When you own shares, there are tax implications from:
- receiving dividends
- participating in a dividend reinvestment plan
- receiving franking credits
- participating in or receiving a call payment on a bonus share scheme
- receiving non-assessable payments
- transactions the company you have invested in undertakes, such as mergers, takeovers and demergers
- owning shares if you are under 18 years old.
You need to declare all your dividend income on your tax return, even if you use your dividend to purchase more shares – for example, through a dividend reinvestment plan.
A dividend is assessable income in the year it was paid or credited to you. Your dividend statement shows the relevant date – often referred to as the payment date or date paid.
Most dividends you are paid or credited will be in the form of money, either by cheque or directly deposited into a bank account. However, the company may give you the option of reinvesting your dividends in the form of new shares in the company – this is called a dividend reinvestment scheme. If you take this option, you must pay tax on your reinvested dividends. The amount of the dividend received will form part of the cost base of the shares you receive.
Keep a record of your reinvested dividends to help you work out any capital gains or capital losses you make when you dispose of the shares.
When you own shares, you may be able to claim a deduction for expenses you incur, including:
- management fees
- specialist journals
- interest on money you borrowed to buy the shares.