Sharing the dividend tax credit pie: The influence of individual investors on ex-dividend day returns

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Journal of Financial Markets


Taxes create distortions in financial markets. A tax credit attached to dividend payments in Australia creates a wedge in valuations as it can be utilized only by certain investors. Individual investors, who benefit most from the credit, buy aggressively cum-dividend and sell aggressively ex-dividend, demanding liquidity from institutional investors. Stocks with higher net purchases by individual investors operating through discount brokers in the cum-dividend period have ex-day returns that are 25 bps lower. The tax distortion allows individual investors to capture the tax credit and institutional investors to increase trading profits. Individual investor trading influences ex-dividend pricing.

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