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Definition of "Penalty"

Amount to be paid by a person or business for violating a statute or legal court order. It may also be assessed for violating the provisions of a contract. Examples of penalties are a charge made by the Internal Revenue Service for underpaying corporate income taxes, penalty assessed by a municipality for failing to pay property taxes, penalty due to prepaying a mortgage, amount arising from breaking a real estate contract, and fee due from prematurely terminating a lease.

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