Distribution Codes

A four-digit code describes distribution events. The first digit describes the distribution in general terms. The second digit describes the form or method of payment. The meaning of the third digit varies with the value of the first digit, and gives a more detailed description of the event. The fourth digit provides information about the tax status of the distribution.

The coding and meanings of the four digits are described below. For digits 2, 3, and 4, special conventions apply: a value of “0” implies that CRSP has not yet discovered the descriptive information for the corresponding digit; a value of “1” implies sources have been checked and the status for the corresponding attribute is actually unspecified, not applicable, or not available for the distribution.

First Digit: Event Type

Code Meaning
1 ordinary dividend
2 liquidating dividend
3 exchanges and reorganizations
4 subscription rights
5 splits and stock dividends
6 notation of issuance (change in shares outstanding)
7 general information announcement for dropped issues

Second Digit: Payment Method

Code Meaning
0 unknown, not yet coded
1 unspecified or not applicable
2 cash, United States dollars
3 cash, foreign currency converted to US dollars
4 cash, Canadian dollars (now obsolete, converted to US dollars)
5 same issue of common stock
6 units including same issue of common stock
7 an issue of a different common stock which is on the file
8 other property

Third Digit:

Dividend Frequency (for first digit = 1 only)
Code Meaning
0 unknown, not yet coded
1 unspecified or not applicable
2 monthly
3 quarterly
4 semi-annual
5 annual
6 year-end or final
7 extra or special
8 interim
9 non-recurring
Event Descriptor (for first digit = 2 only)
Code Meaning
0 unknown, not yet coded
1 unspecified or not applicable
3 partial liquidation
4 step in total liquidation
5 final liquidation
6 approval of liquidation
7 sale of assets resulting in liquidation of company
8 court proceedings determining status of company assets
Event Descriptor (for first digit = 3 only)
Code Meaning
0 unknown, not yet coded
1 unspecified or not applicable
2 merger
5 non-ordinary distribution in another stock
6 reorganization
7 option of stock
8 exchange
Rights Valuation Method (for first digit = 4 only)
Code Meaning
0 unknown, not yet coded
1 Transferable unknown value (no price or assigned value)
2 market value of trading right on exdate
3 Fair market value
4 Value at exdate, calculate
5 Non-transferable fair market value
6 Non-transferable value at exdate, calculated (based on recdate if exdate is unavailable)
7 Non-transferable, unknown value
Split Type (for first digit = 5 only)
Code Meaning
0 unknown, not yet coded
1 unspecified or not applicable
2 split
3 stock dividend
4 split & stock dividend
5 option of cash
6 distribution of different issue of common; same company
7 initial distribution of other class of common; same company
Types of Offer or Reason for Issuance (for first digit = 6 only)
Code Meaning
0 unknown, not yet coded
1 unspecified or not applicable
2 step in merger with company on file
3 step in merger with company not on file
4 stock conversion
5 executive option exercise
6 own tender offer: stock buy-back
7 own exchange offer: recapitalization
8 stock offering
Event Descriptor (for first digit = 7 only)
Code Meaning
0 unknown, not yet coded
1 bankruptcy filing
2 negative financial performance
3 external tender offer results in too few shareholders
4 internal tender offer results in too few shareholders
5 US government intervention
6 foreign or external intervention
7 company request
8 failure to meet exchange requirements

Fourth Digit: Tax Status

Code Meaning
0 unknown, not yet coded
1 unspecified or not applicable
2 normal taxable at same rate as dividends
3 normal non-taxable
4 return of capital (i.e., gain recognized, loss not)
5 gain or loss realized compared with cost
6 realized capital gain (Investment Companies)
7 capital gains tax credit
8 fully taxable as ordinary income to individuals
9 dividend reinvestment plan qualifies for the limited exclusion provided by Sec. 305(e) of the Internal Revenue Code

Coding convention note for distribution codes with the fourth digit (tax status) coded as 2 or 8: Until 1986, distribution codes 2 and 8 were used in conjunction with one another such that the 2 represented the part of the dividend qualifying for the dividend exclusion and the 8 representing the part that did not. Since the tax reform act of 1986, which eliminated the exclusion, these have been coded as 2’s.

