Buying iPhone 15 at Sydney airport Duty Free



I suppose even if I paid duty, I'd still save ~$81 in GST since the first $900 should still be duty-free.

Just thought I’d leave this here to prevent any surprises ;)

What happens if I exceed the duty free limits?​

If you exceed Australia’s duty free limits, duty and tax will apply on all items of that type (general goods, alcohol or tobacco), not just the goods over the limit.
 
Yes. It’s been that way as far as I can remember, Some people are just not aware of the rules.
It gets a little more complicated when it’s not so much the rules but how they’re enforced.

When booze was 1L, you could easily declare 2 or 3L and get waved through or worse case pay on the excess (using the most expensive item first as your tax free allowance).

When they changed the limit to 2.25L they also implemented a process of charging you the tax on the total if you exceeded the limit - with no concession at all (similar to what was mentioned above).

I’ve not tested this since the change - some 10 or so years now?
 
It gets a little more complicated when it’s not so much the rules but how they’re enforced.

When booze was 1L, you could easily declare 2 or 3L and get waved through or worse case pay on the excess (using the most expensive item first as your tax free allowance).

When they changed the limit to 2.25L they also implemented a process of charging you the tax on the total if you exceeded the limit - with no concession at all (similar to what was mentioned above).

I’ve not tested this since the change - some 10 or so years now?
Back 'then' you had a $50 leeway to use along with 1 x 1.125L , 200 cigarettes and $450. The $50 generally enabled another 1.125L or another carton or another $500. (e.g. 2 x 1.125L, 2 Cartons, $950)
 
Cheaper than duty free by $88
….. and that will be the most common experience for Australian duty free, due to the extreme prices these stores have to pay for their commercial lease. I have seen these lease agreements (at airports), directly tied to their revenue (as a percentage of sales) which all but destroys the 10% GST refund…… only where we have goods that have taxes in addition to the GST (eg Alcohol), does duty free makes sense again. TRS is definitely the place to look.
 
Personally I aim to buy in Australia shortly before I travel and claim GST back because:
  1. Cheaper than buying at Airport.
  2. Easier to take back to the shop if I have a problem.
  3. Mrs Bashworth bought an Iphone overseas and it was a lower spec than the Australian version. (She can't have an Esim even though the same versions in Aus can all use Esims)
 
My favourite topic: Saving money!

Using the figures quoted for the iPhone15 ProMax 256:
iPhone 15 Pro Max (256GB)$1,845$1,937$2,199

1) Buy Gift cards that can be used at JB Hifi from Woolies or Coles when they have 20x back in points. (TCN cards are currently on offer until 25 June, but frequently available usually once a month)
Purchase $1900 in gift cards and earn $190 worth of points, which you can use to buy food.

2) Purchase the phone for $1937 from JB and pay the $37 with cash or CC.

3) Get the $193 GST return from TRS

You received $ 383 back, so the phone effectively cost you $1554.

This works with any portable electronics over $300.
 
My favourite topic: Saving money!

Using the figures quoted for the iPhone15 ProMax 256:
iPhone 15 Pro Max (256GB)$1,845$1,937$2,199

1) Buy Gift cards that can be used at JB Hifi from Woolies or Coles when they have 20x back in points. (TCN cards are currently on offer until 25 June, but frequently available usually once a month)
Purchase $1900 in gift cards and earn $190 worth of points, which you can use to buy food.

2) Purchase the phone for $1937 from JB and pay the $37 with cash or CC.

3) Get the $193 GST return from TRS

You received $ 383 back, so the phone effectively cost you $1554.

This works with any portable electronics over $300.
This is true but the downside is you can’t trade in your old iPhone unless you purchase direct with Apple. Which can take the changeover price down several hundred dollars further depending how old you current phone is.
 
Tip:

Buy the new phone at Apple and get a committed trade-in price for your old device, but tell them you will trade-in old phone in 2-3 days time when you have had a chance to transfer everything.

Get a receipt for full price which you can use at TRS for full GST reimbursement.

Take your trade-in in for a cash back at least 24 hours later and it will be on a seperate invoice/ receipt (which you don't need to show TRS).
 
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This is true but the downside is you can’t trade in your old iPhone unless you purchase direct with Apple. Which can take the changeover price down several hundred dollars further depending how old you current phone is.
Solution, buy Apple gift cards ( instead of JB GCs) from Cole’s or Woolworths when they have a 20 x points offer , then buy from Apple.
 
Buy discounted gift cards (Ultimate/TCN/Apple) from Woolies, use the gift cards to buy Apple devices from JB/HN/Apple, then claim TRS at airport.
 
