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
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