TurboTax / Tax Calculators & Tips / All Tax Guides / Investments and Taxes / Video: Taxes on Dividends Explained

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.


Got investments?

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

For only $79.99*
Start for Free

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.

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.

* Important Offer Details and Disclosures
  • Try for Free/Pay When You File: TurboTax online and mobile pricing is based on your tax situation and varies by product. Actual prices are determined at the time of print or efile and are subject to change without notice. Special discount offers may not be valid for mobile in-app purchases.
  • TurboTax CD/Download products: Price includes tax preparation and printing of federal tax returns and free federal efile of up to 5 federal tax returns. Additional fees apply for efiling state returns. E-file fees do not apply to New York state returns. Prices subject to change without notice.
  • TurboTax Mobile: Actual prices are determined at the time of print or efile and are subject to change without notice. Come back here before you file to confirm that the price has not changed, especially if it's been a while since you downloaded this app.
  • Anytime, anywhere: Internet access required; standard message and data rates apply to download and use mobile app features and content. TurboTax mobile app devices supported include Android 4.1 and above, iOS 8 on iPhone 4s and above, and iPad 2.
  • Fastest refund possible: Fastest tax refund with efile and direct deposit; tax refund timeframes will vary.
  • Pay for TurboTax out of your federal refund: A $34.99 Refund Processing Service fee applies to this payment method. Prices are subject to change without notice.
  • About our TurboTax Product Experts: Customer service and product support (phone or chat) vary by time of year. Phone support not included with Free Edition.
  • About our credentialed tax experts: Live tax advice service is available for your toughest tax questions; fees may apply. Service, experience levels, hours of operation and availability vary, and are subject to restriction and change without notice. Click here for full terms and conditions. Not available for TurboTax Business customers.
  • Get up to 10% on top of your federal refund: Amazon.com Gift Card offer is for federal refunds only. Limits apply ($2000 per e-card, maximum $10,000 per customer). Offer available only for TurboTax Online (except Federal Free Edition) or CD/download versions sold and shipped, or downloaded directly from Intuit or Amazon. Except as required by law, Amazon.com Gift Cards cannot be canceled, transferred for value or redeemed for cash.

    Amazon.com is not a sponsor of this promotion. Except as required by law, Amazon.com Gift Cards ('GCs') cannot be transferred for value or redeemed for cash. GCs may be used only for purchases of eligible goods at Amazon.com or certain of its affiliated websites. For complete terms and conditions, see www.amazon.com/gc-legal. GCs are issued by ACI Gift Cards, Inc., a Washington corporation. All Amazon ®, ™ & © are IP of Amazon.com or its affiliates. No expiration date or service fees.
  • #1 best-selling tax software: Based on aggregated sales data for all tax year 2013 TurboTax products.
  • 4.8 out of 5 stars: Average based on customer ratings on TurboTax.com for TurboTax Online and CD/download products tax year 2014, as of January 2015.
  • Most Popular: TurboTax Deluxe is our most popular product among TurboTax Online users with more complex tax situations.
  • TurboTax CD/Download priority phone support: Priority phone support for TurboTax CD/Download Premier and Home & Business is accessible exclusively via the TurboTax.com Help Center.
  • Benefit Assist: After you file, TurboTax automatically shows you a full list of government benefits you may qualify for, like Food Stamps or reduced phone & utilities. Plus, we help you apply, saving you time and making it easier than ever to get more money! Estimate based on calculation of Benefit Assist users from tax year 2013 and published reports of average benefit and savings amounts from federal and state programs. Actual amounts and qualifications based on your individual situation; some individuals will not qualify. Feature may not be available for all customers.
  • Simplified State Experience: New, simplified state tax preparation available for most filers.
  • Eligibility for $25 cash back for returning Deluxe customers: Customers who have completed their 2013 taxes in TurboTax Deluxe (CD or download), and have completed their 2014 taxes in either TurboTax Premier or TurboTax Home & Business (CD or download), and apply here before 11:59PM PDT April 20, 2015, are eligible for $25 back. 2014 TurboTax Advantage users are ineligible for this offer. Terms and conditions are subject to change without notice.
  • $0 Upgrade Offer: Valid for customers who filed their 2013 taxes with TurboTax Deluxe (CD or download), completed prior year data transfer this year, and encounter an upgrade to either 2014 TurboTax Premier or 2014 TurboTax Home & Business (CD or download). Valid February 6, 2015 through April 20, 2015. TurboTax Advantage users are ineligible for this offer. This offer may not be combined with our $25 cash back offer. Terms and conditions are subject to change without notice.