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An overcharge or additional cost.
A surcharge is an added liability imposed on something that is already due, such as a tax on tax. It also refers to the penalty a court can impose on a fiduciary for breaching a duty.
In Equity, surcharging means to show that a particular item, in favor of the party surcharging, should be included in an account that is alleged to be settled or complete.
n. an additional charge of money made because it was omitted in the original calculation or as a penalty, such as for being late in making a payment.
SURCHARGE, chancery practice. When a bill is filed to open an account,
stated, liberty is sometimes given to the plaintiff to surcharge and falsify
such account. That is, to examine not only errors of fact, but errors of
law. 2 Atk. 112; 11 Wheat. 237; 2 Ves. 565.
2. "These terms, `surcharge,' and `falsify,'" says Mr. Justice Story, 1 Eq. Jur. Sec. 525, "have a distinct sense in the vocabulary of courts of equity, a little removed from that, which they bear in the ordinary language of common life. In the language of common life, we understand `surcharge' to import an overcharge in quantity, or price, or degree, beyond what is just and reasonable. In this sense, it is nearly equivalent to `falsify;' for every item, which is not truly charged, as it should be, is false; and by establishing such overcharge it is falsified. But, in the sense of courts of equity, these words are used in contradistinction to each other. A surcharge is appropriately applied to the balance of the whole account; and supposes credits to be omitted, which ought to be allowed. A falsification applies to some item in the debets; and supposes, that the item is wholly false, or in some part erroneous. This distinction is taken notice of by Lord Hardwicke; and the words used by him are so clear, that they supersede all necessity for farther commentary. `Upon a liberty to the plaintiff to surcharge, and falsify,' says he, `the onus probandi is always on the party having that liberty; for the court takes it as a stated account, and establishes it. But, if any of the parties can show an omission, for which credit ought to be, that is, a surcharge, or if anything is inserted, that is a wrong charge, he is at liberty to show it, and that is a falsification. But that must be by proof on his side. And that makes a great difference between the general cases of an open account, and were only [leave] to surcharge and falsify; for such must be made out."