Costs are the necessary expenditures that must be made in order to run a business. Every factor of production has an associated cost. The cost of labor, for example, used in the production of goods and services is measured in terms of wages and benefits. The cost of a fixed asset used in production is measured in terms of depreciation. The cost of capital used to purchase fixed assets is measured in terms of the interest expense associated with raising the capital.
Businesses are vitally interested in measuring their costs. Many types of costs are observable and easily quantifiable. In such cases there is a direct relationship between cost of input and quantity of output. Other types of costs must be estimated or allocated. That is, the relationship between costs of input and units of output may not be directly observable or quantifiable. In the delivery of professional services, for example, the quality of the output is usually more significant than the quantity, and output cannot simply be measured in terms of the number of patients treated or students taught. In such instances where qualitative factors play an important role in measuring output, there is no direct relationship between costs incurred and output achieved.
DIFFERENT WAYS TO CATEGORIZE COSTS
Costs can have different relationships to output. Costs also are used in different business applications, such as financial accounting, cost accounting, budgeting, capital budgeting, and valuation. Consequently, there are different ways of categorizing costs according to their relationship to output as well as according to the context in which they are used. Following this summary of the different types of costs are some examples of how costs are used in different business applications.
Fixed and Variable Costs
The two basic types of costs incurred by businesses are fixed and variable. Fixed costs do not vary with output, while variable costs do. Fixed costs are sometimes called overhead costs. They are incurred whether a firm manufactures 100 widgets or 1,000 widgets. In preparing a budget, fixed costs may include rent, depreciation, and supervisors' salaries. Manufacturing overhead may include such items as property taxes and insurance. These fixed costs remain constant in spite of changes in output.
Variable costs, on the other hand, fluctuate in direct proportion to changes in output. In a production facility, labor and material costs are usually variable costs that increase as the volume of production increases. It takes more labor and material to produce more output, so the cost of labor and material varies in direct proportion to the volume of output.
For many companies in the service sector, the traditional division of costs into fixed and variable does not work. Typically, variable costs have been defined primarily as "labor and materials." However, in a service industry labor is usually salaried by contract or by managerial policy and thus does not fluctuate with production. It is, therefore, a fixed and not a variable cost for these companies. There is no hard and firm rule about what category (fixed or variable) is appropriate for particular costs. The cost of office paper in one company, for example, may be an overhead or fixed cost since the paper is used in the administrative offices for administrative tasks. For another company, that same office paper may well be a variable cost because the business produces printing as a service to other businesses, like Kinkos, for example. Each business must determine based on its own uses whether an expense is a fixed or variable cost to the business.
In addition to variable and fixed costs, some costs are considered mixed. That is, they contain elements of fixed and variable costs. In some cases the cost of supervision and inspection are considered mixed costs.
Direct and Indirect Costs
Direct costs are similar to variable costs. They can be directly attributed to the production of output. The system of valuing inventories called direct costing is also known as variable costing. Under this accounting system only those costs that vary directly with the volume of production are charged to products as they are manufactured. The value of inventory is the sum of direct material, direct labor, and all variable manufacturing costs.
Indirect costs, on the other hand, are similar to fixed costs. They are not directly related to the volume of output. Indirect costs in a manufacturing plant may include supervisors' salaries, indirect labor, factory supplies used, taxes, utilities, depreciation on building and equipment, factory rent, tools expense, and patent expense. These indirect costs are sometimes referred to as manufacturing overhead.
Under the accounting system known as full costing or absorption costing, all of the indirect costs in manufacturing overhead as well as direct costs are included in determining the cost of inventory. They are considered part of the cost of the products being manufactured.
Product and Period Costs
The concepts of product and period costs are similar to direct and indirect costs. Product costs are those that the firm's accounting system associates directly with output and that are used to value inventory. Period costs are charged as expenses to the current period. Under direct costing, period costs are not viewed as costs of the products being manufactured, so they are not associated with valuing inventories.
If the firm uses a full cost accounting system, however, then all manufacturing costs—including fixed manufacturing overhead costs and variable costs—become product costs. They are considered part of the cost of manufacturing and are charged against inventory.
Other Types of Costs
These are the basic types of costs as they are used in different accounting systems.
Controllable and Uncontrollable Costs—
In budgeting it is useful to identify controllable and uncontrollable costs. This simply means that managers with budgetary responsibility should not be held accountable for costs they cannot control.
