Video: Taxes on Dividends Explained

Updated for Tax Year 2012


OVERVIEW

If you purchase stock in a corporation or invest in a mutual fund that periodically pays dividends, the payments you receive throughout the year can provide you with some extra income. Watch this video to find out more about how this income may affect your taxes. Note: The tax rates in this video apply for tax years 2012 and earlier.


Video transcript:

Hello, I’m Jill from Turbo Tax, with important news for taxpayers who receive dividends on their stock and mutual fund investments.

If you purchase stock in a corporation or invest in a mutual fund that periodically pays dividends, the payments you receive throughout the year can provide you with some extra income. Though you must always report the dividend income on your tax return—it doesn’t always mean you will pay tax on it.

Whenever you receive dividend payments throughout the year, the corporation or mutual fund you receive it from must report the annual total to you on a 1099-DIV form. It’s extremely important that you keep track of the 1099-DIVs you receive for when you prepare your tax return.

Your 1099-DIV will have numbered boxes that correspond to various types of dividends and other payments you receive during the year. However, for purposes of determining how much tax you will pay on your dividends, you’ll want to focus on boxes 1a and 1b. And if amounts are reported in box 2a, those dividends are reported and taxed as long term capital gains.

Box 1a reports your total ordinary dividend income for the year, whereas, box 1b reports the amount of box 1a that are qualified dividends. If the amount you see in box 1b is zero, it means that all of the dividends you receive during the year will be taxed at the same rates as most of your other income, such as employment wages and the interest you earn in a bank account.

Qualified dividends, on the other hand, receive special tax treatment. Although the IRS never treats your dividend payments as capital assets, your qualified dividends are taxed at capital gains rates. As a result, you will pay either zero or 15 percent tax on the amount reported in box two—but this depends on what your highest tax bracket is.

  • If the highest tax rate your taxable income is subject to is 10 or 15 percent, no tax is due on your qualified dividends.
  • But if your highest rate of tax is 25 percent or more, you will pay a 15 percent tax on your qualified dividends.

Because the most you can be taxed on qualified dividends is 15 percent, you will always pay less tax than on unqualified dividends.

One last thing you should be aware of is that the IRS requires you to file a Schedule B with your tax return if the total of your annual dividend payments exceeds $1,500.

Not sure which schedules to file with your return? When you file with TurboTax, you don’t need to know a thing about schedules. We’ll ask you simple questions and determine the filing status and forms that give you the biggest tax refund.

Got investments?

From stocks and bonds to rental income, TurboTax Premier helps you get your taxes done right

For only $79.99$59.99*
Start for Free

Looking for more information?

The above article is intended to provide generalized financial information designed to educate a broad segment of the public; it does not give personalized tax, investment, legal, or other business and professional advice. Before taking any action, you should always seek the assistance of a professional who knows your particular situation for advice on taxes, your investments, the law, or any other business and professional matters that affect you and/or your business.


Security is built into everything we do
Here's how
* Important Offer Details and Disclosures
  • TURBOTAX ONLINE/MOBILE

