Accumulated Dividend – Definition

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Accumulated Dividend Definition

An accumulated dividend is a dividend whose payment date is due but it has not been paid to the shareholder. The dividend is retained by the issuer so that it can accumulate compound dividend.

Therefore, we can say that it’s a dividend on preferred stock which is due for payment but the payment is yet to be paid. The dividend is instead carried forward from the past trading period. Another definition for the accumulated dividend is “dividend in arrears.”

A Little More on What is an Accumulated Dividend

Generally, since the accumulated dividend is a dividend in arrears, it is noted as a liability in the company’s balance sheet. It ceases to be a liability the payment is done. Note that it is the company’s obligation to ensure that its shareholders are paid their dividends.

Also, this particular dividend is important and it must, therefore, be given a priority. Meaning, before a corporation makes any other type of dividend payment, it must first pay the preferred shareholders it dividend dues.

In this case, cumulative preferred shareholders have an advantage over the other stockholders. The preference in payment is because the preferred share has guaranteed dividends.

Types of Preferred Cumulative Stock

Preferred cumulative stock exists in the following two forms:

  • Cumulative stock-This type of preferred cumulative shares has guaranteed dividends. This means that whether or not the firm is able to pay the dividends, the shareholder must earn dividends. The dividend payment can either be made immediately or at a future date. The cumulative dividend is usually created when a company is not able to pay dividends to the shareholders. Also, investors may decide to leave their dividend to accumulate so that they can earn guaranteed returns. This makes them preferred stockholders whose dividends must be given, preference when dividends are being paid out.
  • Non-cumulative stock-In this type of preferred cumulative stock, shareholders are paid dividends only after it has been declared by the company. This means that the shareholders of non-cumulative stock can either get the dividends or miss it. It all depends on how the shares trade in the stock market during the trading period.

How Accumulated Dividend Works


For instance, firm ABC has issued a number of preferred shares of $2 per share whose cumulative dividend is done quarterly. Firm ABC also has a number of outstanding common stock which the firm paid a dividend of $1 per share for the last quarter. In addition, there is  a recession in place and the board has suspended dividend payment because the firm’s cash flow has been affected.

In such a situation, the preferred shares would have accumulated dividends. When firm ABC finally decides to pay out dividends to its shareholders, it must first start with the preferred shareholders. This means they are paid all their accumulated dividends before the other shareholders are given. This must be paid in full because if not, it will continue to create the same obligation to the company.

How an Accumulated Dividend is paid to Investors

The way firms deal with accumulated dividend varies from one firm to the other. For instance, some firms may decide to include in the payable accumulated dividend in the payroll system. This is usually done at the investment time. Note that there is a possibility that the sum of dividend to be paid may be subjected to taxation.

Accumulated Dividends and Insurance

Accumulated interest from an insurance company’s context can be affected in terms of payout due to some policies. For instance, an issuer may pay out regular dividends to the policyholders who are active life insurance members. The dividend payment interval may be annually or after set milestone years.

However, when a policyholder dies, the issuer will pay the face value’s death benefits covering the entire life insurance policies. On the other hand, if the individual had a participating policy, it means that he had been receiving regular dividends. In this case, upon his death, the accumulated dividends will then be added to the death’s benefits. This will automatically increase the death benefits payable to the heir.

Also, the participating insurance policyholders might decide to use their accumulated dividend values, to pay for their life insurance premiums. This if this arrangement is well planned; it can eliminate the use of cash to pay life insurance premiums.

Key Takeaways

  • An accumulated dividend is that dividend on a stock of cumulative preferred stock which is yet to be paid to the shareholder.
  • An accumulated dividend is a dividend that the company owes the shareholders.
  • It is the obligation of the company to ensure that it pays its shareholders so that the dividend ceases to be a liability in a company’s balance sheet.
  • Shareholders who own cumulative preferred stock receive their due dividends before the shareholders of other types of stocks.

Reference for “Accumulated Dividend” â€ș Investing â€ș Investing Strategy

Academics research on “Accumulated Dividend”

Capital gains and dividend taxes in firm valuation: evidence of triple taxation, Collins, J. H., & Kemsley, D. (2000). Capital gains and dividend taxes in firm valuation: evidence of triple taxation. The Accounting Review, 75(4), 405-427. Although firms account for entity‐level taxes, they do not account for shareholder‐level capital gains and dividend taxes. To account for these proprietary‐level taxes, we add them to a residual‐income equity valuation model. Empirical analysis supports the model’s predictions. First, both capital gains and dividend taxes reduce investors’ implicit valuation of the reinvested portion of earnings. Second, dividend taxes reduce the valuation of the portion of earnings distributed as dividends, but capital gains taxes do not. Third, dividend taxes reduce the valuation of retained earnings equity, but again, capital gains taxes do not. These findings suggest that investors implicitly extend entity‐level accounting to the proprietary level when they value the firm. The findings also suggest that when fully accounting for the effects of implicit dividend taxes, reinvested earnings appear to be subject to three levels of taxation—corporate, dividend, and capital gains taxes. Paying earnings out as dividends eliminates the capital gains layer of tax and may provide a net wealth benefit for shareholders, rather than a tax penalty as commonly assumed.

Optimal dividend strategies in a CramĂ©r–Lundberg model with capital injections, Kulenko, N., & Schmidli, H. (2008). Optimal dividend strategies in a CramĂ©r–Lundberg model with capital injections. Insurance: Mathematics and Economics, 43(2), 270-278.


We consider a classical risk model with dividend payments and capital injections. Thereby, the surplus has to stay positive. Like in the classical de Finetti problem, we want to maximise the discounted dividend payments minus the penalised discounted capital injections. We derive the Hamilton–Jacobi–Bellman equation for the problem and show that the optimal strategy is a barrier strategy. We explicitly characterise when the optimal barrier is at 0 and find the solution for exponentially distributed claim sizes.

Optimal dividend payment under a ruin constraint: discrete time and state space, Hipp, C. (2003). Optimal dividend payment under a ruin constraint: discrete time and state space. BlÀtter der DGVFM, 26(2), 255-264.


We consider optimal dividend payment under the constraint that the controlled risk process has a ruin probability which does not exceed a given bound. The underlying simple model has independent identically distributed total claims per year and a constant yearly premium, all integers. The solution to this constraint optimization problem is given in a modified Hamilton-Jacobi-Bellman (HJB) equation. It is shown that this equation has a solution, and a verification argument is given showing that the solution of the HJB equation is the value function of the optimization problem. The optimal dividend payment strategy is given in the usual feedback form.

Notional defined contribution pension schemes: why does only Sweden distribute the survivor dividend?, Vidal-MeliĂĄ, C., Boado-Penas, M. D. C., & Navarro-Cabo, F. (2016). Notional defined contribution pension schemes: why does only Sweden distribute the survivor dividend?. Journal of Economic Policy Reform, 19(3), 200-220. The aim of this paper is to analyse the role of the survivor dividend in notional defined contribution (NDC) pension schemes. At present, this feature can only be found in the Swedish defined contribution scheme. We develop a model that endorses the idea that the survivor dividend has a strong basis for enabling the NDC scheme to achieve financial equilibrium and that not including the dividend is a non-transparent way of compensating for increases in longevity and/or legacy costs from old pension systems. We also find that the average effect of the dividend remains unchanged for any constant annual rate of population growth, that contributors who reach retirement age always get a higher return than the scheme does, and that population growth enables cohorts with more years of contributions to benefit to a greater extent from the dividend effect.

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