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Tourist Refund Scheme

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simongr

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Hi all (again)
Just a quick question on people's experience of the TRS. I am planning to buy a video camera (likely to be a JVC HDD camera Everio MG77 maybe - $1149) shortly and take advantage of the TRS. As I understood it, I have to buy it here on one tax invoice with a total value of all items on the tax invoice of over $300. As the product will be over $1000 I need the tax invoice addressed to me. I need to carry the product with me onto the plane.
I have a couple of questions though.

1 - Brining the product back to Oz. The customs website ( Advice for travellers ) says:

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.
Now based on the fact that the camera willbe over $900 (the duty free limit on "imports" I think) will I have to redeclare the camera and then pay back the GST that I was just refunded?

2 - Packaging

I have heard that you need to carry the items in their original packaging. Is this really necessary? Its not mentioned on the website (linked above) and it will just bulk up my hand luggage and I wont need to take everything with me anyway.

Cheers

S
 

one9

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simongr said:
Now based on the fact that the camera willbe over $900 (the duty free limit on "imports" I think) will I have to redeclare the camera and then pay back the GST that I was just refunded?
Officially I believe you should declarte the item when you arrive back in Australia. But realistically, I think not many people would.

simongr said:
2 - Packaging

I have heard that you need to carry the items in their original packaging. Is this really necessary? Its not mentioned on the website (linked above) and it will just bulk up my hand luggage and I wont need to take everything with me anyway.
No, you do not need to take the packaging, but you need to take all major components of the item.
 

serfty

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You should be OK; there have been reports on this board that USED items may be subject to Depreciation discount of 20%. Your TRS claim on $1149 would be about $105 so the assessable value of the camera would be ($1149-$105)x20%=$835.

Here is the post about this from infoworks: WARNING! Duty Free allowance into Australia. (NM also refers to the discount whithin the same thread in an earlier post.)
 
Last edited:

Alan in CBR

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A couple of years ago I phoned Customs about a similar issue. As serfty said, there is an allowed depreciation for goods which have been used while you are away. The actual depreciation depended on the time away, so it would be worth giving them a call. (Edited to add: ... and serfty's edited post may remove the need for a phone call :D)
 

simongr

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Thanks again - I just checked out the cameras again and I might plump for one that is $990 :) Thats more for useability reasons than for tax benefits :) Mind you I guess if I want to stay below $900 (and not risk the whole non-declaration thing) I wont be able to spend $199 on the extra battery...
 

garyjohn951

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Buy the battery o/s, they are same price in Singapore ot HK as in Melb without gst.
Also the value of $900 is before gst. therefore if you pay 990 and claim the 90, you are right on the mark.
 

simongr

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Subject to the 20% depreciation charge though the combined battery and camera (even if bought separately) would be over the $900.

FYI I am going to NZ so not sure what prices are like there :)
 

coco50

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I have had a good experience with TRS in July. Bought a camera and some peripherals (card reader, memory card etc.) from a shop on lay-by between April and June. The shop said to make last payment within 30 days of travel os. This allowed time to "play" with the camera and learn how to use it. They would then issue tax invoice that complied with TRS requirements. When I went through SYD, only had to show camera - they were not interested in the peripherals. To credit funds to a bank account - 7 days; to a credit card - 3 days. Did not declare goods on way back. No problems, and came back with some great pictures from Hawaii - especially of the volcano Haleakala on Maui:)
 

NM

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The only time I have used the TRS was to purchase a watch a few years ago. I dod not require the original packaging. In fact, I was wearing the watch at the time I went to the TRS counter. I didn't even need to take it off my wrist, just waived it around and they paid up.
 

serfty

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simongr said:
Subject to the 20% depreciation charge though the combined battery and camera (even if bought separately) would be over the $900.

FYI I am going to NZ so not sure what prices are like there :)
Here's a couple of web site that can get you started:

Duty Free Stores New Zealand - Duty Free NZ - Free delivery to all New Zealand airports

Regency Duty Free New Zealand Shopping - cigarettes, alcohol, tobacco & digital cameras ...

Join their clubs and get a further 5%(elec)-20%(Booze, Cigs) off ... I have.
 

Thudd

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Aug 22, 2006
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My experience has been that if you're straight up and don't try to be smart then they'll play fair with you. For example, I bought a heap of camera gear which I duly claimed the tax back for at the airport on departure, but all up it was WELL over the duty free limit. They suggested that it would be best to declare it on the way back in otherwise I ran the risk of having to pay duty on the whole kit if I was caught. So being an essential honest person *cough* I duly declared it on my return. The nice man at customs looked at the amount, calculated a fudge factor then took "depreciation" off of that and signed it all off as being OK. (read: couldn't be bothered doing the paperwork, heh)

Other times when I've brought in items that were just over the limit they figure it's close enough and just let me through. I've never paid duty yet on anything!
 

