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 dutyEdit

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 dutyEdit

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 dutyEdit

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

See alsoEdit


  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)