The service was established in 1839 and was under the jurisdiction of the Civil Service Department of Ghana. In 1986, the Rawlings government made the service autonomous backed by the PNDC Law 144. The law was replaced in 1993 by the PNDC Law 330.
The service is mandated to collect Import and export duty tax, petroleum tax and import excise. It promotes the protection of revenue through the prevention of smuggling of goods across Ghana's borders. The service protects the boundaries of Ghana by preventing external aggression and promotes territorial integrity of Ghana. The service is a member of Ghana's security services. Import and export restrictions and prohibitions are supervised by the service.