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Stock Dividend Definition, Example, Journal Entries

When earnings fluctuate, the minimum dividend policy acts like an earnings stabilizer for shareholders. It is the date the company’s directors formally approve the fraction of the SD through a vote. In this article, however, stock dividends shall be our primary topic of discussion. An investor’s how to calculate ap days formula return on a stock is determined by the capital gains and dividends received. For example, an investor receives 100 new shares as dividends for holding 1,000 shares. The investor can eventually sell the new shares only and still maintain the same number of shares they had before.

Both small and large stock dividends cause an increase in common stock and a decrease to retained earnings. This is a method of capitalizing (increasing stock) a portion of the company’s earnings (retained earnings). If the stock dividend declared is more than 20%-25% of the existing common stock, it is considered a large stock dividend and its accounting treatment is more like a stock split. At the time of issuance, the stock dividends distributable are debited and common stock is credited. Large stock dividends do not result in any credit to additional paid-up capital. A small stock dividend occurs when a stock dividend distribution is less than 25% of the total outstanding shares based on the shares outstanding prior to the dividend distribution.

  1. Yet, the market capitalization or the company’s equity value remains unchanged.
  2. Dividends are typically paid out of a company’s profits, and are therefore considered a way for the company to distribute its profits to shareholders.
  3. Declaration date is the date that the board of directors declares the dividend to be paid to shareholders.
  4. If a corporation had 100,000 shares outstanding, a stockholder who owned 1,000 shares owned 1% of the corporation (1,000 ÷ 100,000).
  5. You have just obtained your MBA and obtained your dream job with a large corporation as a manager trainee in the corporate accounting department.

A stock dividend is a distribution of shares of a company’s stock to its shareholders. The number of shares distributed is usually proportional to the number of shares that each shareholder already owns. Issuing a stock dividend instead of a cash dividend may signal that the company is using its cash to invest in risky projects. The practice can cast doubt on the company’s management and subsequently depress its stock price. For this reason, shareholders typically believe that a stock dividend is superior to a cash dividend – a cash dividend is treated as income in the year received and is, therefore, taxed.

Both types of stock dividends impact the accounts in stockholders’ equity. A stock split causes no change in any of the accounts within stockholders’ equity. The impact on the financial statement usually does not drive the decision to choose between one of the stock dividend types or a stock split. Large stock dividends and stock splits are done in an attempt to lower the market price of the stock so that it is more affordable to potential investors. A small stock dividend is viewed by investors as a distribution of the company’s earnings.

Similarly, the existing shareholders are rewarded for retaining the shares. Dividends also signal that a company has consistent growth and its earnings forecasts are stable. However, sometimes the company does not have a dividend account such as dividends declared account. This is usually the case in which the company doesn’t want to bother keeping the general ledger of the current year dividends.

Tools like the dividend yield, Dividend Per Share (DPS), and Dividend Payout Ratio (DPR). These tools indicate the level of dividend payouts and create a common base for comparison. As the price falls, the stock becomes affordable, and more investors would want to purchase the stock. Additionally, a company could be limited by debt covenants if they have undertaken a significant amount of debt.

To illustrate, assume that Duratech’s board of directors declares a 4-for-1 common stock split on its $0.50 par value stock. Just before the split, the company has 60,000 shares of common stock outstanding, and its stock was selling at $24 per share. The split causes the number of shares outstanding to increase by four times to 240,000 shares (4 × 60,000), and the par value to decline to one-fourth of its original value, to $0.125 per share ($0.50 ÷ 4). Stock dividends also provide owners with the possibility of other benefits. For example, cash dividend payments usually drop after a stock dividend but not always in proportion to the change in the number of outstanding shares. An owner might hold one hundred shares of common stock in a corporation that has paid $1 per share as an annual cash dividend over the past few years (a total of $100 per year).

