20+ Differences Between Duty And Tariff (Explained)

The primary distinction between duty and tariff is that duty refers to the tax that the government levies on goods and services manufactured and sold within a country and on goods and services imported from another country.

Conversely, tariff refers to the tax levied on goods and services imported from another country. In contrast, the government only levies tariffs on products or services that are imported between nations to shield the market share of local manufacturers.

Comparison between Duty And Tariff

DefinitionA kind of indirect tax that the government levies on customers to generate revenue on the sale of items that were imported from another country. After then, the money is used toward paying for various additional costs incurred by the government.Import duties, often known as tariffs, are a sort of direct tax that the government of one nation levies on the products of another nation that are brought into that nation.
NatureThe burden of paying tariffs, which may be considered a kind of indirect taxation, is placed squarely on the shoulders of the individual consumer. In certain regions, it’s also possible to refer to this tax as “sales tax,” which is another name.Import and export duties, often known as tariffs, are a kind of indirect tax that is levied on goods moving from one nation to another.
TypesThe United States of America imposes three distinct types of customs charges, each of which is called its own specific name: the Basic Customs Duty, the Countervailing Duty, and the Anti-Dumping Duty.The two unique types of tariffs are referred to as “specific tariffs” and “ad valorem taxes,” respectively. These words are used interchangeably.
UsesThe term “duty” may be used in various contexts, including stamp duties, import taxes, excise fees, and fees paid upon succession or death, to name just a few of the numerous possibilities. Additionally, there are a great many additional uses.The word “tariff” may be used in many contexts, such as when referring to an all-inclusive price list.

comparison between duty vs tariff

Major Differences Between Duty And Tariff

What exactly is Duty?

Duties, which are sometimes referred to as indirect taxes, are collected by the government on goods and services that are made and sold inside the boundaries of a country and are thus subject to the nation’s duties.

These taxes are also applied to products that are brought into a country from other countries, also known as import or customs duty.

Key Differences: Duty

  • This term refers to a charge that is imposed in a manner comparable to indirect taxes.
  • The tax is placed on selling products that are either exported or imported.
  • It can be separated into two independent categories: excise duty and customs duty.
  • Imposes taxes not just on items produced inside the country but also on commodities imported from other nations and goods sold outside the nation’s borders.
  • The amount of money is turned over to the government.
history of duties

What exactly is a Tariff?

Tariffs are levies of direct taxation on goods imported into one nation from another.

The government imposes it for various reasons, one of which is to slow or stop the flow of a certain commodity into the nation. A rise in the price of a product on the domestic market is a direct result of tariffs.

Key Differences: Tariff

  • These are the taxes that are imposed on goods that are imported into the country from countries outside of the European Union.
  • In a way that is analogous to that direct taxes.
  • This tariff may be broken down into two distinct categories: the particular tariff and the ad valorem tariff.
  • Taxes are imposed on goods entering and leaving a country based on the country’s status as a manufacturer of such goods for markets outside of that nation’s immediate territory.
  • The monetary amount is handed up to the government.
history of tariff

Contrast Between Duty And Tariff

What it means:

  • Duty- The individual consumer is responsible for paying Duty, a sort of indirect tax collected by the government and may be seen as a tax form.

    In certain countries, customs duties are charged not only on goods brought into the nation from other countries but also on commodities produced locally and sold inside the nation itself. 
  • Tariff- Tariffs, in their most fundamental manifestation, are taxes that the government of one nation imposes on the products imported from another country. These taxes are known as “tariffs.” The collective name for these levies is “tariffs.”

What it covers:

  • Duty- Customs duty is a kind of tax that the importer of goods must pay into a nation. This tax is levied on the goods being brought into the country.

    Excise duty is a tax imposed on locally made items that are also involved in a transaction inside the same state. These goods must meet both of these criteria to be subject to the tax.
  • Tariffs are levied not only on products imported into a country from another nation but also on items exported from a country and sold to a nation located in a different region of the globe.


  • Duty- Tariffs are comparable to indirect taxes in the sense that those who eventually gain from a product are the ones who are responsible for making payments toward the tariffs.

