Claiming TRS at Melbourne Airport - How Much Extra Time Should I Allow?

Hi all,

Looking for some advice. Claiming some GST back thru TRS and was wondering how much extra time I need to allow to queue up and get the refund? Also, is it faster if I do it online first? I've heard both lines can be just as long. I'd like to hear some ozbargainers' experiences and advice.

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  • Not sure about Melbourne but it took about 20 mins the last time I did it at Sydney airport (2 years ago) maybe quicker if you have the app.

    NEW mobile and web TRS apps

    The mobile and web Tourist Refund Scheme (TRS) applications (apps) allow you to enter the information required to lodge a TRS claim.

    Using the apps you can enter:

    your travel details
    details of the goods for which you are claiming a refund of Goods and Services Tax (GST) and/or Wine Equalisation Tax (WET), and
    how you prefer to receive your TRS refund.
    The information will be stored in a QR code. This QR code is your TRS claim code. You must present your TRS claim code to an officer at the TRS facility on your departure from Australia.
    If you successfully enter your claim details using the web app, you will be able to use a dedicated queue at the TRS facility and your claim should be processed faster.

    How do I access the apps?
    Access the web app at My TRS Claim.
    Download the Android version of the mobile app from Google Play.
    Download the IOS version of the mobile app from the Apple App Store.
    Download the Windows version of the mobile app from the Windows Phone Store.

  • +2

    I'd say an extra 1-1.5 hours.
    My experience was the following:

    When I did it I waited for 40 minutes, there were 3 people serving at the desk then one left declaring "my shift is over". You are correct both lines can be and were be just as long as each other.

    If I hadn't been served about 10 minutes after that I would have left the line. My flight was on final call and I decided a refund of $70 wasn't worth missing my flight for.

    Of course it depends on the time of day, the security line, the customs line as to how long it will take you to get to the TRS desk.

    I was traveling on the late night Etihad flight departing at 11:30 pm. Maybe during the day there are more staff around.

    So tl;dr you probably want to leave an extra 1 - 1.5 hours just in case.

    • +1

      I agree with this recommendation, especially if you're travelling during peak times.

      I once missed a TRS claim during the Christmas period when the queues were very, very long. Would have probably taken close to two hours from back to front. And I was also on the Etihad night flight.

      • I once missed a TRS claim during the Christmas period when the queues were very, very long.

        Would have probably taken close to two hours from back to front. And I was also on the Etihad night flight.

        I'm surprised they don't have more staff on at that time. There are several late night flights and it would make sense.

        Compared to Europe or somewhere like Singapore our tax refund system is a joke.

        • Why bother having more staff at odd times paying them higher wages when they'd save money on both a) less staff and b) less refunds issued because of passengers wanting to catch their flights? See, not so surprising after all, is it?

  • +2

    To be on the safer side, I would allow an extra hour. Remember this is not including security and immigration.

    I've done the online thing whilst lining up before. It takes a couple of minutes. It should be faster, but sometimes that line takes just as long.

    To be honest, if everyone who is claiming had all their items, receipts, and claim details organised and ready, each claim should take less than 30 seconds. It's always the one person that doesn't that holds up an officer for literally 40 minutes that can really slow the line.
    That and the many people who take 3-4 minutes each because they don't have their gear ready and fumble and take ages once it's their turn at the counter.

  • I was there last week…was on queue for less than a minute…but it was late at night (almost 11pm). I had a QR code…but the other line was just as short.

    A year ago, also late at night, took half an hour without the QR code.

  • When you're there, if there's a long queue, check to see if they have the form-based system. It's available at Brisbane Airport and is as fast as you filling up a form. No queues at all, unless there aren't enough forms or table space to fill up the forms on.

    After immigration, head to the TRS counter with the forms. In BNE it's right at the start of the place where you queue up.

    Fill up the form. It'll ask for the usual details - passport number, name, etc. Write down the number of invoices you're submitting - 1, 2, etc.

