New iPhone, Android app speeds up GST refunds at airport TRS desk

By Chris Chamberlin, August 26 2014

International travellers claiming a GST refund under the Tourist Refund Scheme (TRS) can soon use a new iPhone and Android app to jump the often-lengthy queues at the airport's TRS claims desk.

Along with the apps, the TRS website will also allow jetsetters to enter details of their GST claim. You can also request a Wine Equalisation Tax (WET) rebate if you're taking wine out of the country.

Whichever you're claiming, just enter your travel plans and refund preferences, and then proceed to an express queue at a TRS airport counter to finalise the transaction.

The TRS claims website launches on September 1 2014, while Android users will see a dedicated mobile app from mid-September with similar functionality.

There's also an iOS release for Apple iPhones and iPads to follow "once it has passed through the Apple approval process", an Australian Customs and Border Protection spokesperson confirmed to Australian Business Traveller.

When you’re all set, the website or mobile app generates a ‘QR code’ with your claim details embedded, which can then be printed or displayed on your mobile and used by Customs and Border Protection officers to fast-track the refund process.

As the full details of your claim are extracted from the barcode, the officer can then quickly rubber stamp your application before you’ve sacrificed too much lounge time.

Even with the new app, you’ll still need to bring along the original tax invoice(s) and be travelling with the goods that are the subject of your claim – so don’t leave those at home.

Travellers sporting a device other than an iPhone or Android can still use their pocket gadget to lodge their claim via the TRS website, as they can via their desktop computer:

Whether you’re using the dedicated app or the web interface, speedier TRS claims will soon be available via dedicated queues at Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide, Perth, Darwin, the Gold Coast and Cairns International Airports.

Further reading: Travel trip: how to claim the TRS airport refund on Australian GST

Follow Australian Business Traveller on Twitter: we're @AusBT

Chris Chamberlin

Chris Chamberlin is the Associate Editor of Executive Traveller and lives by the motto that a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step, a great latte, a theatre ticket and a glass of wine!

12 Feb 2013

Total posts 23

If only there was a similar app so I don't have to fill in those incoming and outgoing passenger cards and waste my time in the queue (especially departures) but of course that's wishful thinking!

20 Jun 2014

Total posts 59

That is very welcome, assuming the app works. That TRS queue must account for more missed flights than anything else at Melbourne Airport, and it is always slowed down by people who don't have their act together.

05 Jun 2012

Total posts 31

It's a step in the right direction, at least, although I'm not sure how much time this will save. I claimed at TRS at MEL last month and it was a joke. A max of three staff to serve dozens of passengers who all need their goods and recipts inspected mannually and all done in English (fine for me, less so for other passengers in an INTERNATIONAL airport). Took me about an hour, which was aided by several cases of people ahead of me having to abandon their claims because their flight was departing. 

They really need to move the whole operation so that it can be done before security so that you can leave your items in the checked in luggage. How many people do TRS think are going to go all the way to the airport and then straight back home just to save a few bucks on an iPad? Make them show an itinery or boarding pass if you want. There's even a place on L1 at MEL that sights liquids that could be used.

Hey there Chris, are you sure about the 300.00 total spend with one abn'd business?  I have purchase loads of small stuff from a variety of different shops under 300.00 - usually 100.00 or under 300.00.  Can I claim on these smaller purchases ?
Hi Eunice, there was no mention of TRS eligibility in this article, however you do indeed need to spend $300 or more with a single business in the 60 days prior to your international departure in order to submit a TRS claim. That spend can be across a number of individual transactions (eg. $150 one day, $50 another day and $100 on a third day), but your total spend must be $300 or more per business (ABN).

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