Out-of-pocket and Sunk Costs—
Financial managers often use the concepts of out-of-pocket costs and sunk costs when evaluating the financial merits of specific proposals. Out-of-pocket costs are those that require the use of current resources, usually cash. Sunk costs have already been incurred. In evaluating whether or not to increase production, for example, financial managers may take into account the sunk costs associated with tools and machinery as well as the out-of-pocket costs associated with adding more material and labor.
Incremental and Opportunity Costs—
Financial planning efforts utilize the concepts of incremental and opportunity costs. Incremental costs are those associated with switching from one level of activity or course of action to another. Incremental costs represent the difference between two alternatives. Opportunity costs represent the sacrifice that is made when the means of production are used for one task rather than another, or when capital is used for one investment rather than another. Nothing can be produced or invested without incurring an opportunity cost. By making one investment or production decision using limited resources, one necessarily forgoes the opportunity to use those resources for a different purpose. Consequently, opportunity costs are not usually factored into investment and production decisions involving resource allocation.
Also of use to financial planners are imputed costs. These are costs that are not actually incurred, but are associated with internal transactions. When work in process is transferred from one department to another within an organization, a method of transfer pricing may be needed for budgetary reasons. Although there is no actual purchase or sale of goods and materials, the receiving department may be charged with imputed costs for the work it has received. When a company rents itself a building that it could have rented to an outside party, the rent may be considered an imputed cost.
BUSINESS APPLICATIONS USE DIFFERENT TYPES OF COSTS
Costs as a business concept are useful in measuring performance and determining profitability. What follows are brief discussions of some business applications in which costs play an important role.
One of the major objectives of financial accounting is to determine the periodic income of the business. In manufacturing firms a major component of the income statement is the cost of goods sold (COGS). COGS is that part of the cost of inventory that can be considered an expense of the period because the goods were sold. It appears as an expense on the firm's periodic income statement. COGS is calculated as beginning inventory plus net purchases minus ending inventory.
Depreciation is another cost that becomes a periodic expense on the income statement. Every asset is initially valued at its cost. Accountants charge the cost of the asset to depreciation expense over the useful life of the asset. This cost allocation approach attempts to match costs with revenues and is more reliable than attempting to periodically determine the fair market value of the asset.
In financial accounting, costs represent assets rather than expenses. Costs only become expenses when they are charged against current income. Costs may be allocated as expenses against income over time, as in the case of depreciation, or they may be charged as expenses when revenues are generated, as in the case of COGS.
Cost accounting, also sometimes known as management accounting, provides appropriate cost information for budgeting systems and management decision making. Using the principles of general accounting, cost accounting records and determines costs associated with various functions of the business. These data are used by management to improve operations and make them more efficient, economical, and profitable.
Two major systems can be used to record the costs of manufactured products. They are known as job costing and process costing. A job cost system, or job order cost system, collects costs for each physically identifiable job or batch of work as it moves through the manufacturing facility and disregards the accounting period in which the work is done. With a process cost system, on the other hand, costs are collected for all of the products worked on during a specific accounting period. Unit costs are then determined by dividing the total costs by the number of units worked on during the period. Process cost systems are most appropriate for continuous operations, when like products are produced, or when several departments cooperate and participate in one or more operations. Job costing, on the other hand, is used when labor is a chief element of cost, when diversified lines or unlike products are manufactured, or when products are built to customer specifications.
When costs are easily observable and quantifiable, cost standards are usually developed. Also known as engineered standards, they are developed for each physical input at each step of the production process. At that point an engineered cost per unit of production can be determined. By documenting variable costs and fairly allocating fixed costs to different departments, a cost accounting system can provide management with the accountability and cost controls it needs to improve operations.
Budgeting systems rely on accurate cost accounting systems. Using cost data collected by the business's cost accounting system, budgets can be developed for each department at different levels of output. Different units within the business can be designated cost centers, profit centers, or departments. Budgets are then used as a management tool to measure performance, among other things. Performance is measured by the extent to which actual figures deviate from budgeted amounts.
In using budgets as measures of performance, it is important to distinguish between controllable and uncontrollable costs. Managers should not be held accountable for costs they cannot control. In the short run, fixed costs can rarely be controlled. Consequently, a typical budget statement will show sales revenue as forecast and the variable costs associated with that level of production. The difference between sales revenue and variable costs is the contribution margin. Fixed costs are then deducted from the contribution margin to obtain a figure for operating income. Managers and departments are then evaluated on the basis of costs and those elements of production they are expected to control.
