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Duty (tax)

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In economics, a duty is a target-specific form of tax levied by a state or other political entity. It is often associated with customs, in which context they are also known as tariffs or dues. The term is often used to describe a tax on certain items purchased abroad.[1]

A duty is levied on specific commodities, financial transactions, estates, etc. rather than being a direct imposition on individuals or corporations such income or property taxes. Examples include customs duty, excise duty, stamp duty, estate duty, and gift duty.

Customs duty[edit]

A customs duty or due is the indirect tax levied on the import or export of goods in international trade. In economics a duty is also a kind of consumption tax. A duty levied on goods being imported is referred to as an 'import duty', and one levied on exports an 'export duty'.

Estate duty[edit]

An estate duty (in the U.S. inheritance tax) is a tax levied on the estate of a deceased person in many jurisdictions or on the inheritance of a person. The tax is sometimes referred to, formally or informally, as a death duty.[2]

Gift duty[edit]

A gift tax on value given from one taxable entity to another.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ O'Sullivan, Arthur; Sheffrin, Steven M. (2003). Economics: Principles in Action. Upper Saddle River, New Jersey 07458: Pearson Prentice Hall. pp. 450. ISBN 0-13-063085-3.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: location (link)
  2. ^ UK National Archive, Looking for records of death duties 1796-1903(example of use of the term death duty)