Concept

Retained earnings

Summary
The retained earnings (also known as plowback) of a corporation is the accumulated net income of the corporation that is retained by the corporation at a particular point of time, such as at the end of the reporting period. At the end of that period, the net income (or net loss) at that point is transferred from the Profit and Loss Account to the retained earnings account. If the balance of the retained earnings account is negative it may be called accumulated losses, retained losses or accumulated deficit, or similar terminology. Any part of a credit balance in the account can be capitalised, by the issue of bonus shares, and the balance is available for distribution of dividends to shareholders, and the residue is carried forward into the next period. Some laws, including those of most states in the United States require that dividends be only paid out of the positive balance of the retained earnings account at the time that payment is to be made. This protects creditors from a com
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