Cost of Capital
Capital budgeting and other business decisions—such as lease-buy decisions, bond refunding, and working capital policies—require estimates of a company's cost of capital. Capital budgeting decisions revolve around deciding whether or not to purchase a particular capital asset. Such decisions are based on a cost-benefit analysis, an estimate of the net present value of future revenues that would be generated by a particular capital asset. An important factor in such decisions is the company's cost of capital.
Cost of capital is a percentage that represents the interest rate the company would pay for the funds being raised. Each capital component—debt, equity, and retained earnings—has its own cost. Each type of debt or equity also has a different cost. While a particular purchase or project may be funded by only one kind of capital, companies are likely to use a weighted average cost of capital when making financial decisions. Such practice takes into account the fact that the company is an ongoing concern that will need to raise capital at different rates in the future as well as at the present rate.
Costs are sometimes used in the valuation of assets that are being bought or sold. Buyers and sellers may agree that the value of an asset can be determined by estimating the costs associated with building or creating an asset that could perform similar functions and provide similar benefits as the existing asset. Using the cost approach to value an asset contrasts with the income approach, which attempts to identify the present value of the revenues the asset is expected to generate.
Finally, costs are used in making pricing decisions. Manufacturing firms refer to the ratio between prices and costs as their markup, which represents the difference between the selling price and the direct cost of the goods being sold. For retailers and wholesalers, the gross margin is the difference between their invoice cost and their selling price. While costs form the basis for pricing decisions, they are only a starting point, with market conditions and other factors usually determining the most profitable price.
Albrecht, W. Steve, and James D. Stice, Earl Kay Stice, Monte Swain. Financial Accounting. Thomson South-Western, 2004.
Cooper, Robin, and Regine Slagmulder. "Introduction to Enterprise-Wide Cost Management." Management Accounting. August 1998.
Horngren, Charles T., George Foster, and Srikant M. Datar. Cost Accounting: A Managerial Emphasis. Prentice Hall, 1999.
Kimmel, Paul, and Leslie Kren. "Dual-Rate Cost Assignment to Evaluate Performance." The CPA Journal. July 2002.
Sands, Jack. Accounting for Business, What the Numbers Mean and How to Use Them. Arena Books, Inc., 2003.
Hillstrom, Northern Lights
updated by Magee, ECDI
"Costs." Encyclopedia of Small Business. . Encyclopedia.com. (June 28, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/entrepreneurs/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/costs
"Costs." Encyclopedia of Small Business. . Retrieved June 28, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/entrepreneurs/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/costs
The word "cost" appears in many accounting, economics, and business terms with subtle distinctions in meaning. The word by itself rarely has a clear meaning. (Likewise the word "value" has no clear meaning. Avoid using "value" without a modifying adjective, such as "market," "present," or "book.") The word cost, without modifying adjectives, typically means the sacrifice, measured by the price paid or required to be paid, to acquire goods or services. Hence, the word often carries the meaning more precisely represented by the following:
- Acquisition cost ; historical cost. Net price plus all expenditures to ready an item for its intended use at the time the firm acquired the item. The other expenditures might include legal fees, transportation charges, and installation costs.
Accountants can easily measure acquisition cost, but economists and managers often find it less useful in making decisions. Economists and managers more often care about some measure of current costs, which accountants find harder to measure.
- Current cost. Replacement cost or net realizable value.
- Replacement cost. Acquisition cost at the date of measurement, typically the present, in contrast to the earlier date of acquisition.
- Net realizable value. The amount a firm can collect in cash by selling an item, less the costs (such as commissions and delivery costs) of disposition.
Accountants most often refer to current costs as fair value.
- Fair value. Price negotiated at arm's length between willing buyers and willing sellers, each acting rationally in their own self-interest. Sometimes measured as the present value of expected cash flows.
Accountants often contrast (actual) historical cost with standard cost.
- Standard cost. An estimate of how much cost a firm should incur to produce a good or service. This measurement plays a role in cost accounting, in situations where management needs an estimate of costs incurred before sufficient time has elapsed for computation of actual costs incurred.
The following terms desegregate historical cost into components.
- Variable cost. Costs that change as activity levels change. (The term "cost driver" refers to the activity that causes cost to change.) Strictly speaking, variable costs are zero when the activity level is zero. Careful writers use the term "semivariable costs" to mean costs that increase strictly linearly with activity but have a positive value at zero activity level. Royalty fees of 2 percent of sales are variable; royalty fees of $1,000 per year plus 2 percent of sales are semivariable.
