Dividend-Detailed Discussion

dividend is a payment made by a corporation to its shareholders, usually as a distribution of profits. When a corporation earns a profit or surplus, it can either re-invest it in the business (called retained earnings), or it can distribute it to shareholders. A corporation may retain a portion of its earnings and pay the remainder as a dividend. Distribution to shareholders can be in cash (usually a deposit into a bank account) or, if the corporation has a dividend reinvestment plan, the amount can be paid by the issue of further shares or share repurchase.

A dividend is allocated as a fixed amount per share, with shareholders receiving a dividend in proportion to their shareholding. For the joint stock company, paying dividends is not an expense; rather, it is the division of after tax profits among shareholders. Retained earnings (profits that have not been distributed as dividends) are shown in the shareholders’ equity section on the company’s balance sheet – the same as its issued share capital. Public Companies usually pay dividends on a fixed schedule, but may declare a dividend at any time, sometimes called a special dividend to distinguish it from the fixed schedule dividends. Cooperatives, on the other hand, allocate dividends according to members’ activity, so their dividends are often considered to be a pre-tax expense.

Forms of payment

Cash dividends are the most common form of payment and are paid out in currency, usually via electronic fund transfer or a printed paper cheque. Such dividends are a form of investment income and are usually taxable to the recipient in the year they are paid. This is the most common method of sharing corporate profits with the shareholders of the company. For each share owned, a declared amount of money is distributed. Thus, if a person owns 100 shares and the cash dividend is 50 pence per share, the holder of the stock will be paid GBP £50. Dividends paid are not classified as an expense, but rather a deduction of retaines earnings. Dividends paid does not show up on an  income statement but does appear on the balance sheet.

Stock or scrip dividends are those paid out in the form of additional stock shares of the issuing corporation, or another corporation (such as its subsidiary corporation). They are usually issued in proportion to shares owned (for example, for every 100 shares of stock owned, a 5% stock dividend will yield 5 extra shares).

Nothing tangible will be gained if the stock is split because the total number of shares increases, lowering the price of each share, without changing the market capitalization, or total value, of the shares held.

Stock dividend distributions are issues of new shares made to limited partners by a partnership in the form of additional shares. Nothing is split, these shares increase the market capitalization and total value of the company at the same time reducing the original cost basis per share.

Stock dividends are not includable in the gross income of the shareholder for US income tax purposes. Because the shares are issued for proceeds equal to the pre-existing market price of the shares; there is no negative dilution in the amount recoverable.

Property dividends or dividends “in kind” are those paid out in the form of assets from the issuing corporation or another corporation, such as a subsidiary corporation. They are relatively rare and most frequently are securities of other companies owned by the issuer, however they can take other forms, such as products and services.

Interim dividends are dividend payments made before a company’s Annual General Meeting (AGM) and final financial statements. This declared dividend usually accompanies the company’s interim financial statements.

Other dividends can be used in structured finance. Financial assets with a known market value can be distributed as dividends; warrants are sometimes distributed in this way. For large companies with subsidiaries, dividends can take the form of shares in a subsidiary company. A common technique for “spinning off” a company from its parent is to distribute shares in the new company to the old company’s shareholders. The new shares can then be traded independently.

 

Dividend dates

Any dividend that is declared must be approved by a company’s board of directors before it is paid. For public componies, there are four important dates to remember regarding dividends. These are discussed in detail with examples at the Securities and Exchange Commission site.

Declaration date is the day the Board of Directors announces its intention to pay a dividend. On this day, a liability is created and the company records that liability on its books; it now owes the money to the stockholders. On the declaration date, the Board will also announce a date of record and a payment date.

In-dividend date is the last day, which is one trading day before the ex-dividend date, where the stock is said to be cum dividend (‘with including dividend’). In other words, existing holders of the stock and anyone who buys it on this day will receive the dividend, whereas any holders selling the stock lose their right to the dividend. After this date the stock becomes ex dividend.

Ex-dividend date (typically 2 trading days before the record date for U.S. securities) is the day on which all shares bought and sold no longer come attached with the right to be paid the most recently declared dividend. This is an important date for any company that has many stockholders, including those that trade on exchanges, as it makes reconciliation of who is to be paid the dividend easier. Existing holders of the stock will receive the dividend even if they now sell the stock, whereas anyone who now buys the stock will not receive the dividend. It is relatively common for a stock’s price to decrease on the ex-dividend date by an amount roughly equal to the dividend paid. This reflects the decrease in the company’s assets resulting from the declaration of the dividend. The company does not take any explicit action to adjust its stock price; in an efficient market, buyers and sellers will automatically price this in.

Book closure date Whenever a company announces a dividend pay-out, it also announces a date on which the company will ideally temporarily close its books for fresh transfers of stock.

Record date Shareholders registered in the stockholders of record on or before the date of record will receive the dividend. Shareholders who are not registered as of this date will not receive the dividend. Registration in most countries is essentially automatic for shares purchased before the ex-dividend date.

Payment date is the day when the dividend cheques will actually be mailed to the shareholders of a company or credited to brokerage accounts.

Dividend taxation

In India, companies declaring or distributing dividend, are required to pay a Corporate Dividend Tax in addition to the tax levied on their income. Dividend received is exempt in the hands of the shareholder’s, in respect of which Corporate Dividend Tax has been paid by the company.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*

12345

*