Smart Tourism: How to maximise your GST refund in Australia with Tourpay
International travellers, and even Australian citizens, have an exciting opportunity to receive a GST refund on many goods bought in Australia through the Tourist Refund Scheme (TRS). Tourists are able to receive money back on purchases at the airport as they leave the country. Nevertheless, as with many things that appear to be “too good to be true” on the surface, there is a catch. Apart from all of the restrictions on which types of goods are eligible for GST refunds (see full list of prohibited items here: https://www.abf.gov.au/entering-and-leaving-australia/tourist-refund-scheme), there is also a minimum purchase amount requirement. The Australian government requires that an individual spend at least AUD 300 (including Goods and Services Tax (GST) in total from a single supplier with the same Australian Business Number (ABN) in order to be eligible for a GST refund. In other words, if you spend AUD 280 on a designer purse, and do not purchase any other items from that store, you are not eligible to receive a GST refund. If you make several purchases from a single store, resulting in a total of AUD 300 or more, you are able to take advantage of the TRS. For example, if you purchase a purse for AUD 280 from a store and purchase a jacket for AUD 200 from the same store later, then you are able to combine the purchases under the same ABN to meet the AUD 300 minimum, making a GST refund possible.
What if you want to spend your money in different stores across the country during your stay?
Australia has so much to offer—thousands of brands to choose from. Most tourists want to see it all, explore different brands, rather than make all of their purchases in a single store. Unfortunately, with the current Tourist Refund Scheme app, tourists are not rewarded for this kind of behaviour. A tourist may spend more than AUD 300 on eligible items; however, if these purchases are spread across multiple retailers (not adding up to AUD 300 individually) then the tourist is not able to receive a GST refund. Due to the fact that the purchases were made at separate stores, they are listed under different ABNs on the tourist’s invoice.
What if you could combine your purchases from separate retailers to receive credit for all of the purchases that you make?
After all, if your purchases are equal to or greater than AUD 300, then you should be allowed to receive GST refunds. Tourpay is the solution to this dilemma. Aligning retailers under a singular ABN, Tourpay circumvents the current single supplier AUD 300 minimum for the benefit of both tourists and retailers. As long as shoppers spend a total of 300 AUD at Tourpay retailers, they are eligible for GST refunds. As a result, individuals have more autonomy in deciding how much money they spend, where they spend it, and when they spend it. By accomplishing this, Tourpay gives the power back to the people.
Through a user-friendly app available for iPhone and Android, Tourpay is making the Tourist Refund Scheme work for everyone. On the app, users are able to keep track of everything that they need to make a claim in one centralised location including their electronic invoice, passport and boarding pass. Similar to the Tourist Refund Scheme app created by the Australian government, the Tourpay app provides users with a unique QR code that speeds up the GST process at the airport. However, unlike the TRS app, Tourpay users do not have to manually input their invoice information. Rather, the invoices are automatically uploaded to the app at the time of check out.
For international travellers, time is precious. Who wants to spend time entering invoice information when they can see more of Australia instead? In addition, Tourpay recognises that for many international travellers, English is not their primary language. Considering the fact that all invoices are printed in English, along with all instructions on the TRS app, the current GST process can be overwhelming.
This seems like it is great for travellers, but how does it benefit the participating retailers?
It is simple—if a retailer partners with Tourpay, they are more likely to receive business from travellers. Through the Tourpay website, users are provided with information about participating retailers along with store location information. It is a no-brainer for a tourist to choose a store that has potential for GST refunds over one which does not. Thus, participating retailers have a significant edge over their competitors.
In addition, no extra leg work is required from the retailer in order to provide the customer with an invoice. In fact, the process is simplified by cutting out the need for a paper tax invoice. Similar to the way in which customers are currently expected to alert the cashier at the time of check out if they would like to receive a paper invoice, a Tourpay invoice is processed electronically at the time of checkout when requested by a customer. Tourpay provides each participating retailer with advanced technology that allows for a speedy process, equivalent to a normal check out. Cashiers simply scan the customer’s member ID on their Tourpay app, then scan the item which they are purchasing.
There are no other applications that perform this same function for the traveller or the retailer. Making the GST refund process more user-friendly to all, Tourpay provides great, unexplored advantages for both travellers and retailers. Currently, travellers are missing out on a large opportunity to receive money back on purchases that they are already making. Meanwhile, retailers are missing an enormous opportunity to market their business to travellers. This innovative technology will, without a doubt, usher in a new age of tourism for Australia.