- Fixed cost. A cost that does not change as activity levels change, at least for some time period. In the long run, all costs can vary.
In accounting for the costs of product or services or segments of a business, accountants sometimes desegregate total costs into those that benefit a specific product and those that benefit all products jointly produced.
- Traceable cost ; direct cost. A cost the firm can identify with a specific product, such as the cost of a computer chip installed in a given personal computer, or with some activity.
- Common cost ; joint cost ; indirect cost. A cost incurred to benefit more than one product or activity, such as the cost of rent of a factory building in which the firm makes several different kinds of personal computers or the cost of a steer from which the firm manufactures leather and hamburger. Some restrict the term common cost to situations such as the first, where the firm chooses to produce products together, while restricting "joint costs" to situations, such as the second, where the firm must incur the cost simultaneously. The major problem in cost accounting is allocation of common and joint costs to individual products. Managers and regulators (e.g., the Securities and Exchange Commission and the IRS) often insist on such allocations, while economists and some accountants recognize that such allocations do not aid decision making.
Virtually all costs recorded by accountants require a cash outlay at some time. Analysts sometimes need to distinguish between costs associated with current or future cash expenditures and those where the expenditure already occurred.
- Out-of-pocket cost ; outlay cost ; cash cost. An item requiring a current or future cash expenditure.
- Book cost ; sunk cost. A cost incurrence where the cash expenditure has already occurred, such as the cost of depreciation for a machine purchased several years ago. (In accounting, depreciation is an allocation of a previous expenditure, while in economics depreciation represents a decline in current value.)
In decision making, the cost concepts above often get further refined, as follows.
- Incremental cost ; marginal cost ; differential cost ; avoidable cost. The firm will incur (save) incremental costs if it carries out (or stops) a project. These four terms tend to have the same meaning, except that the economist restricts the term "marginal cost" to the cost of producing one more unit. Thus the next unit has a marginal cost; the next week's output has an incremental cost. If a firm produces and sells a new product, the related new costs would properly be called "incremental," not marginal. If a factory is closed, the costs saved are incremental, not marginal.
- Unavoidable cost ; inescapable cost ; sunk cost. Unavoidable costs will occur whether the decision is made to go ahead or not, because the firm has already spent, or committed to spend, the cash. Not all unavoidable costs are book costs; consider a salary promised, but not yet earned, that the firm will pay if it makes a no-go decision. Sunk costs are past costs that current and future decisions cannot affect and, hence, are irrelevant for decision making (aside from income tax effects). For example, the acquisition cost of machinery is irrelevant to a decision of whether to scrap the machinery. In making such a decision, one should consider only the sacrifice of continuing to own it and the cost of, say, the electricity to run the machine, both incremental costs. Sunk costs become relevant for decision making when the analysis requires taking income taxes (gain or loss on disposal of asset) into account, since the cash payment for income taxes depends on the tax basis of the asset. Avoid using the ambiguous term "sunk costs." Consider, for example, a machine costing $100,000 with current salvage value of $20,000. Some would say that $100,000 is sunk; others would say that only $80,000 is sunk. Those who say $100,000 have in mind a gross cost, while those who say $80,000 have in mind a net cost—original amount reduced by current opportunity cost.
In deciding which employees to reward, management often cares about desegregating actual costs into those that are controllable and those not controllable by a given employee or division. All costs can be affected by someone in the firm; those who design incentive schemes attempt to hold a person responsible for a cost only if that person can influence the amount of the cost.
A firm incurs costs because it perceives that it will realize benefits. Careful usage of cost terms distinguishes between incurrences where the firm will enjoy the benefits in the future from those where the firm has already enjoyed the benefits. Accounting distinguishes costs that have future benefits by calling them assets and contrasting them with costs whose benefits the firm has already consumed, by calling them expenses. Other pairs of terms involving this distinction are unexpired cost versus expired cost and product cost versus period cost.
Economists, managers, and regulators make further distinctions between cost concepts, as follows.
- Fully absorbed cost versus variable cost. Fully absorbed costs refer to costs where the firm has allocated fixed manufacturing costs to products produced or divisions within the firm as required by generally accepted accounting principles. Variable costs, in contrast, may be more relevant for making decisions, such as in setting prices or deciding whether a firm has priced below cost for antitrust purposes.
- Fully absorbed cost versus full cost. In full costing, the analysis allocates all costs, manufacturing costs as well as central corporate expenses (including financing expenses), to products or to divisions. In full absorption costing, the firm allocates only manufacturing costs to product. Only in full costing will revenues, expenses, and income summed over all products or divisions equal corporate revenues, expenses, and income.
