Do Dividend Payments Respond to Taxes? Preliminary Evidence from the 2003 Dividend Tax Cut
The individual income tax burden on dividends was lowered sharply in 2003 from a maximum rate of 35% to 15%, creating a unique opportunity to analyze the effects of dividend taxes on dividend payments by U.S. corporations. This paper uses data from the Center for Research in Security Prices (CRSP) spanning 1980 to 2004-Q1 to analyze this issue. We find a sharp and widespread surge in dividend distributions following the tax cut, along several dimensions. First, the fraction of publicly traded firms paying dividends began to increase precisely in 2003 after having declined continuously for more than two decades. Nearly 150 firms have initiated dividend payments after the tax cut, adding more than $1.5 billion to aggregate quarterly dividends. Most of these firms initiated regular, recurrent payments rather than one-time special' distributions. Second, many firms that were already paying dividends prior to the reform raised regular dividend payments significantly after the tax cut. Third, special dividends also rose, but the magnitude of this effect is likely to be small relative to the increases in regular distributions in the long run. All three of these effects are significant among all company sizes, and are robust to controls for profits and other firm characteristics. The surge in regular dividend payments after the 2003 reform is unprecedented in recent years. The Tax Reform Act of 1986, which also reduced the top individual tax rate on dividends significantly, led to a temporary, concentrated rise in special dividend payments. However, the number of regular dividend payers did not rise much after the 1986 reform.
|Date of creation:||Jun 2004|
|Publication status:||published as "Dividend Taxes and Corporate Behavior: Evidence from the 2003 Dividend Tax Cut," Quarterly Journal of Economics 120(3): 791-833, 2005.|
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02138, U.S.A.|
Web page: http://www.nber.org
More information through EDIRC
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Eugene F. Fama & Kenneth R. French, 2001.
"Disappearing Dividends: Changing Firm Characteristics Or Lower Propensity To Pay?,"
Journal of Applied Corporate Finance,
Morgan Stanley, vol. 14(1), pages 67-79.
- Fama, Eugene F. & French, Kenneth R., 2001. "Disappearing dividends: changing firm characteristics or lower propensity to pay?," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 60(1), pages 3-43, April.
- Eugene F. Fama & Kenneth R. French, "undated". "Disappearing Dividends: Changing Firm Characteristics or Lower Propensity to Pay?."," CRSP working papers 509, Center for Research in Security Prices, Graduate School of Business, University of Chicago.
- Paul Gompers & Joy Ishii & Andrew Metrick, 2003. "Corporate Governance and Equity Prices," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 118(1), pages 107-156.
- Paul A. Gompers & Joy L. Ishii & Andrew Metrick, 2001. "Corporate Governance and Equity Prices," NBER Working Papers 8449, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Paul A. Gompers & Joy L. Ishii & Andrew Metrick, 2002. "Corporate Governance and Equity Prices," Center for Financial Institutions Working Papers 02-32, Wharton School Center for Financial Institutions, University of Pennsylvania.
- Rafael La Porta & Florencio Lopez-de-Silanes & Andrei Shleifer & Robert W. Vishny, 2000. "Agency Problems and Dividend Policies around the World," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 55(1), pages 1-33, 02.
- Rafael La Porta & Florencio Lopez-de-Silanes & Andrei Shleifer & Robert W. Vishny, 1998. "Agency Problems and Dividend Policies Around the World," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1839, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
- Rafael La Porta & Florencio Lopez-de-Silane & Andrei Shleifer & Robert Vishny, 1998. "Agency Problems and Dividend Policies Around the World," NBER Working Papers 6594, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Lambert, Richard A. & Lanen, William N. & Larcker, David F., 1989. "Executive Stock Option Plans and Corporate Dividend Policy," Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis, Cambridge University Press, vol. 24(04), pages 409-425, December.
- repec:hrv:faseco:30747163 is not listed on IDEAS
- Auerbach, Alan J. & Hassett, Kevin A., 2003. "On the marginal source of investment funds," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 87(1), pages 205-232, January.
- Alan J. Auerbach & Kevin A. Hassett, 2000. "On the Marginal Source of Investment Funds," NBER Working Papers 7821, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- DeAngelo, Harry & DeAngelo, Linda & Skinner, Douglas J., 2000. "Special dividends and the evolution of dividend signaling," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 57(3), pages 309-354, September. Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)