Debenture (Lat. debere, to owe), the drawback or right allowed to merchants of claiming repayment or remission of duties on imported goods when the goods are reexported. The term is also used for the custom house certificate issued as a voucher for such right. Goods may be entered subject to debenture, in which case the original invoice is left with the collector; but without such entry at the time of importation, the drawback may be obtained upon reexportation by making satisfactory proof of the identity of the goods. It is required that they be exported in the original packages, casks, etc, and when any change of such packages becomes necessary, it must be made under the inspection of a revenue officer. A drawback of duties on wines and spirits is not allowed unless such liquors have been deposited in public stores, and kept there from the time of landing until reshipment. Three years from the time of importation is allowed for reexportation with drawback of duties, but such exportation must be from the district of original importation. The general regulations of debenture are contained in the act of congress of March 2, 1799, but modifications have been made by various other acts.

The term is also applied in England to railway mortgages, and sometimes to the obligations issued by municipal bodies.