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I was wondering if you buy an item in Australia and then travel overseas with it, when you are returning back to australia do you have to pay tax on it if the items are worth more than 900$ limit? If i travel with my laptop, mobile and camera (easily worth more than 1000$) that i bought in Australia (used items), do i have to pay GST or duty again when i am coming back to Australia with them? What about the items that i bought in Australia and claimed TRS on it but used it overseas and then travelling back with it (now worth less than 1000$?) Thanks.

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In general, the answer is no, personal goods that you take with you overseas are not subject to tax when you return to Australia (I'm assuming you live in Australia). Most of the time, there won't be a question about your personal goods. However, if for some reason you are carrying multiple similar items (eg. 3 laptops) or expensive equipment (eg. $20,000 video camera), then to be safe you should let Customs know about these items before you leave Australia.

See the Crossing the Border page for more details:

If you are departing Australia with expensive items (such as computers, cameras and video cameras) and you intend to bring them back to Australia, register these items on the B263 Goods exported in passenger baggage form (633KB PDF).

For the TRS part of your question, the following page appears to explain: Bringing goods back into Australia for which you have already claimed a TRS refund

If the total value of the goods you are bringing into Australia that you purchased overseas or for which you have claimed a refund under TRS is greater than your passenger concession:

  • you must declare all of the goods
  • you will need to repay the GST refund back on the goods you claimed under the TRS
  • duty and GST will apply to all items purchased, not just goods over the limit of your passenger concession.

There is no mention of depreciated value of goods brought into Australia, even if you bought them before leaving.

  • This is correct for the first part of the question, but wrong for the second part. Goods claimed under TRS DO need to be declared, and you will need to pay GST on them if they push you over the $900 limit. – Doc Mar 4 at 2:13
  • So I pay GST only on the items that i claimed GST on through TRS? – Sam Mar 4 at 2:18
  • and, do I have to all of GST back or do they assess the depreciated value? Lets say if i bought a laptop worth 1700$, used a month before travelling and when travelling abroad claimed GST on the sale through TRS. When i am returning back to australia after a month, do i have to pay all of GST again? because my laptop is used now and is not worth 1700$ anymore. At max it is worth around 1200$ (300$ above the allowed limit). – Sam Mar 4 at 2:28
  • I have updated my answer with information I was able to find about TRS. – Greg Hewgill Mar 4 at 2:34
  • Your update re: TRS is good - I was going to point out your first comment is wrong (you don't need to declare all goods claimed under the TRS, just if you exceed the threshold), but the details in your actual post is correct. My wife and I just went through this process ourselves. – dlanod Mar 20 at 2:52

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