Commonly Coded Distribution Events in CRSP Stock Files

The following table describes some of the most commonly coded distribution events in the CRSP stock files. CRSP did not verify the tax status of ordinary dividends in the NYSE/NYSE MKT file after April, 1987 or in the Supplemental NASDAQ file at any time. Instead, CRSP assigned ordinary dividends the default tax code (12*2); that is, US cash dividend, taxable in the normal way as a dividend. If a dividend received is in the form of a security which is traded on the CRSP Stock files, the dividend code will be in the form*7**. The distribution codes 6***, excepting 6225, are informational. They indicate a significant change in the shares outstanding and the reason for the change. Code 6225 specifies a dividend amount. See the variable Dividend Cash Amount for additional information on the 6225 code.

DIVIDEND
Code Description
1200 US cash dividend, tax status unknown
1202 US cash dividend, taxable in normal way
1212 US cash dividend, unspecified frequency, taxable same rate as dividends
1214 US cash dividend, tax status - return of capital, gain recognized, loss not
1218 US cash dividend, unspecified frequency, fully taxable as ordinary income to individuals
1222 US cash dividend, monthly, taxable same rate as dividends
1224 US cash dividend, monthly, tax status - return of capital, gain recognized, loss not
1228 US cash dividend, monthly, fully taxable as ordinary income to individuals
1232 US cash dividend, quarterly, taxable same rate as dividends
1234 US cash dividend, quarterly, tax status - return of capital, gain recognized, loss not
1238 US cash dividend, quarterly, fully taxable as ordinary income to individuals
1239 US cash dividend, quarterly, tax status - dividend reinvestment plan qualifies for the limited exclusion provided by Sec. 305(e) of the Internal Revenue Code
1242 US cash dividend, semi-annual, taxable same rate as dividends
1244 US cash dividend, semi-annual, tax status - return of capital, gain recognized, loss not
1248 US cash dividend, semi-annual, fully taxable as ordinary income to individuals
1252 US cash dividend, annual, taxable same rate as dividends
1254 US cash dividend, annual, tax status - return of capital, gain recognized, loss not
1258 US cash dividend, annual, fully taxable as ordinary income to individuals
1262 US cash dividend, year-end or final, taxable same rate as dividends
1272 US cash dividend, extra or special, taxable same rate as dividends
1274 US cash dividend, extra or special, tax status - return of capital, gain recognized, loss not
1278 US cash dividend, extra or special, fully taxable as ordinary income to individuals
1282 US cash dividend, interim, taxable same rate as dividends
1292 US cash dividend, non-recurring, or proceeds from sale of rights, taxable same rate as dividends
1312 Cash dividend (foreign currency converted to US), unspecified frequency, tax status - unspecified or not applicable
1318 Cash dividend (foreign currency converted to US), unspecified frequency, fully taxable as ordinary income to individuals
1332 Cash dividend (foreign currency converted to US), quarterly, taxable same rate as dividends
1338 Cash dividend (foreign currency converted to US), quarterly; fully taxable as ordinary income to individuals
1342 Cash dividend (foreign currency converted to US), semi-annual, taxable same rate dividends
1348 Cash dividend (foreign currency converted to US), semi-annual, fully taxable as ordinary income to individuals
1352 Cash dividend (foreign currency converted to US), annual, taxable same rate as dividends
1372 Cash dividend (foreign currency converted to US), extra or special, taxable same rate as dividends
1378 Cash dividend (foreign currency converted to US), extra or special, fully taxable as ordinary income to individuals
1412 Cash dividend return of capital, taxable as normal dividend
1712 Dividend in other issue on file, unspecified frequency, taxable same rate as dividends
1713 Dividend in other issue on file, non-taxable
1714 Dividend in other issue on file, taxable as return of capital
1718 Dividend in other issue on file, taxable as ordinary income to individuals
1772 Dividend in other issue on file with an extra or special frequency, taxable same rate as dividends
1812 Dividend in issue not on file, unspecified frequency, taxable as dividend
1813 Dividend in issue not on file, non-taxable
1814 Dividend in issue not on file, taxable as return of capital
1872 Special Dividend in issue not on file, taxable as normal dividend
1999* Missing dividend terms, tax status - dividend reinvestment plan qualifies for the limited exclusion provided by Sec. 305(e) of the Internal Revenue Code
LIQUIDATION
Code Description
2161 Announcement of liquidation or liquidating plan, tax status unspecified
2171 Announcement of sale of assets, tax status unspecified
