Customs is an authority or agency in a country responsible for collecting and safeguarding customs duties and for controlling the flow of goods including animals, transports, personal effects and hazardous items in and out of a country. Depending on local legislation and regulations, the import or export of some goods may be restricted or forbidden, and the customs agency enforces these rules. The customs authority may be different from the immigration authority, which monitors persons who leave or enter the country, checking for appropriate documentation, apprehending people wanted by international arrest warrants, and impeding the entry of others deemed dangerous to the country. In most countries customs are attained through government agreements and international laws.
A customs duty is a tariff or tax on the importation (usually) or exportation (unusually) of goods. In the Kingdom of England, customs duties were typically part of the customary revenue of the king, and therefore did not need parliamentary consent to be levied, unlike excise duty, land tax, or other forms of taxes.
Commercial goods not yet cleared through customs are held in a customs area, often called a bonded store, until processed. All authorised ports are recognised customs area.
Famous quotes containing the word customs:
“The correct rate of speed in innovating changes in long-standing social customs has not yet been determined by even the most expert of the experts. Personally I am beginning to think there is more danger in lagging than in speeding up cultural change to keep pace with mechanical change.”
—Mary Barnett Gilson (1877?)
“Is a civilization naturally backward because it is different? Outside of cannibalism, which can be matched in this country, at least, by lynching, there is no vice and no degradation in native African customs which can begin to touch the horrors thrust upon them by white masters. Drunkenness, terrible diseases, immorality, all these things have been gifts of European civilization.”
—W.E.B. (William Edward Burghardt)
“Neighboring farmers and visitors at White Sulphur drove out occasionally to watch those funny Scotchmen with amused superiority; when one member imported clubs from Scotland, they were held for three weeks by customs officials who could not believe that any game could be played with such elongated blackjacks or implements of murder.”
—For the State of West Virginia, U.S. public relief program (1935-1943)