Illegal Dividend

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DEFINITION of 'Illegal Dividend'

A dividend declared by a corporation that is in violation of its charter and/or of state laws. Should such a dividend be declared, the company's board of directors can be sued by its shareholders and creditors; the company may also face prosecution.

BREAKING DOWN 'Illegal Dividend'

Many states prohibit dividend payments from the capital surplus account. Dividends are generally paid out of net income or retained earnings. Illegal dividends may significantly weaken the financial position of the company and expose its creditors to a greater degree of risk.

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RELATED FAQS
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    Because of the small market capitalization and revenues typical of most penny stocks, there are very few that offer dividends. ... Read Full Answer >>
  2. How do dividend distributions affect additional paid in capital?

    Whether a dividend distribution has any effect on additional paid-in capital depends solely on what type of dividend is issued: ... Read Full Answer >>
  3. When does the holding period on a stock dividend start?

    The holding period on a stock dividend typically begins the day after it is purchased. Understanding the holding period is ... Read Full Answer >>
  4. What is the average annual dividend yield of companies in the retail sector?

    According to data published by the NYU Leonard N. Stern School of Business, as of January 2015, the average annual dividend ... Read Full Answer >>
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