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How to get cash back on an overseas holiday

(Photo by Denis Doyle/Getty Images)

Many countries these days willingly give money back to visitors as an incentive for travellers to go shopping and contribute to the local economy.

Even Australians that have bought something in Australia can claim the GST back when departing for an overseas holiday.

But these ‘tourist rebate’, ‘tax refund’ or ‘VAT free’ schemes all have different rules depending on the nation, so it can be hard work to take advantage.

"An estimated 11.1 million Aussies returned from short stays overseas last year, and I suspect a significant proportion made the most of duty-free shopping," said comparethemarket.com.au finance spokesperson Rod Attrill.

"However, many tourists could be making additional savings by taking advantage of tourist rebates for goods bought both overseas and back in Australia."

These are the 9 tips that comparethemarket.com.au offers for those wanting to get some money back on their next overseas trip:

1. Know the required minimum spend to be eligible for a tax rebate. This could be total or per store.

2. Know the required maximum spend to be eligible for a rebate. For example, overseas purchases that are brought back to Australia must not exceed AU$900 if you want a rebate.

3. Know the goods you can’t claim against in your country of travel. In the UK, for instance, you can claim a 20 per cent VAT refund on most goods and services except for basic food items, books and children’s clothing.

4. Have your passport at the time of purchase. To be able to claim a tourist rebate, you will need to prove that you are a tourist.

5. Know where to claim in each country. It could be at the shop or at the international airport.

6. Pay attention to the time of your purchase. In Europe, you must leave the EU with the goods you are claiming a rebate on within three months of purchase.

7. Know which stores offer rebates. Even if a country offers VAT refunds, you need to check with individual stores to find out of if they participate in the scheme.

8. Find out if you need to take your purchase out of the country. Some countries base their rebate schemes on items that leave the country permanently, while purchases in other countries can’t be taken overseas if you want the rebate, period.

9. You might be required to carry the goods in your hand luggage. Most countries require you to present the goods that you are claiming a rebate on or carry it with you.

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