Calculating Dividend Paid from Income Statement

Investors purchase shares in companies expecting income from their investment. This income comes in two forms. For most investors, capital gains from the appreciation in the price of a share constitute the primary earning from these investments. However, some companies also pay dividends that contribute to the income that shareholders receive from these shares.

Investors can establish how much dividends a company has paid from its cash flow statement. However, they can also estimate those dividends from the income statement. Before discussing this method, it is crucial to understand dividends and how they work.

What Are Dividends?

Dividends are a distribution of income or retained earnings made by companies toward their shareholders. Usually, these come in a monetary form, i.e., cash. However, some companies may also distribute them through stocks. Dividends are a form of income from the shareholders. However, they do not constitute an expense for the company. Instead, dividends paid are a reduction in capital reserves.

Dividends are crucial for companies as they help provide an incentive for shareholders. Most established companies offer a stable income in this form. However, some companies may not distribute their profits through dividends at all. However, shareholders can still generate income through capital gains from stock price fluctuations.

Is Dividend an expense on the Income Statement?

A dividend is a distribution of profits or retained earnings. However, it does not constitute an expense on the income statement. Despite its nature, dividends do not meet the criteria to classify as expenses. Furthermore, dividends are not a part of the income statement at all. It may confuse most investors who search for the dividend paid figure in the income statement.

Dividends primarily impact the balance sheet and the cash flow statement. In the former case, any obligation toward the shareholders to distribute profits gets reported as a current liability. On the other hand, once companies pay out these amounts, they present them as dividends paid in the cash flow statement. The income statement only includes the profits for the year, which play a role in calculating the amount.

How to calculate Dividend Paid from Income Statement?

Investors may wonder if they can calculate dividends paid from the income statement. As mentioned above, companies do not report these figures in this statement. Therefore, calculating dividends paid from the income statement is not possible. However, investors can still estimate how much profits the company may distribute based on historical records.

Investors can use the following formula to estimate dividends from the income statement.

Dividend = Net income x Dividend payout ratio

Net income in the formula comes from the income statement. On the other hand, investors can get the dividend payout ratio from historical records of the company’s dividend payouts. This ratio shows the percentage of profits that companies distribute as dividends.


A company, Green Co., generates a net income of $100,000 during a fiscal year. The company has historically distributed 30% of its profits as dividends. Based on these figures, investors can estimate the dividend from the income statement as follows.

Dividend = Net income x Dividend payout ratio

Dividend = $100,000 x 30%

Dividend = 30,000


Dividends represent the distribution of profits or retained earnings. Companies report this amount in the cash flow statement. However, investors can estimate the figure through the income statement as well. For that, they must multiply the net income with the dividend payout ratio. This figure does not represent the actual dividend the company will distribute, though.

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