- Opportunity cost versus outlay cost. Opportunity cost refers to the economic benefit forgone by using a resource for one purpose rather than another. If the firm can sell a machine for $200,000, then the opportunity cost of using that machine in operations is $200,000 independent of its outlay cost or its book cost or its historical cost.
- Future cost versus past cost. Effective decision making analyzes only present and future outlay costs, or out-of-pocket costs. Optimal decisions result from using future costs, whereas financial reporting uses past costs.
- Short-run cost versus long-run cost. For a given configuration of plant and equipment, short-run costs vary as output varies. The firm can incur long-run costs to change that configuration. This pair of terms is the economist's analogy of the accounting pair, above, variable and fixed costs. The analogy is inexact because some short-run costs are fixed, such as property taxes on the factory.
- Imputed cost versus book cost. Imputed costs do not appear in the historical cost accounting records for financial reporting. The actual cost incurred is recorder and is called a book cost. Some regulators calculate the cost of owners' equity capital, for various purposes; these are imputed costs. Opportunity costs are imputed costs and are relevant for decision making.
- Average cost versus marginal cost. This is the economic distinction equivalent to fully absorbed cost of product and variable cost of product. Average cost is total cost divided by number of units. Marginal cost is the cost to produce the next unit (or the last unit).
- Differential cost versus variable cost. Whether a cost changes or remains fixed depends on the activity basis being considered. Typically, but not invariably, analysts term costs as variable, or fixed, with respect to an activity basis such as changes in production levels. Typically, but not invariably, analysts term costs as incremental, or not, with respect to an activity basis, such as the undertaking of some new venture. Consider the decision to undertake the production of food processors, rather than food blenders, which the manufacturer has been making. To produce processors requires the acquisition of a new machine tool. The cost of the new machine tool is incremental with respect to a decision to produce food processors instead of food blenders, but, once acquired, becomes a fixed cost of producing food processors. Consider a firm that will incur costs of direct labor for the production of food processors or food blenders, whichever the firm produces. Assume the firm cannot produce both. Such labor is variable with respect to production measured in units, but not incremental with respect to the decision to produce processors rather than blenders. This distinction often blurs in practice, so a careful understanding of the activity basis being considered is necessary for understanding of the concepts being used in a particular application.
Analysis of operating and manufacturing activities uses the following subdivisions of fixed (historical) costs. Fixed costs have the following components:
Capacity costs (committed costs) give a firm the capability to produce or to sell, while programmed costs (managed costs, discretionary costs), such as for advertising or research, may be nonessential, but once the firm has decided to incur them, they become fixed costs. The firm will incur standby costs even if it does not use existing capacity; examples include property taxes and depreciation on a building. The firm can avoid enabling costs, such as for a security force, if it does not use capacity. A cost fixed over a wide range but that can change is a semifixed cost or "step cost." An example is the cost of rail lines from the factory to the main rail line, where fixed cost depends on whether there are one or two parallel lines but are independent of the number of trains run per day. Semivariable costs combine a strictly fixed component cost plus a variable component. Telephone charges usually have a fixed monthly component plus a charge related to usage.
see also Cost Allocation; Cost-Benefit Analysis; Cost-Volume-Profit Analysis
Buchanan, James M., and Thirlby, G. F. (1973). L.S.E. Essays on Cost. London: Weidenfeld and Nicholson.
Horngren, Charles T., Foster, George, and Datar, Srikant M. (2005). Cost Accounting: A Managerial Emphasi (12th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice-Hall.
Maher, Michael W., Stickney, Clyde P., and Weil, Roman L. (2006). Managerial Accounting: An Introduction to Concepts, Methods, and Uses (9th ed.). Mason, OH: Thomson/South-Western.
Stickney, Clyde P., and Weil, Roman L. (2006). Financial Accounting: An Introduction to Concepts, Methods and Uses (11th ed.). Mason, OH: Thomson/South-Western.
Roman L. Weil
"Costs." Encyclopedia of Business and Finance, 2nd ed.. . Encyclopedia.com. (June 28, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/finance/finance-and-accounting-magazines/costs
"Costs." Encyclopedia of Business and Finance, 2nd ed.. . Retrieved June 28, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/finance/finance-and-accounting-magazines/costs
Fees and charges required by law to be paid to the courts or their officers, the amount of which is specified by court rule or statute. A monetary allowance, granted by the court to a prevailing party and recoverable from the unsuccessful party, for expenses incurred in instituting or defending an action or a separate proceeding within an action.