N860CR

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I guess it's a case of "only matters if you get caught". I went to NZ a few months ago and took a new laptop, GPS and mobile phone and claimed over $5000. Nobody said a word when I arrived back (I didn't declare it though). I just figured, how are they to know how old my phone is or how long I've had my laptop for.

If you're travelling overseas, most people will take a camera anyway so it's unlikely to set off any alarms when you arrive back.
 

chrisb

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danielribo said:
I guess it's a case of "only matters if you get caught". I went to NZ a few months ago and took a new laptop, GPS and mobile phone and claimed over $5000. Nobody said a word when I arrived back (I didn't declare it though). I just figured, how are they to know how old my phone is or how long I've had my laptop for.

If you're travelling overseas, most people will take a camera anyway so it's unlikely to set off any alarms when you arrive back.
To me, this is a really dangerous position to take - By using the TRS you are effectively telling customs all of the stuff you are LIKELY to return into the country and hence should declare. You're probably lucky they're not doing this data matching.

Personally, i've only used TRS once, for a mobile phone that was carried in my pocket without any packaging - I showed them and it was all processed quickly. Note: they need ORIGINAL receipts. Anything else and you will be rejected.

Chrisb.
 

Tiki

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Jul 21, 2004
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You can pool with family members if they are travelling with you. I plan on using this to get a new laptop before our Christmas cruise. Together, we can bring $1800 worth of stuff back.
 

Mal

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I've also only used TRS once in the last couple of years.

The value of the product was circa $500.

This time I have a $720 item to put through and get my ~$70 back.

It is worth it most of the time. The only issue for me is that I don't tend to make big ticket item (sub $900 but still over $400) purchases just before heading away. Plus of course I never know what I'm planning to buy overseas!

The concept of data matching has always scared me away from claiming over $8/900 worth of goods. I don't want to be pinged especially since data matching could be done so easily.
 

kpc

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Mar 11, 2003
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Declare Declare Declare!!!...if you are bringing goods back into Australia worth $900 or more, esp. if bought duty free in Australia or you have claimed back the GST through TRS....let me tell you from personal experience that they DO data match, and the penalties if caught, are quite expensive, not to mention the embarassment:oops:.

I always now declare if >$900 and they give a generous 20% depreciation if you have used the item (even if it is for only for a few days) and DECLARE it! Remember, personal clothing items are duty/ tax free and are not included in the $900.
 

Febs

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Aug 15, 2006
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Hi guys,

I've read this thread (thanks for all the useful tips) and read through the Customs site extensively, but I just want to clarify something.

Say I'm travelling overseas and I purchase $1,100 worth of camera gear (digicam + DV cam). I claim $100 via the TRS as I depart Australia.

Then on my way back, can I assume that my goods, which are now used, and worth (according to Customs):
($1,100 - $100) * 0.8 = $800

..are under the $900 threshold, and provided I don't purchase any other personal items overseas, I can tick "no" to the relevant box on the customs declaration?

What if the original value was $1,400? The TRS would be ~$127, so the value of the goods coming into the country would be:
($1,400 - $127) * 0.8 = approx $1,018

Am I then taxed on the whole amount ($1,018), or just $118 (being the current value, minus the $900 threshold)?

Thanks guys. Depending on how it works, I may just only declare one purchase for the TRS (ie: the DV cam and all accessories, but not the digital still camera).

Cheers,
- Febs.
 

vt

Member
Joined
Mar 9, 2006
Messages
220
The full amount will be taxed febs.

I would rather buy 1400 worth of camera overseas though.:mrgreen: Just make sure everything is working before you leave the country.:D

On another note...I understand everyine trying to do the right thing and declare BUT, when I got enagaged, it happened to be a time I was doing fortnightly international commutes :evil::evil::D:D
 

simongr

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Jul 10, 2006
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When I went through this recently the woman in front of me had a $4000 ring which she was trying to claim back on. The customs officer asked if she was coming back to the country and explained that she would have to declare it - and if she didnt then they would know as they cross check on return... She was very helpful with me as the product was only $1,000, I had all my paperwork ready and I spoke english...
 

vt

Member
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Mar 9, 2006
Messages
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ahhh....so you were travelling together...that would explain.

I was alone....there assumption may have been that I had someone in NZ.
 
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