Why do companies issue liquidating dividends

Unfortunately, no clear-cut guidance exists regarding the period over which liquidating distributions can be made. Shareholders should maintain documentation that multiple distributions are liquidating distributions whenever multiple distributions are necessary (especially if they will span several tax years and, therefore, result in tax deferral). The request limits the time for assessing tax or beginning a court action to collect the tax to 18 months from the date the request is filed. One example of a situation when a request for prompt assessment might be appropriate is the liquidation of a corporation because of shareholder differences. Keller, and Robert Popovitch, published by Thomson Tax & Accounting, Fort Worth, Texas, 2012 (800-323-8724; ppc.thomson.com).

For example, a plan of liquidation documented in the corporate minutes could state that multiple liquidating distributions will occur and explain the business reasons for this. It does not extend the time in which an assessment can be made beyond three years from the date the return was filed (Regs. If the IRS assesses an additional tax liability after the assets have been divided among the shareholders, disagreements could arise regarding who is responsible for the deficiency. The package includes final regulations, guidance on how to calculate W-2 wages, a safe-harbor rule for rental real estate businesses, and new proposed rules on the treatment of previously suspended losses.

The advantages of paying dividends include assuring investors of a reliable earnings source and letting them reap the monetary benefits of the stock’s growth without selling it.

Caution: Shareholders may want to evaluate the sale or disposal of stock by the end of 2012 to take advantage of the 15% dividend tax rate, lower individual income tax rates, and lower capital gain tax rates set to expire on Dec. Guidance on the tax treatment of these items in 2013 and subsequent tax years is uncertain, so practitioners should watch for future legislation.331 for the difference between the FMV and the shareholder’s basis in the stock).As a result, the tax consequences of a subsequent sale of the assets by the shareholder should be minimal. The corporation is treated as selling the distributed assets for FMV to its shareholders, with the resulting corporate-level tax consequences.Distributing profits to shareholders signals a healthy future for the company and gives it additional publicity when it declares dividends.The primary disadvantage of paying dividends is a decrease in the company’s retained earnings, which could be used to cover unforeseen expenses and debt obligations.

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