A bill of costs is a certified, itemized statement of the amount of the expenses incurred in bringing or defending a lawsuit.
A cost bond, or bond for costs, is a promise to pay litigation expenses; it is provided by a party to an action as a guarantee of payment of any costs awarded against him or her. A cost bond also might be required of an appealing party in a civil case, in order to cover the appellee's expenses if the judgment is affirmed.
Final costs are paid at the conclusion of an action, the liability for which depends upon its final outcome.
Interlocutory costsaccrue during the intermediate stages of a proceeding, as distinguished from final costs.
Security for costs refers to an assurance of payment that a defendant may demand of a plaintiff who does not reside within the jurisdiction of the court, for the payment of such costs as might be awarded to the defendant.
Statutory costs are amounts specified by law to be awarded for various phases of litigation.
The award of costs is not a penalty but is a method used to reimburse an innocent party for the expenses of litigation. Costs include the payment of court fees for the commencement of the litigation; the submission of pleadings or other documents; or the service of process or other papers by a public officer. The appointment by a court of a referee to hear extremely technical testimony, or a receiver to retain and preserve the defendant's funds or property during litigation, is included in costs. Costs entail expenditures made in interviewing parties or witnesses prior to trial and the fees that are properly paid to witnesses who testify. Printing expenses for maps or necessary documents are also included.
Costs do not include the compensation of an attorney. Expenditures in terms of the adversary nature of the proceedings, however, are included. Only when specifically authorized by law may attorney's fees be awarded in addition to costs.
A party must request the court to award costs. The court generally defers its decision until judgment is rendered, then determines whether the prevailing party is entitled to costs. The successful party is not required to prevail on every issue or to obtain the entire amount of damages sought. Costs are also awarded to a party prevailing on appeal, even though the case was lost in the trial court.
Under the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, after which most states have patterned their own procedural rules, "costs shall be allowed as of course to the prevailing party unless the court otherwise directs." Since state laws vary on this subject, however, the applicable state law must be consulted to determine the exact rules.
Costs cannot be assessed against a party merely because of tenacity in pursuing the claim. In Delta Air Lines, Inc. v. August, 450 U.S. 346, 101 S. Ct. 1146, 67 L. Ed. 2d 287 (1981), the justices held that plaintiffs who lose their lawsuits in federal court after rejecting a settlement offer (a proposal to avoid litigation by compromising a disputed claim that does not admit liability) are not required to pay the defendant's costs and attorney fees.
Parties may determine the imposition of costs pursuant to an agreement. The court will enforce a contractual provision or a stipulation provided neither is unconscionable or the result of fraud.
When cases involve multiple parties—more than one plaintiff or more than one defendant—a court may allocate costs among the losing parties.
If one party is a stakeholder—a person who is or might be exposed to multiple liability from adverse claims—the stakeholder's costs are generally obtained from all the other parties to an interpleader action or from the stake: funds or property deposited by two persons with a third person, the stakeholder, for delivery to the person entitled to it upon the occurrence of a particular event.
In some instances, the amount of costs is specified by law, which restricts a party who is awarded costs to the figure permitted by law for each component of the total costs.
A court may order a party to post a bond to guarantee that costs will be paid if he or she is unsuccessful. Three other alternatives provide sufficient security: a signed statement by the party that he or she will pay determined costs; the deposit of sufficient funds with the court; or the promise of a person who accepts the obligation to pay in full if the party who would normally be responsible fails to do so.
Denial of Costs
A court may deny costs, although they are ordinarily awarded to the prevailing party. Misconduct, such as the concealment of a party's actual financial circumstances, when relevant to the action, justifies the denial of costs. A court that incurs additional, unnecessary expenses as a result of inadequate preparation of the case by the counsel of the prevailing party is entitled to reject a request for costs. In such an instance, the court has the discretion to order the attorney to pay a client's costs, particularly where his or her actions were grossly negligent.
Costs in criminal proceedings are those expenses specified by law that have been necessarily incurred in a criminal prosecution. The concept of costs was unknown at common law. The allowance of costs, therefore, is based on the applicable statutory provisions.
"Costs." West's Encyclopedia of American Law. . Encyclopedia.com. (June 28, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/law/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/costs
"Costs." West's Encyclopedia of American Law. . Retrieved June 28, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/law/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/costs