Reviewed by Annapoorna | Updated on May 19, 2023


What is Duty?

Duty can either be a form of taxation or a personal obligation. Tax charged on other goods, services, or transactions may be a privilege. Duties are enforceable by statute and are levied independently of people on goods or financial transactions.

Duties can also be used for defining the responsibility of a person in authority. For example, a fiduciary's duty is to fulfil the duties of his or her position.

Understanding Duty under Taxation

A customs or import duty is a tax or tariff levied on goods shipped through foreign frontiers. This type of duty aims to provide a form of trade security for the employment, economy, climate, and other interests of each country by regulating merchandise inflow and outflow. Tariffs can be levied on restrictive and forbidden goods transported in and out of a country.

The duty rate for the customs is a percentage determined by the total purchased value of the goods paid in another country. The product's price, size, or weight are not deciding factors. The United States 'Harmonized Tariff System is used domestically as a reference point for applicable tariffs on goods imported into the country.

For other cases, such as the duty-free shop at an airport, this type of duty can be revoked. When consumers patronize a duty-free store, they will not be paid duty on items that are usually taxed, such as cigarettes and alcohol. International tourists will then be able to purchase the product at a lower price relative to natives.

There are restrictions and requirements for duty-free shopping. The imported goods are intended to be taken out of the country where they were bought. Shoppers need to display their passports when they make duty-free purchases.

Travellers making duty-free transactions can be asked to report what they bought to customs officials after they return to their respective home countries. They may have to display receipts for the transactions. Monetary caps can be applied to the number of duty-free transactions. When the value meets the amount, the transactions may be subject to tariffs and local taxes.

Levy of Duty under Indian Tax Laws

Customs duty is a levy on the import and export of products in India with different duties on those products. Customs authorities are entitled to verify the exact descriptions of the goods exported or imported as well as the origin of the item, and the properly validated prices and structure.

If goods are imported from outside, the tax is known as customs duty on imports. When products are exported outside India, the tax is referred to as the customs duties on exports.

Custom duties calculate the value of the items in comparison to the tax applied to these items. They are much higher for some types of items than sin products, i.e. liquor and imported cigars. All these taxes are collected by the Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC).

In February 2020, the government increased taxes on imports for products, such as electronic devices, furniture, and toys as part of India's attempts to increase and sustain local development.

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