    In other words, the people who pay the tariffs are the same people who benefit from the goods. To put it another way, customers are the ones who foot the tariff bill. When people talk about “duty,” they talk about something more formally known as the “consumer tax.”
  • Tariff- A tariff is an additional tax that may be levied on commodities that are exported from or imported into a nation. This tax may be lower or higher than the standard tax rate.

    Depending on the circumstances, this tax rate might be lower or greater than the ordinary tax rate. Depending on the situation’s specifics, this tax rate could be lower than the standard tax rate or higher.


  • Duty- Common duties include making tax payments and carrying out engaging responsibilities. Still, one may choose from a wide variety of other sorts of commitments to fulfill as well.
  • Tariff- It is possible for tariffs to be categorized as either import or export tariffs, depending on whether or not they are placed on imported or exported items.

    Whether or not tariffs are placed on items that are imported or those that are exported is the determining factor. The element that makes a difference is whether or not tariffs are applied on goods that are imported or those that are exported.
types of duties


  • Duty- Stamp duties, import taxes, excise fees, and fees paid upon succession or death are all examples of the many different situations in which the word “duty” may be employed. Other possible contexts include the following:

    These are only a few of the many examples. The phrase may also be used in a wide range of other settings, such as when referring to the payment of taxes or any other kind of payment.
  • Tariff- One may use the term “tariff” in a variety of various settings, such as when referring to a pricing list that encompasses everything.

    However, these are just a few examples. This is but one illustration of the myriad of other possible applications for the phrase that may be found in English.


  • Duty- The total amount of cash obtained via the imposition of tariffs on imports and exports is equivalent to the total amount of cash obtained through the production of tariff taxes.

    The reason for this is that tariffs are essentially charges that are imposed on items that go across international boundaries.
  • Tariff- If a nation wants to continue importing and exporting commodities, then it will be required to pay something known as a tariff, which is a fixed amount of monetary compensation for the disadvantage caused by the activity.

    This payment must first be finished in its whole before the government of the nation in question will be given permission to continue with these procedures.


  • Duty- The advantages go all the way up to the government, which in turn helps the economy’s growth throughout the country.
  • Tariff- It is not completely out of the question that in the not-too-distant future, not only the government but also the nation as a whole will be able to capitalize on the opportunities that have been presented as a result of this predicament.

    In fact, it is not completely out of the question that this will be possible in a relatively short amount of time.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q1. When do we pay taxes?

Taxes are levied on almost all consumer spending and maybe a significant percentage of the total price. Products and people are the primary targets of taxation.

A person must pay tax and may face legal consequences if they don’t. Products that are imported into a nation are subject to import tariffs, which the government levies. So, both duties and tariffs are examples of levies placed on imported goods. 

Q2. What is the key distinction between taxes and duties?

The payment of taxes is an obligatory kind of monetary contribution that must be made to the government. A duty is a tax that must be paid to the government on the production of commodities and their import and export.

The obligation that is being paid is a kind of tax. Individuals and their money, services, and sales are all subject to tax, while commodities themselves are subject to Duty.

Q3. Are the value-added tax and the Duty the same thing?

The term “tax” refers to any amount of money owed to the government due to the movement of goods. A sort of tax that must be paid based on the value of imported products is known as import duty.

The final customer is also responsible for paying a tax known as the value-added tax, or VAT.

Q4. What does it mean when exports are subject to a tariff?

Export duties may be either general or particular taxes on products or services, and they become due either when the goods leave the economic region or when the services are given to non-residents.

The definition of export duties does not consider the profits made by export monopolies or the taxes resulting from various exchange rates.

Q5. Why do nations resort to the use of tariffs?

The generation of income on products and services imported into the nation is the principal advantage of tariffs. The imposition of tariffs may also function as a jumping-off point for discussions between two nations.

The General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), the World Trade Organization (WTO), and other trade agreements all utilize the control of tariffs as a tool to bring states together to decide economic policy.

Similar Posts:

Was this article helpful?

Did you like this article? Why not share it:

Leave a Comment