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What is a stock dividend?
A stock dividend is essentially a dividend payment made in the form of additional shares instead of the typical cash payout. If a company's tight on liquid cash, it may decide to distribute dividend stocks to shareholders instead. They're typically acknowledged in the form of fractions paid per existing share owned. Depending on the company, the payout frequency of their dividend will differ.
The shareholder can keep the shares and hope that the company will be able to use the money not paid out in a cash dividend to earn a better rate of return. Alternatively, the shareholder could sell some of the shares for cash. The biggest benefit of a stock dividend over a cash dividend is that shareholders don't have to pay tax on it. If a stock dividend has a cash-dividend option, then tax does need to be paid (even if the shares are kept instead of the cash!)
How do stock dividends work?
A stock dividend is kind of similar to a stock split, in that a company will issue new shares to shareholders in proportion to their shares outstanding. A stock dilution of 25% or greater is considered a split. Stock splits simply reduce the par value per share of stock outstanding. In contrast, stock dividends require the shifting of retained earnings into the company's capital stock account, which reduces the cash available to pay out classified as a dividend. Cash paid out that is greater than retained earnings is classified as a return of capital.
Stock dividends are typically in the 5% to 15% range. If a company pays a 10% stock dividend, it means that each shareholder will receive one new share for every ten shares they own. After the dividend is paid out, a shareholder with 100 shares will then own 110 shares