    Write down the refund payment method - credit card, Australian bank account, or cheque, then sign the declaration.

    Put the form and your receipts in the envelope provided and insert it into the box.

    A few weeks later you'll receive the refund in your account, and the invoices back in the mail.

    Nobody asks to see the item. Seems like such a loophole. Hopefully no one exploits it.

    • yes, sydney also had this type of TRS form based claim last year. People could exploit it but limited to invoice of Max $1000 (ie GST of $100 and anything above, u have to queue up)

  • 20 mins- If you plan to fill in the form yourself, there's people there to help you, either on their app or with a paper form.
    1-2 hrs, if you plan to line up so that they put your claim directly intp computer.

  • Took me like 5 minutes when I had a straight forward - heres the receipt, heres my card - done.

  • +4

    Can be 1 minute, can be 1.5 hours, depends if you are leaving with other Chinese depatures…..

    • Snap!

  • +1

    Last time, the staff I met was very patient, she checked every piece of item I claimed (more than 80 items, most of them are clothes), matching the brand, module with the invoice extremely carefully (and slowly). Eventually she found two mistakes in the invoice and declined those two.
    It took around one hour(not including the time I waited in the queue). And the queue behind me is like 20 meters long. I saw several guys gave up waiting in the queue.

    • Wow, last time I went with the family and had about 10-15 items? The guy didn't even check, just stamped everything and gave us the refund.
      I told him I left a camera battery at home and he was like 'that's okay' and even refunded the GST for that!

    • +3

      Last time, the staff I met was very patient, she checked every piece of item I claimed (more than 80 items, most of them are clothes),

      Seriously 80 items of clothing???. W.T.F.

      People who "gave up" were probably about to miss their flight like me.

  • hey, perfect timing for this.
    what hours are the open? are they normally like 5am> midnight ?
    I will be flying out of Brisbane next month

  • Depends on when you fly, and the destination. I give myself around 45min extra time so I don't start sweating when boarding time is near.
    I was heading to New Zealand, and I waited <20min in the express line. There was 2 people serving the express line and only 1 at the normal line.
    From my personal experience, the express line is faster than the normal line…

    • thanks mate.

  • I have had 4 claiming experiences at Melb TRS in the past 2 years. All were morning experiences b/n 9am and midday. From the time you joined the Claim queue, it took us at least 45 mins. One time we had to give up otherwise we would have missed our flight and the last time, a bunch of people left the queue for the same reason, enabling us to get our claim processed otherwise 5 mins longer, we would have to bail too. Pre-processing online doesn't help much as there's always tourists who line up in the wrong queue so it's longer than what it should be! I would allow 1 hour if your flight is a morning flight and your claim $ is worth it. I have never seen the TRS queue with less than 10 people and this includes other flights where I wasn't claiming.

  • Filled out my forms online and had a midnight flight on a week day at Tulla. I was the only one at the counter about 45 mins before my flight. Took less than a minute to have the officer process the claim.

    This was early Jan btw.

  • Heya thanks all for the replies, I'm in the queue now, 2 hours before my flight :) will let you know how long it takes.

  • The two lines look just as long as each other but the non online claim line snakes around so it is a bit longer. Also I have already seen two people line up in the wrong line. One got sent to the back of the line and the other talked his way into not lining up again. :/

  • Took me half an hour the last time. 2 people serving at the counters

  • Took bout 40 minutes. Thanks all for sharing your experiences.

  • Can someone please tell me where the TRS counter is located in Melbourne Airport.
    I mean.. can I do it before checking in? My parents visited us and is leaving(he may need some assistance).

    • No it's after security so you will not be able to get to the TRS counter if you are not traveling. If you do it all online and have the QR code it's pretty simple. Show QR code, tax invoice and product.

      • What's the URL for that one?

    • And make sure they have a credit card to receive the chargeback.

  • Hey did you end up doing this? Can anyone tell me the exact location of the desk? I want to pre-plan it all out for my girl, to save her time (and ensure she does it) for her iphone.

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