Define: Kickback

UK Accounting Glossary

Definition: Kickback

Quick Summary of Kickback

A commercial bribe paid by a seller to a purchasing agent in order to induce the agent to enter into the transaction.

What is the dictionary definition of Kickback?

Dictionary Definition

  1. countable A backward kick.
  2. countable A clandestine payment in return for a favour; especially an illegal one.
  3. uncountable, firearms, machinery Recoil; a sudden backward motion, usually in the direction of the operator.


Full Definition of Kickback

A kickback is a payment of money, favours, or some other value to another individual to perform a certain desired action or to make an important decision in the kickbacker’s favour. The desired action is often a referral that results in a transaction that benefits the person who paid the kickback.

A kickback can be either legal or illegal, depending on the circumstances of the action. A kickback is generally done in secret. In investing, a common kickback is a broker’s reduced commission charged to someone who invests frequently through the broker. Another example is referral payments for finding clients. Kickbacks occur not only in business but also in government sectors.

The US government has laws that prohibit kickback behaviour.


Cite Term

To help you cite our definitions in your bibliography, here is the proper citation layout for the three major formatting styles, with all of the relevant information filled in.

Page URL
Modern Language Association (MLA):
Kickback. Payroll & Accounting Heaven Ltd. March 29, 2020
Chicago Manual of Style (CMS):
Kickback. Payroll & Accounting Heaven Ltd. (accessed: March 29, 2020).
American Psychological Association (APA):
Kickback. Retrieved March 29, 2020, from website:

Definition Sources

Definitions for Kickback are sourced/syndicated and enhanced from:

  • A Dictionary of Economics (Oxford Quick Reference)
  • Oxford Dictionary Of Accounting
  • Oxford Dictionary Of Business & Management

This glossary post was last updated: 10th February 2020.