Types of Dividends and other Forms of Shareholder Returns
Dividends are usually paid out on a regular or special basis. Regular dividends fromU.S.companies are paid on a quarterly basis with the holder-of-record date two business days after the ex-dividend date. The ex-dividend date is the first day the shares trade without the dividend so anyone with the shares on the day before will receive the dividend on the payment date.
Special dividends, more often from cyclical companies experiencing a profit windfall, are rare and set by the board of directors. Liquidating dividends may be paid to shareholders when a company dissolves and is treated as a capital gain or loss for tax purposes.