What are Dividends (p.9)
Payments of cash from a corporation to its stockholders
When a corporation earns a profit or surplus, that money can be put to two uses: it can either be re-invested in the business (called retained earnings), or it can be distributed to shareholders. There are two ways to distribute cash to shareholders: share repurchases or dividends. Many corporations retain a portion of their earnings and pay the remainder as a dividend.A dividend is allocated as a fixed amount per share. Therefore, a shareholder receives 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 shareholder equity section in 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.