By purchasing the stock of a company, you become a partial owner of the company. As an owner, you are entitled to a share of the company's profits. Your total earnings are distributed through dividends and capital gains. Dividends are direct cash payments from the company to its shareholders as a distribution of profits. Capital gains are the profits made from selling your shares at a higher price than the original purchase price. Your total equity income is a combination of your annual dividends and capital gains.
Review your investment statements to see which companies paid dividends throughout the year.
Add up the total value of your dividends for the year. Some companies pay dividends more than once per year. Be sure to record all your dividends in this calculation.
Make a list of all the stocks sold for a gain throughout the year. Record how long you owned each stock on this list.
Categorize your stock sales between short-term and long-term gains. Stocks held for less than one year returned short-term gains. Stocks held for more than one year returned long-term gains.
Combine the value of your dividends, your short-term gains and your long-term gains for the year. This calculates your total equity income.
- IRS.gov: Topic 409 Capital Gains and Losses
- IRS.gov: Topic 404 Dividends
- Internal Revenue Service. "2019 Instructions for Schedule D (Rev. January 2020) (2019)." Accessed August 3, 2020.
- Internal Revenue Service. "Topic No. 409, Capital Gains and Losses." Accessed August 3, 2020.
- Franchise Tax Board, State of California. "Capital Gains and Losses." Accessed August 3, 2020.
- Internal Revenue Service. "Topic No. 404 Dividends." Accessed August 3, 2020.
David Rodeck has been writing professionally since 2011. He specializes in insurance, investment management and retirement planning for various websites. He graduated with a Bachelor of Science in economics from McGill University.