So you’ve recently been engaged, or just about to be, and planning that big overseas holiday? Fiji? Hawaii? Europe perhaps? Well it’s not uncommon to think about the potentially huge GST returns that are eligible to travellers leaving the country.
It’s a very common question on the minds of young starry eyed couples, and of cou
rse it should be. A 10 percent saving on a large purchase such as an engagement ring could very often be $1,500+. So it’s no surprise it’s something that is frequently asked.
So are Australians who are travelling overseas for a holiday eligible for the Tourist Refund Scheme? In short, no.
For example, one of the most common scenarios I hear is when a young man wishes to propose to his wife overseas, let’s just say in this case the ring cost is $10,000 inclusive of GST. The GST component of this amount is approximately $909, which is the amount that could be claimed.
Now let’s just assume that in this case the young man decided to claim the GST, he would receive $909 in his bank account. They go overseas, get engaged, all is well. NOW, upon returning to Australia they are now importing a piece that was intended to remain overseas in a tax free state. This, as would anything over $1,000, that is being imported into Australia would attract GST and perhaps duties (on finished jewellery this is 5%).
If they are Australian citizens and never intend on returning, then that’s fine, they can claim their GST and enjoy their $909 wherever they please.
But in the majority of instances this is simply not the case. I’ve heard far too many stories of people getting caught, getting a mark put against their name and having to pay the penalties associated. Customs officials are not stupid, they have seen this kind of thing hundreds of times before and know the game.
If you are an Australian, intending to return to Australia, don’t bother trying to claim the refund on your jewellery. Doesn’t matter what your jeweller tries to tell you, you’re not allowed to do it and you’re facing a hefty penalty for comparably little gain.
Unfortunately, tax is one of the certainties in life, and we all have to pay it. Best just to pay it and enjoy your beautiful jewellery!
For more information please see the official Department of Immigration website.