  • Try for Free/Pay When You File: TurboTax online and mobile pricing is based on your tax situation and varies by product. Absolute Zero $0 federal (forms 1040EZ/1040A) + $0 state limited time offer only available with TurboTax Free Edition; offer may change or end at any time without notice. Actual prices are determined at the time of print or e-file and are subject to change without notice. Savings and price comparisons based on anticipated price increase. Special discount offers may not be valid for mobile in-app purchases.
  • QuickBooks Self-Employed Offer with TurboTax Self-Employed: To receive your complimentary subscription to QuickBooks Self-Employed through 4/30/19, you must pay for your 2017 TurboTax Self-Employed return by 4/17/18 and sign-in and access your QuickBooks Self-Employed account via mobile app or at https://selfemployed.intuit.com/turbotax at least twice by 7/15/18. You will have the option of renewing your QuickBooks Self-Employed subscription by 4/30/19 for another year at the then-current subscription rate. You may cancel your subscription at any time from within the QuickBooks Self-Employed billing section. See QuickBooks.com for price comparison. Offer not valid for existing QuickBooks Self-Employed subscribers already on a payment plan.
  • Pays for itself (TurboTax Self-Employed): Estimates based on deductible business expenses calculated at the self-employment tax income rate (15%) for tax year 2017. Actual results will vary based on your tax situation.
  • Anytime, anywhere: Internet access required; standard data rates apply to download and use mobile app.
  • Fastest refund possible: Fastest tax refund with e-file and direct deposit; tax refund time frames will vary.
  • Pay for TurboTax out of your federal refund: A $X.XX Refund Processing Service fee applies to this payment method. Prices are subject to change without notice.
  • TurboTax Help and Support: Access to a TurboTax specialist is included with TurboTax Deluxe, Premier, Self-Employed and TurboTax Live; not included with Free Edition (but is available as an upgrade). TurboTax specialists are available to provide general customer help and support using the TurboTax product. SmartLook on-screen help is available on a PC, laptop or the TurboTax mobile app. Service, area of expertise, experience levels, wait times, hours of operation and availability vary, and are subject to restriction and change without notice.
  • Tax Advice, Expert Review and TurboTax Live: Access to tax advice and Expert Review (the ability to have a Tax Expert review and/or sign your tax return) is included with TurboTax Live or as an upgrade from another version, and available through October 15, 2018. These services are provided only by credentialed CPAs, EAs or tax attorneys. State tax advice is free. Some tax topics or situations may not be included as part of this service, which shall be determined in the tax expert’s sole discretion. In the event your return is reviewed by a tax expert and requires a significant level of tax advice or actual preparation, the tax expert may be required to sign your return as the preparer at which point they will assume primary responsibility for the preparation of your return. Expert Review [and TurboTax Live] not available on the TurboTax mobile app or when using a web browser on your mobile phone. On-screen help is available on a PC, laptop or the TurboTax mobile app. Service, area of expertise, experience levels, wait times, hours of operation and availability vary, and are subject to restriction and change without notice.
  • Tax Return Access and My Docs features: Included with TurboTax Deluxe, Premier, Self-Employed, TurboTax Live or with PLUS benefits. Access to all tax-related documents we have on file for you is available through 10/31/2019. Terms and conditions may vary and are subject to change without notice.
  • #1 best-selling tax software: Based on aggregated sales data for all tax year 2016 TurboTax products.
  • Most Popular: TurboTax Deluxe is our most popular product among TurboTax Online users with more complex tax situations.
  • CompleteCheck: Covered under the TurboTax accurate calculations and maximum refund guarantees.
  • #1 rated online tax prep provider: Based on independent comparison of the best online tax software by TopTenReviews.com March 13, 2017.
  • Get tips based on your tax and credit data to help get you to where you want to be: Tax and credit data accessed upon your consent.
  • TURBOTAX CD/DOWNLOAD SOFTWARE

  • TurboTax CD/Download products: Price includes tax preparation and printing of federal tax returns and free federal e-file of up to 5 federal tax returns. Additional fees apply for e-filing state returns. E-file fees do not apply to New York state returns. Savings and price comparison based on anticipated price increase. Prices subject to change without notice.
  • Fastest refund possible: Fastest tax refund with e-file and direct deposit; tax refund time frames will vary.
  • Pay for TurboTax out of your federal refund: A $X.XX Refund Processing Service fee applies to this payment method. Prices are subject to change without notice. This benefit is available with TurboTax Federal products except TurboTax Business.
  • About our TurboTax Product Experts: Customer service and product support vary by time of year.
  • About our credentialed tax experts: Live tax advice via phone is included with Premier and Home & Business; fees apply for Basic and Deluxe customers. State tax advice is free. Service, experience levels, hours of operation and availability vary, and are subject to restriction and change without notice. Not available for TurboTax Business customers.
  • #1 best-selling tax software: Based on aggregated sales data for all tax year 2016 TurboTax products.
  • Data Import: Imports financial data from participating companies; may require a free Intuit online account. Quicken and QuickBooks import not available with TurboTax installed on a Mac. Imports from Quicken (2016 and higher) and QuickBooks Desktop (2012 and higher); both Windows only. Quicken import not available for TurboTax Business. Quicken products provided by Quicken Inc., Quicken import subject to change.