SYDNEY, Australia -- Tourists to Australia are now subject to a new
The 10% nationwide goods and services tax, which went into
effect July 1, will be passed on to travelers who pay for packaged
tours, hotel rooms and other services.
International and domestic air tickets bought overseas are
exempt, but domestic air tickets bought in Australia are subject to
There is a refund system in place at international airports for
tourists, but it only applies to goods taken as hand luggage when
leaving the country.
The tax replaces a wholesale goods tax and various hotel bed
taxes that ranged from 5% to 10%.
Tour operators like Newmans South Pacific Vacations and
Inta-Aussie South Pacific Tours already added the 10% to their
Prices will rise for independent travelers, but not by more than
"We have proposed that international visitors to this country
contribute to the tax revenue of this country, just as Australians
contribute to taxes of other countries when they visit there," said
Jackie Kelly, Australia's minister for sport and tourism.
Kelly made the comments during the annual Australia Tourism
Exchange here in June.
Visitors who get a tax invoice on request from retailers -- not
a cash register receipt -- can get a refund in cash or in the form
of a check, credit to an Australian bank account or payment to a
credit card, which will be paid in 30 days.
The refund does not apply to goods and services consumed in
Australia, such as a hotel room or food, and is only available on
goods that total more than $300 in Australian currency.
In getting the refund at the airport, tourists will be asked to
show the tax invoice, their passport and an international boarding
Cruises that include a port other than Australia are exempt from
the tax, but those that visit only Australian ports will be subject
to the 10% tax.
International travel insurance is not subject to the tax.
There are several Web sites that have information on the new
Australian Tourist Commission: www.2000.australia.com
Australian Taxation Office: www.taxreform.ato.gov.au
Tourist Refund Scheme: www.customs.gov.au
Ansett Australia: www.ansett.com.au
Qantas Airways: www.qantas.com.au