The Comprehensive Guide to

Passive Income Investing

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What is a Qualified Dividend?

A qualified dividend is a dividend eligible to incur capital gains tax.

How Does a Qualified Dividend Work?

For example, let's assume that John owns 10,000 shares of Company XYZ stock, which pays $0.20 per year in dividends. In total, John receives 10,000 x $0.20 = $2,000 per year in dividends from Company XYZ. Because Company XYZ pays qualified dividends, John Doe must pay capital gains tax (say, 15%) on the dividends rather than ordinary income tax (say, 35%) on the dividends.

In order to be a qualified dividend, the dividend must come from an American company (or a qualifying foreign company), must not be listed as an unqualified dividend with the IRS and must meet a required holding period. In general, the holding period is at least 60 days for common stock, 90 days for preferred stock, and 60 days for a dividend-paying mutual fund.

Why Does a Qualified Dividend Matter?

Capital gains taxes are usually lower than ordinary income taxes, which means that qualified dividends can save investors money on their tax bill.

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Paul Tracy
Paul Tracy

Paul has been a respected figure in the financial markets for more than two decades. Prior to starting InvestingAnswers, Paul founded and managed one of the most influential investment research firms in America, with more than 3 million monthly readers.