The Indirect Tax Concession Scheme (ITCS) allows missions, posts headed by career consuls and privileged individuals to claim refunds of the following taxes on goods and services they purchase in Australia:
- Wine Equalisation Tax (WET)
- excise duty
ITCS benefits are extended to each country’s mission, posts and privileged individuals on a reciprocal basis — that is, Australia’s mission, posts and privileged individuals in that country enjoy broadly comparable tax concessions.
Full details of the ITCS — how it works, each country’s entitlements, what is and is not covered and how to claim refunds — can be found on the website of the Australian Taxation Office (ATO). Note: claims by privileged individuals must be included in claims submitted by missions or posts; they cannot be submitted by individuals. Refunds are paid to a single nominated mission or post bank account.
For alcohol and tobacco products purchased under the ITCS, current six month limits are:
- missions and posts for official use: 260 litres of spirits, liqueurs or spirituous liquors, 1,000 litres of beer and 20,000 cigarettes
- privileged individuals for personal use: half the above mission/post entitlements.
Missions seeking to enter the ITCS should contact Protocol Branch firstname.lastname@example.org. As a general rule, missions and posts will be offered the standard plus package, provided broadly reciprocal benefits are available to Australia in their countries.
6.2.1 Construction and renovation arrangements
GST refunds in connection with construction and renovation projects require separate arrangements under the ITCS. Missions wishing to enter into such an arrangement should contact Protocol Branch at an early stage before the project commences. Key points to note:
- the work should relate to chancery or office premises, or the official residence of a head of mission or post
- the total cost of the project must be at least A$10,000
- concessions are agreed on a reciprocal basis.
6.2.2 Disposal of goods purchased under privilege
If goods purchased under privilege are disposed of — that is, sold, lent, hired, gifted, exchanged or traded — to/with a non-privileged person in Australia within two years (three years for motor vehicles) of importation or purchase, the mission, post or privileged individual will be required to pay customs duty and taxes (less depreciation for the period of ownership).