your tax back at Sydney Airport (or any other Australia international airport) you’ll need:
- All the items you are claiming for (or a stamped form from the ABF to say the oversized goods have been sighted before check in)
- A printed original tax invoice (not online, not photocopied) that shows all items from each separate store, which must include the GST amount, the business name, ABN and address, the date of purchase, and if the purchase is over $1000 it also must show your full name as per passport
- Your passport and boarding pass
- The credit card you want the refund processed to, or you can choose to be refunded to an Australian bank account instead
How do you claim tax back at Sydney Airport?
Once you go through security you need to make your way to the TRS office, which is a short walk to the left when you come through the duty free shops after security and passport control.
The TRS office can have long lines at busy times but when I visited there were only two people in front of me so it didn’t take long at all. Tp be safe though, and especially if you have quite a lot of stuff you want to claim for, get to the airport early and check in as early as you can to make sure you have time. If your flight is within 45 minutes of you being at the TRS office then they won’t process your refund because they don’t want to be the reason someone misses a flight.
At the TRS office you just need to show the goods you are claiming for and all the documents, they’ll pop your details into their system, and off you go to catch your flight!
How long does it take to receive the refund?
The website says it can take up to ten weeks to receive the refund however mine have always been much quicker. I’m sure it depends on demand so if you claim back around Christmas time it’s likely to be longer, but my most recent claim (June 2022) took only five days.
What other airports can you get a refund at?
You can claim GST back at any international airport in Australia, each international airport has a TRS facility. If the TRS facility isn’t staffed (we all know there have been severe staffing issues in airports right now) then you can speak to any ABF Officer and they’ll let you know where to go to process your tax refund before leaving.
You can also claim GST back in many other countries including Singapore and New Zealand too, always do a quick Google search before planning your trip because if you need to buy expensive items like a laptop or camera it can save you some decent money!
I hope this post has helped you figure out how to claim your GST and get a tax refund at Sydney Airport before departing Australia. I’ve used the TRS more than five times now and I’ll always plan my purchases out to make sure I can get an easy discount! Let me know your experience with the TRS in the comments below.