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Budget Terms Decoded: What is Custom Duty?

Custom duties are levied on goods imported into the country from abroad or on certain goods exported to other countries.

Custom Duty was introduced in the Customs Act, 1962, which lets the government charge import duty and export duty on certain goods to raise revenue for the government. These duties also help in safeguarding the interests of a domestic company in the international market, making their products more competitive and sometimes, making imports from overseas less lucrative.

All policy formulations, transactions related to Customs Duty fall the Department of Revenue’s Central Board of Excise and Customs (CBEC) which looks after custom duty collection, evasion, smuggling issues, and so on.

Custom duty on a product is either specific or on an ad valorem basis which means it is either specific or on the basis of the estimated value of the goods or transactions. There are different ways to calculate the estimated value of goods or transactions under Customs Valuation (Determination of Value of Imported Goods) Rules, 2007.

There are various types of import duties — like basic custom duty, additional custom duty, protective duty, anti-dumping duty, safeguard duty.

While basic custom duty is levied on goods that fall under Section 12 of Customs Act, 1962, protective duty is levied to shield domestic industry against imports; anti-dumping duty is levied to check the dumping of cheap imports from other countries which are below the fair market price. For example, anti-dumping duty levied on Chinese steel imports to check the dumping of cheap steel from the country. Safeguard duty is levied to check exports beyond a limit that could be detrimental to the domestic economy.

The government has made an e-payment facility available which lets you pay custom duty for multiple challans in a single transaction. ICEGATE is the government’s customs e-payment gateway which will let you make the payment if you have net banking facility.