What are dividends? What you need to know about taxes and different taxes

Invest in stock market can be a great way to build long term richness. It can also be a source of income for some investors, depending on the type of property they invest in.

One way for investors to make money is through buying stocks, holding them for an extended period of time, and selling them when they have appreciated in price (known as capital gains). But there’s another way shareholders can get a share of a company’s profits when it has a revenue surplus, usually quarterly: dividends.

Here’s how they work and how shareholders can use those funds.

What are dividends?

Dividends are periodic payments to shareholders by the company they have invested in. When a company earns enough revenue to cover its basic operating expenses and projects, it can choose to split the excess money among its shareholders.

The amount investors can expect to earn from dividends will depend on a number of different factors, including the number of shares you own, the companies you’ve invested in, and how often they decide to pay dividends. . It’s important to note that these payments can fluctuate with changes in a company’s bottom line or even broader market conditions if there are major changes in the company’s particular sector.

Companies choose to pay dividends for a number of reasons:

Dividends attract more investors: Not every investor enjoys playing the long-term game. Dividends are one way that companies can keep investors interested in investing in their company.

Dividends can be a sign of financial health: Having enough money to pay dividends can let investors know that the company they are investing in is doing well. “To pay dividends consistently, a company must generate sufficient cash flow,” says Robert R. Johnson, CFA and Professor of Finance at Creighton University’s Heider College of Business. “Paying dividends consistently over time shows that a company has a viable long-term business model.”

But not all companies pay dividends. Some people may choose to keep the money and reinvest it in the company, especially if the company is less established or focused on expansion. Companies also often pause dividends if they are experiencing some kind of financial trouble such as a drop in revenue or a costly lawsuit.

When investing in dividend stocks, there are some basic terms you need to know:

  • Dividend yield: This is the annual dividend per share divided by the share price.
  • Record date: The date the company will check and record information on who is eligible to receive the dividend.
  • Exempt transaction date: This is essentially a cut-off date. In other words, if you buy stock on or after this date, you won’t receive the next dividend the company is expected to pay.
  • Declaration date: This is the date when the company’s board of directors officially announces the upcoming dividend. You can expect to learn about dividend amounts, ex-dividend dates, and payment dates.
  • Date of payment: The date on which companies will send checks to shareholders or credit their brokerage accounts.

What are the different types of dividends?

Dividends can come in many different forms, as well as at different time periods. But in general, dividends are one way that companies can entice investors to invest in their companies. Some common types of dividends include:

Cash dividend

These are the most common types of dividends and are paid by transferring a certain amount of cash to shareholders. These dividends are usually paid quarterly, although some companies may choose to pay monthly, semi-annually or in lump sum.

Share dividend

Companies may choose to pay dividends in the form of incremental stock instead of cash. This can be a boon to shareholders as these stock dividends are not taxed until the shareholder sells these shares. But experts say this could also dilute stock prices. “Essentially, each shareholder owns the same percentage of the company after the stock dividend as they did before the stock dividend,” says Johnson.

Dividend Scrip

When a company doesn’t have enough money to issue a dividend in the near future, it issues a scenario dividend, essentially a promissory note that promises to be paid to shareholders at a later date. These dividends may or may not include interest.

Property dividends

While less common, some companies pay dividends by giving assets or inventory to shareholders instead of cash. They use the fair market value of assets to determine how much each shareholder will receive.

Liquidation of dividends

This is a type of dividend paid to shareholders upon partial or complete liquidation. The company will return the amount originally contributed by the shareholders and, therefore, these dividends are generally not taxed.

How often are dividends paid?

In most cases, a company will pay dividends to its shareholders quarterly. But there is no set rule for how often this happens. A company’s board of directors decides how much and how often dividends are paid based on how much the company earns and what its goals are.

Once the business turns a profit, the business can reinvest money back into the business, save for emergency expenses, buy back shares from shareholders, or pay dividends to shareholders. You can determine when and how much you will receive dividends by paying attention to dividend yield, declared, ex-dividend, and payment date. It is important to note that you do not always receive dividends.

“Unlike the above interest payments linkDoug “Buddy” Amis, a certified financial planner and president of Cardinal Retirement Planning Inc. in North Carolina, said there is no guarantee that dividends should be paid. “As we work with clients to improve their retirement cash flow, it is important to understand that dividends are not guaranteed and may be subject to change or pause.”

Are dividends taxable?

Dividends are generally considered taxable income and subject to federal and state taxes, regardless of whether you decide to take them out of your pocket or reinvest them. While there are some exceptions, such as dividend-paying stocks held in a tax-deferred account such as a Roth IRA or 401(k), or dividends that are considered payback and are not taxed until the investment sold. But exactly how much you pay can vary depending on whether your dividends are qualified or not.

Qualified dividends: These are dividends that are taxed at the capital gains tax rate (lower than the standard income tax rate). For a dividend to be considered a qualifying payment, it must meet a minimum holding period and be paid by a U.S. company or a foreign company listed on a U.S. stock exchange. . These dividends qualify for the long-term capital gains tax rate, depending on your income and tax return status, are 0%, 15% and 20%.

Unqualified dividends: Unqualified dividends (or ordinary dividends) are taxed as “ordinary income” and are subject to your ordinary income tax rate, which can be anywhere from 10% to 37%.

What should you do with dividends?

When you receive a dividend, you can use it in a number of different ways. Ultimately, how you choose to use your dividends will depend on your personal financial situation and investment goals. You can:

  1. Pocket money: Once you receive your dividend payment, you can choose to keep the money, which may make more sense for certain investors depending on their financial goals and position in life. “Dividend stocks can provide periodic cash flow, [which is] Amis said.
  2. Reinvest the funds: For investors who want to continue to let their investments grow, reinvesting those funds through a company’s dividend reinvestment plan (DRIP) may be a better option. . These plans can be more profitable in the long run because it gives investors the opportunity to use their dividends to buy more shares at a lower price. consistent rate and increase their investment little by little.

Dividend stocks can be an important component of a well-balanced portfolio and can benefit shareholders across the board. They can be both an additional source of short-term income and a way for investors to grow their portfolios over time.


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