When I wondered through Sydney airport on 12June looking at my preferred product

The price IMG_9044.jpeg

The Officeworkw price
IMG_2317.png

Without GST ought have been $642

So yeah defo not profit free
 
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This is true but the downside is you can’t trade in your old iPhone unless you purchase direct with Apple. Which can take the changeover price down several hundred dollars further depending how old you current phone is.
It can be even better....

As others have mentioned, can also get Apple gift cards, with the 20x points / 10% back.

If you time it right, can buy from Apple online using Cashback sites like Cashrewards, when a promo has the Cashback between 5 - 8 % (most recent was 5% on 13 June)

You can enter your trade-in there. The invoice for TRS, will be for the full amount; a refund will come later when the old phone is returned.

We should also note that JB price of $1937, is an EOFY special.
 
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Couple more tips, for the extra patient /extra stingy:

Around Xmas time, Coles typically sells Visa gift cards with a ±5% discount. These cards can be used at Woolies to buy the Apple Gift cards when they run the 20x points promo.

Depending on the Apple Product, sometimes the Apple EDU store has it cheaper. Since no student number is needed, it's easy to buy from there. (Sometimes Apple runs Back-to-school/uni promos, too.)
 
I bought a new iPhone 15 Pro Max 256Gb in Singapore for the equivalent of AUD$2300 after my phone was lost in Bali. I paid local tax on this purchase, but Customs in Australia wanted me to pay GST on this, which was a bit dodgy. Luckily I held my tongue and the lady said, that we get $900 each so that's close enough... Someone really needs to teach border force that just because you bought something overseas doesn't mean it was duty free.
 
I bought a new iPhone 15 Pro Max 256Gb in Singapore for the equivalent of AUD$2300 after my phone was lost in Bali. I paid local tax on this purchase, but Customs in Australia wanted me to pay GST on this, which was a bit dodgy. Luckily I held my tongue and the lady said, that we get $900 each so that's close enough... Someone really needs to teach border force that just because you bought something overseas doesn't mean it was duty free.
It doesn't matter if you if you bought the goods overseas at a wholesale or retail level, from a duty or tax free shop or from a local appliance store that has included all that country's relevant duties and taxes in the sale price. What you actually paid for the goods is the starting point for valuing them. If the price you paid included an amount for local duties or taxes that amount is still part of their value.
 
It doesn't matter if you if you bought the goods overseas at a wholesale or retail level, from a duty or tax free shop or from a local appliance store that has included all that country's relevant duties and taxes in the sale price. What you actually paid for the goods is the starting point for valuing them. If the price you paid included an amount for local duties or taxes that amount is still part of their value.
Yes, and the “fair ware and tear“ never worked for stuff bought OS (unlike some leeway on TRS - as discussed here).

There’s a long overdue review needed of the DF allowance. From memory - going back a while, the allowance was doubled from $400(?), maybe $450(?) to the current $900 and it’s been that for 15? maybe 20? years….
 
You're too honest @MikeG ;) Unless they went through your bags and found a box/receipt, how would they ever know that you'd bought the phone in SIN, SYD or anywhere else that sells Apple products?
 
I bought a new iPhone 15 Pro Max 256Gb in Singapore for the equivalent of AUD$2300 after my phone was lost in Bali. I paid local tax on this purchase, but Customs in Australia wanted me to pay GST on this, which was a bit dodgy. Luckily I held my tongue and the lady said, that we get $900 each so that's close enough... Someone really needs to teach border force that just because you bought something overseas doesn't mean it was duty free.


It doesn't matter if you if you bought the goods overseas at a wholesale or retail level, from a duty or tax free shop or from a local appliance store that has included all that country's relevant duties and taxes in the sale price. What you actually paid for the goods is the starting point for valuing them. If the price you paid included an amount for local duties or taxes that amount is still part of their value.

Just to add to Ozduck's post, my understanding is that the local tax paid does not count towards the duties owed to the AU government. That is, there is no "double taxation offset" on AU GST just because you might have paid local sales tax on the item while overseas.

It is up to the traveller to claim any tax refund from the country of purchase (if available) to ensure they don't get double taxed. For the case of Singapore, this would be at the airport through the SG TRS system: Tourist Refund Scheme
 
Just to add to Ozduck's post, my understanding is that the local tax paid does not count towards the duties owed to the AU government. That is, there is no "double taxation offset" on AU GST just because you might have paid local sales tax on the item while overseas.

It is up to the traveller to claim any tax refund from the country of purchase (if available) to ensure they don't get double taxed. For the case of Singapore, this would be at the airport through the SG TRS system: Tourist Refund Scheme
Once you import something over $1k (whether in person or in the post) your in the realms of import duty. Which I believe is a flat rate of 5% plus 10% GST on the ‘transaction value’, “which is the price the importer actually paid” (that would include local taxes?).

I’m certainly not an expert! But more than happy to be corrected.
 

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