Elimination Of Double Dividend Taxation: How Will It Change Corporate Financial Behavior? A Case Study

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Jack Trierweiler
Carl Breczinski

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Abstract

In December of 2002 President George W. Bush introduced an economic stimulus package which the administration claims will encourage increased business spending and that will encourage economic growth to lift the United States out of it’s jobless economic recovery.  The proposed package entails over $670 billion worth of tax relief over the next decade including $98 billion over the next 16 months.  The major points of the proposal include: speeding up the 2001 tax cuts to increase the pace of recovery and job creation, encouraging job-creating investment in America’s businesses by ending the double taxation of dividends and giving businesses incentives to grow, and providing help for unemployed Americans, including extending unemployment benefits and creating new re-employment accounts to help displaced workers get back on the job The stimulus package is intended to provide the necessary bolstering to the economy to recover growth in GDP as well as creation of jobs.  The portion of the proposed economic stimulus package eliminating the double taxation of dividends issued by corporations has come under extensive criticism as not being stimulus for job creating investment. It is the objective of this study to evaluate the legitimacy of the proposal by investigating the impact that the proposed changes would have on corporations’ financial position.  The procedure will be to evaluate if it is in the best interest of the individual corporations to return corporate savings to the stockholders in the form of dividends. The procedure will be to evaluate the liquidity position of four selected corporations and their resulting equity values.  Chosen for the case analysis were  General Electric, Microsoft, eBay, and Daktronics.  A dividend, or additional dividend, for the corporations was calculated based on an assumed fixed yield on current share price, for each corporation for fiscal years 1999, 2000, and 2001.  From the calculated dividends the balance sheets and cash flow statements were revised for each fiscal year to evaluate changes to the corporations’ financial situation, specifically their liquidity position and their equity values.

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