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In accounting, share capital is the sum of the par value of all issued shares. There are various other non-accounting uses of the term "share capital," some of which are identical to paid-up capital. Issued share capital and paid-up capital are the total amount of capital funded by a company's shareholders. Authorized share capital, on the other hand, is the maximum capital that a company is allowed to raise through the sale of its shares.

Authorized Share Capital Vs. Paid-Up Capital

Before a publicly traded company can sell stock, it must specify a certain limit to the amount of share capital that it is authorized to raise. This limit is set forth in its constitutional documents and can only be changed with the approval of the shareholders. This is sometimes known as the authorized share capital.

A company does not usually issue the full amount of its authorized share capital. Instead, some will be held in reserve by the company for possible future use. The amount that is issued is called the paid-up capital.

Paid-up capital can never exceed authorized share capital. In other words, the authorized share capital represents the upward bound on possible paid-up capital. In terms of investing or immediate business finance decisions, paid-up capital is generally more important.

Finding Authorized Vs. Paid-Up Capital

The amount of authorized share capital must be listed in the company's founding documents. Any time the authorized share capital changes, these changes must be documented and made public.

Paid-up capital can be found or calculated in the company's financial statements. The SEC requires publicly traded companies to disclose all sources of funding to the public.

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