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History of Customs in Honduras and the World

Escrito el: 18 de January de 2022 - Modificado: 18 January, 2022 - por: - en: History - Origin, Times and Periods, Historical Facts

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  • The Customs System in Honduras is within the structure of the Ministry of Finance under the name of the Executive Directorate of Revenue created in November 1994. This directorate was born with the merger of what was the General Directorate of Customs and the General Directorate of Taxation. and assumes its functions and attributions as such from February 1995.

    What today can be considered the country’s Customs service, now called the Revenue Administration Service (SAR), is the result of a long evolutionary process inspired by the need to make tax collection services more efficient, effective and transparent in the country.

    See Honduras Customs

    History of Customs in Honduras and the World
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    Table of Contents

    Its most distant antecedent is found in what was called the General Directorate of Revenue , which later became the General Directorate of Customs and Indirect Taxation and was not until the 1st. From July 1956, it was created by Decree Law No. 254 as the General Directorate of Customs, depending on the Ministry of Finance and Public Credit.

    As the General Directorate of Revenue, it was in charge of controlling imports and exports, fiscal species and especially all the control of the volumes of production and marketing of liquor whose item constituted a state monopoly.
    In this stage, the Revenue receiverships appear with offices in the different departmental capitals and in the main cities of the country.

    General Directorate of Customs and Internal Revenue

    At the end of 1957, the General Directorate of Revenue changes its name and gives way to the emergence of the General Directorate of Customs and Internal Revenue, operating with an organizational structure that incorporates departments and sections such as the General Secretary, Administrative Section, Policy Review of Import and Export, Customs Warehouses, Fiscal Species, Alcohols and Liquors.

    During this time, the State suffered losses of several million lempiras, especially in fiscal species, due to a raging fire, which destroyed almost all the facilities and files of what was the General Directorate of Customs.

    After this fire, the General Customs Audit Office was created, with the task of Policy Review, formulation of adjustments and, in turn, resolving the cases that were presented in challenges before the General Customs Directorate.

    The General Directorate of Customs was the agency responsible for the registration and control of imports and exports of merchandise, alcohol and national liquors.

    In 1971, the Fiscal Investigation Department was formed, in charge of counteracting smuggling and fiscal fraud, which by that time had reached extremely increasing levels in the country, above all due to the lack of efficient controls and the rising corruption that emerged as a danger to the national tax system.

    In 1975, the General Directorate of Customs was restructured, creating the Customs Valuation Department, responsible for the application of the Customs Valuation Law , where the bases are established to assign real values to merchandise and avoid undervaluations during the introduction of goods. goods, mainly from imports.

    During the period from 1982 to 1989, other dependencies were created by virtue of the expansion of activities, functions and requirements for greater control measures. It is at this time that the Claims, Enforcement and Technical Assistance departments arise.

    With this, it has been possible to make the necessary adjustments to the real values of the merchandise and tax rates, at the same time that it has allowed a greater possibility that those who feel affected can present claims according to the legal procedures and receive the necessary technical advice to avoid possibilities of affectation between the parties involved.

    Currently and as of March 1990, a new organizational restructuring was carried out, which had as its primary objective the centralization of related functions, with clearly defined vertical guidelines.

    Creation of the Executive Directorate of Revenue

    By executing the new structure as contemplated in your project, highly positive results would be obtained. However, considering that the structure of the General Directorates of Customs and Taxation, both dependent on the Ministry of Finance and Public Credit, did not respond to the technological advances that exist in the area of revenue collection in modern administration, it was thought that the The only way to tidy up the behavior of officials and employees of said dependencies, as well as to eradicate corruption and improve tax revenues, was the professionalization and technical organization of a Revenue Office.
    For this reason, in 1994, the Sovereign National Congress of the Republic issued the law creating the Executive Directorate of Revenue (DEI), through decree No. 159-94 dated November 4, 1994, as a deconcentrated of the Secretary of State in the office of finances.

    The Executive Directorate of Revenues is the institution responsible for the administration of all tax revenues, including customs revenues, it acts on behalf of and on behalf of the State in the fulfillment of the functions of revenue collection, supervision, review, control, inspection and execution of collection in the application of Tax Laws Without prejudice to the organizational structure of the Secretary of State in the Finance offices, the Executive Directorate of Revenue has its own organization, including a special system of nomenclature, classification and remuneration of positions and its own regimes for the entity, personnel, disciplinary, administrative contracting and tax and customs career to ensure the fulfillment of its functions.

    The annual budget of the Executive Directorate of Revenue is included in the budget of the Secretary of State in the Finance offices and is set as a percentage of the tax revenues it administers and that are collected in the immediately preceding year, without exceeding in any case, two and a half percent (2 ½%) of them. The resources are credited in advance monthly installments and are deposited in special accounts at the Central Bank of Honduras.

    The 1st. From February 1995, the Executive Directorate of Revenue assumed all the functions and powers of the former General Directorate of Customs and General Directorate of Taxation.

    In the case of the Treasury Police and with the purpose of carrying out an orderly transition, the functions were gradually assumed in accordance with the terms and other aspects contemplated in the regulations of the Law for the Creation of the Executive Directorate of Revenue.

    With the creation of Decree No. 216/2004 dated December 29, 2004, Decree No. 159-94 dated November 4, 1994, containing the Law of the Executive Directorate of Revenue (DEI), is repealed, as well as its reforms contained in Decree 142-2004 of September 30, 2004, and other provisions that oppose this Law.