On the other hand, stock dividends distribute additional shares of stock, and because stock is part of equity and not an asset, stock dividends do not become liabilities when declared. The number of shares outstanding has increased from the 60,000 shares prior to the distribution, to the 78,000 outstanding shares after the distribution. The difference is the 18,000 additional shares in the stock dividend distribution. No change to the company’s assets occurred; however, the potential subsequent increase in market value of the company’s stock will increase the investor’s perception of the value of the company.

While a company technically has no control over its common stock price, a stock’s market value is often affected by a stock split. When a split occurs, the market value per share is reduced to balance the increase in the number of outstanding shares. In a 2-for-1 split, for example, the value per share typically will be reduced by half. As such, although the number of outstanding shares and the price change, the total market value remains constant.

The total stockholders’ equity on the company’s balance sheet before and after the split remain the same. At the time dividends are declared, the board establishes a date of record and a date of payment. The date of record establishes who is entitled to receive a dividend; stockholders who own stock on the date of record are entitled to receive a dividend even if they sell it prior to the date of payment. Investors who purchase shares after the date of record but before the payment date are not entitled to receive dividends since they did not own the stock on the date of record. The date of payment is the date that payment is issued to the investor for the amount of the dividend declared.

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The announced dividend, despite the cash still being in the possession of the company at the time of the announcement, creates a current liability line item on the balance sheet called “Dividends Payable”. Since the company can issue shares out of retained earnings without affecting the cash reserves, they prefer to indulge in it. The cash amount is unaffected and can be used for other growth opportunities. It can also indicate that the company may have a cash shortage — the disadvantages, although few, are listed below.

Advantages of a Stock Dividend

On the day the board of directors votes to declare a cash dividend, a journal entry is required to record the declaration as a liability. To record the declaration of a dividend, you will need to make a journal entry that includes a debit to retained earnings and a credit to dividends payable. This entry is made at the time the dividend is declared by the company’s board of directors.

The amount transferred depends on whether the stock dividend is (1) a small stock dividend, or (2) a large stock dividend. This is the date that dividend payments are prepared and sent to shareholders who owned stock on the date of record. The related journal entry is a fulfillment of the obligation established on the declaration date; it reduces the Cash Dividends Payable account (with a debit) and the Cash account (with a credit). Therefore, the dividends payable account – a current liability line item on the balance sheet – is recorded as a credit on the date of approval by the board of directors. A company issues a stock dividend of 10% when its outstanding shares are 100,000. When the company issued 10% more shares, the total shares issued increased to $1.1 million.

Capitalization of Retained Earnings to Paid-Up Capital

For the company, a stock dividend is a pain-free way to issue dividends without depleting its cash reserves. As discussed previously, dividend distributions reduce the amount reported as retained earnings but have no impact on reported net income. Even though investors receive more shares, the value is unchanged as the share price is adjusted. Suppose an investor purchased 1,000 shares at $10 when the company announced a stock dividend. At times, investors may be required to comply with a “holding period” for the shares they have newly received.

Dividends are often paid on a regular basis, such as quarterly or annually, but a company may also choose to pay special dividends in addition to its regular dividends. A company that https://intuit-payroll.org/ does not have enough cash may choose to pay a stock dividend in lieu of a cash dividend. In other words, a cash dividend allows a company to maintain its current cash position.

Stock dividends and stock splits are issued to reduce the market price of capital stock and keep potential investors interested in the possibility of acquiring ownership. A stock dividend is recorded as a reduction in retained earnings and an increase in contributed capital. However, stock dividends have no immediate impact on the financial condition of either the company or its stockholders. After the distribution, the total stockholders’ equity remains the same as it was prior to the distribution. The amounts within the accounts are merely shifted from the earned capital account (Retained Earnings) to the contributed capital accounts (Common Stock and Additional Paid-in Capital). The difference is the 3,000 additional shares of the stock dividend distribution.

Double Entry Bookkeeping is here to provide you with free online information to help you learn and understand bookkeeping and introductory accounting. Harold Averkamp (CPA, MBA) has worked as a university accounting instructor, accountant, and consultant for more than 25 years. A financial professional will offer guidance based on the information provided and offer a no-obligation call to better understand your situation.