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How travellers can save 10% on a new MacBook with the TRS rebate

By David Flynn     Filed under: shopping, Apple, iPad, airport, apple ipad, duty free, Apple iPad 2, iPad 2

Heading online or into the shops to grab one of Apple's new iPads, MacBook Air or MacBook Pro laptops, and also heading overseas in the coming month?

You can shave 10% off the cost of your iDevice by using the Tourist Refund Scheme (or TRS) to get a rebate on the GST component of the iPad's price tag at any Australian international airport.

That means putting anywhere from $54 to $90 back in your pocket, depending on which iPad 2 you buy – from the cheapest Wi-Fi 16GB iPad (which retails at $539) to the flagship 4G/WiFi 64GB model with its $899 price tag.

Likewise, at $1,099 for the entry-level MacBook Air you'll get back almost $100 – and close to $300 for the flagship 15 inch MacBook Pro with its 'Retina' display.

It's the next best thing to getting a 10% discount at the cash register.

The TSR rebate also applies to any accessories you buy from Apple at the same time, provided they appear on the same invoice. This is a neat way of getting around the rebate's $300 minimum purchase limit for lower-priced items like covers and other accessories.

And of course, it applies to laptops and tabets from other manufacturers too!

Here's what you need to know to score the TRS refund on your new kit.

1. The device has to be bought within 30 days of your departure from Australia. Leave on the 31st day and you'll miss out. If you've got a trip planned for the next four weeks you're in the clear to go shopping tomorrow.

2. If you spend over $1,000 your name and address must be on the invoice. This is not normal practice at many stores so don't be caught out.

3. All the gear you wish to claim a rebate on must be packed as carry-on baggage. You can’t stow them in your checked luggage. That's because you need to present the gear at the airport TRS office.

The TRS refund offices are located past customs at the airport (called ‘airside’, in travelgeek-speak) so you’ll need to check in for your flight and make your way through customs before heading to the TSR refund office. There can be a bit of a queue so allow plenty of time – get to the airport extra-early and make the TRS office your first call, even before you hit the lounge.

Show the TRS officers your gear and your invoice, and hand over your credit card or bank account details so the 10% GST can be refunded (you can also ask for a cheque, but that can take three weeks to be processed and posted to you).

Here’s where we have to sound a caveat. The TRS is intended for products that are not coming back into Australia. In the case of locals this usually means you’ve bought a gift for family, friends or colleagues overseas.

For more on the TRS rebate scheme, visit the site or download this PDF.


About David Flynn

David Flynn is the editor of Australian Business Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.


Have something to say? Post a comment now!

1 on 8/3/12 by kikoenaivoice

You dont technically save 10% as the title suggests. You save 9.09% (10/11). If going through TRS, they will deduct a surcharge afterwhich you actually only save about 6%. If you want to claim the full GST amount, best just to buy at a duty free store either at the airside of the terminal or downtown (like first duty free or JR duty free if they carry the products).

1 on 8/3/12 by David

I don't believe the TRS includes a cut for their own pocket - that might be (indeed, it is) the case in many other countries, but in Australia you get the full amount back.

2 on 11/3/12 by edy4eva

What you're saying about TRS deducting a surcharge is not true. I've claimed countless of times and got the full GST amount indicated on the invoice into my bank account, no fees or surcharges were deducted.

I agree with you on the 9.09% bit.

The article needs to mention that if you bring back the goods (with a value of $1000+) into Australia you may be asked to pay back the GST on them. Though this occurence is really low, a friend of mine got held on his return at MEL for a $1100 laptop he had bought before his trip. The officer told him off but let him go.

1 on 11/3/12 by Al

You'd have to be a bit silly or terminally honest to declare bringing your TRS-discounted laptop back into the country! I follow the advice of a mate whos done this many times, you bring the laptop in the box etc to the airport but leave behind anything you don't need (like re-install DVD), the laptop being in the box makes it look legit to TRS. Then when they have processed your rebate you head to the lounge and dump the box and everything else you don't need, all you have left is the laptop and AC adaptor, put that in your bag and nobody has any way of knowing this is a brand-new laptop bought a few days ago in Australia!

3 on 11/3/12 by Al

I have used the TRS rebate many times Kiko and always got 100% back, they don't take a cut.

2 on 5/7/12 by Nick

has anyone been stung with duty coming back into the country with the same device?  surely they must know 99% of people do this?

1 on 5/7/12 by Al

Nick, that's never happened to me or any of my mates who've used this TRS rebate on the way out of Australia.

1 on 13/7/12 by Nick

Al, this is what I thought would be the case... and good to hear anecdotal support.

I'm holding off a purchase of a new MBA until 30 days before my next USA trip :)


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