    With this Decree, the Law for the Structuring of the Tax Administration of the Executive Directorate of Revenue (DEI) is created, as an administrative body directly dependent on the Secretary of State in the Office of Finance, with domicile in the capital city and authority in all the national territory.

    As part of the process of modernization, restructuring and administrative simplification of the tax administration, through Agreement No. 0397-2005 dated May 4, 2005, the Regulation of organization and functions of the Executive Revenue Directorate is agreed.

    Since its creation, the Executive Directorate of Revenue has played a very important role in the life of the country, mainly in its great objectives of eradicating corruption, tax evasion, the undervaluation of merchandise and the modernization of collection services, as well as than advances in tax and customs legislation.

    This is one of the State agencies in which the entire population has high hopes, especially because by efficiently collecting taxes in a fair and honest manner, increasing the state’s income, which it can use to provide education, quality health , improve the infrastructure and create sources of employment which would allow expanding their purchasing power to satisfy their material and spiritual needs for the community.

    To be an efficient and transparent institution, capable of leading the transformation of the country’s foreign trade, relying on qualified, committed human resources and the appropriate technological means for modern and competitive customs management.

    Guarantee the facilitation of trade, collection and security through efficient control, using best practices in order to contribute to the increase and revitalization of the country’s economic activity.

    Strategic Objectives

    1. Increase customs tax collection with the provision of agile and timely services to contribute to the economic and social development of Honduras.
    2. Increase voluntary compliance with customs obligations, in order to reduce tax fraud.

    The Customs Service through time

    According to the dictionary of the Royal Spanish Academy, in its nineteenth edition, the word “Customs” derives from the Arabic “ad-divoana” which means “registration”. There are those who claim that it originates from the Italian “duxana” because in Venice the merchandise paid an entry tax that belonged to the “Dux”. Others think that it derives from “douana” or “dovana”, which means “right”.

    However, whatever its etymological meaning, “customs” is used to designate the government agencies that intervene in the international traffic of goods that are imported or exported and that are responsible for collecting the taxes that are levied on them. In this concept, it should be clarified that customs also intervene in cabotage, although there is no international traffic in this operation; but it is also a function of customs to take care that the cabotage merchandise that arrives at another national port, are the same that were embarked.

    Regardless of the economic implications of International Trade, it can be said that its intensification and regulation are the antecedents of customs services, considered either as a means of increasing fiscal revenues through import and export taxes, or as an instrument to implement any protectionist economic measure that is adopted.

    Primitive Organizations

    In Primitive Social Organizations (direct) taxes are already found, both in their personal form, and in military service, both in its real form (part of the loot that is awarded to the chief of the tribe). Subsequently, taxes in kind appear, such as capitation, and taxes on the yields of agriculture and livestock (tithes). Much later, when the needs of the State grow, the tax adopts the indirect form. Among other indirect taxes, customs seems to have been known in India, as well as in Persia and Egypt. In Greece they existed together with the capitation (on foreigners), the consumption, on sales.

    Customs in ancient Rome

    In Rome, the customs tax seems to have been established by Anco Marcius, on the occasion of the conquest of the Port of Ostia. It is said that because it was a port where the tax was first established, it received the name of “portorium”, although other taxes, such as tolls, were included in this name.

    At the beginning of the imperial age, the portorium was leased at public auction for periods of five years and has a lump sum. Later the system was changed, entrusting the collection to one or several imperial officials, who had to render an account of their efforts and who received a percentage of the sums that entered the Treasury. Finally, the system of direct perception by the State was reached.

    The customs tax in Rome extended to both imports and exports, as a result of the absolutely rentier or fiscal character that the tax had at that time and that, with minor exceptions, continued to be valid until the 17th century, during which the the great modern states and the first economic doctrines of nationalist politics appeared.

    Middle Ages

    In the Middle Ages, personal (direct) taxes were returned to, not existing in its principles Public Treasury, nor true taxes. The feudal lords imposed Capitaciones and territorial taxes on their vassals and charged certain rights for the movement of people and things (toll, portage, puntazgo, barcaje) and on property transfers and successions. The king lived from his patrimony and from the right that assisted him so that everyone contributed to his needs; but there were no principles. Bases, or tax systems.

    You have to jump to the Italian Republics of the 12th and 13th centuries to find true general taxes: some direct, such as those levied on capital or fortune, and others, indirect, such as Customs. The latter began to spread along with the development of trade, mainly maritime, at that time.

    We also find the customs tax in England, where according to McCulloch (English economist of the 19th century, disciple of Ricardo) it was established before that in the Italian Republics. But while these, and especially Venice, established the customs tax on restrictive bases to protect their industry and trade, England had established it on purely financial bases, a policy that it modified somewhat until the 17th century.

    Modern and Contemporary Period

    Until the 17th century, customs duties, both external and internal, had, as a general rule, a purely fiscal or rentier character. The protectionist idea, which appears shortly after the constitution of the great Modern States, as a means to increase the wealth and power of a country, returns to the principles that inspired the policy of Cromwell in England, and Colbert in France. , aimed at ensuring the development of the national industry, protecting it against foreign competition.
    From Colbert’s Industrial protectionism, modern customs systems are born, albeit imperfectly, obeying a certain economic idea and suspension regimes of customs rights acquire great importance, until reaching the great development of today.

    In this way, the intervention of the State is accentuated, undoubtedly following the general evolutionary line that tends to limit the field of the individual for the benefit of the collective. The increase in this intervention has been ensured through the various modalities of customs taxation, up to the present day with the application of bilateral or multilateral free trade treaties.

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