2181 Liquidation involved in court proceedings, tax status unspecified
2216 Cash paid in distribution, tax status - realized capital gains, (Investment Companies)
2234 Cash paid in partial liquidation, tax status - return of capital, gain recognized, loss not
2235 Cash paid in partial liquidation, tax status - return of capital, gain, loss realized
2243 Cash paid as a step in liquidation, non-taxable
2244 Cash paid as a step in liquidation tax status - return of capital, gain recognized, loss not
2245 Cash paid as a step in liquidation, tax status - return of capital, gain or loss realized
2255 Cash paid as a final liquidating payment, tax status - return of capital, gain or loss realized
2744 Other issue on file distributed as a step in liquidation, tax status - return of capital, gain recognized, loss not
2817 Issue not on file distributed as a step in unspecified liquidation process, tax status - capital gains tax credit
2844 Issue not on file distributed as a step in liquidation, tax status return of capital, gain recognized, loss not
2999* Missing liquidation information, tax status - dividend reinvestment plan qualifies for the limited exclusion provided by Sec. 305(e) of the Internal Revenue Code
ACQUISITION/REORGANIZATION
Code Description
3131 Announcement of tender offer - offer not accepted, offer rescinded, or merger failed, tax status unspecified
3215 Cash received, preferred redeemed, tax status - gain or loss realized compared with cost
3222 Cash received in a merger, taxable same rate as dividends
3224 Cash received in a merger, tax status - return of capital gain, gain recognized, loss not
3225 Cash received in a merger, tax status - gain or loss realized compared with cost
3285 Cash received in an exchange of stock, tax status - gain or loss realized compared with cost
3723 Issue of file, received in a non-taxable merger
3724 Issue on file, received in a merger tax status - return of capital, gain recognized, loss not
3725 Issue on file, received in a merger, tax status - gain or loss realized compared with cost
3752 Issue on file, received as a non-ordinary stock distribution, taxable same rate as dividends
3753 Issue on file, received as a non-ordinary stock distribution, non-taxable
3762 Issue on file, received as a spin-off in reorganization, taxable same rate as dividends
3763 Issue on file, received as a spin-off in reorganization, non-taxable
3764 Issue on file, received as a spin-off in reorganization, tax status - return of capital, gain recognized, loss not
3783 Issue on file, received as an exchange, non-taxable
3784 Issue on file, received as an exchange, tax status - return of capital, gain recognized, loss not
3785 Issue on file, received as an exchange, tax status - gain or loss realized compared with cost
3823 Issue not on file, received in a merger, non-taxable
3824 Issue not on file, received in a merger, tax status - return of capital, gain recognized, loss not
3825 Issue not on file, received in a merger, tax status - gain or loss realized compared with cost
3852 Issue not on file, received as a non-ordinary distribution in another stock, taxable same rate as dividends
3853 Issue not on file, received as a non-ordinary distribution, non-taxable
3854 Issue not on file, received as a non-ordinary distribution, tax status - return of capital, gain recognized, loss not
3862 Issue not on file, received in a reorganization, taxable as dividend
3863 Issue not on file, received in a reorganization, non-taxable
3864 Issue not on file, received in a reorganization, tax status - return of capital, gain recognized, loss not
3883 Issue not on file, received in an exchange of stock, non-taxable
3884 Issue not on file, received in an exchange of stock, return of capital (gain recognized, loss not), nontaxable
3885 Issue not on file, received in an exchange of stock, gain or loss realized compared with cost
3888* Partially coded final or other non-ordinary distribution; amount or some terms missing; tax status unknown
3989* Debenture without established market value, tax status unknown
RIGHTS
Code Description
4523 Rights to buy more of this security, at market value, non-taxable
4533 Rights to buy more of this security at indicated value, non-taxable
4563 Rights to buy more of this security, non-transferable value at exdate, calculated (based on recdate if exdate unavailable), non-taxable
4623 Rights to buy ‘units’ that include this security, non-taxable
4722 Rights to buy another common issue on file, taxable same rate as dividends
4822 Rights to buy other securities at market value, taxable same rate as dividends
4823 Rights to buy other securities, nontaxable
4833 Rights to buy other securities at indicated value, non-taxable
4999* Missing rights distribution, tax status - dividend reinvestment plan qualifies for the limited exclusion provided by Sec. 305(e) of the Internal Revenue Code
STOCK
Code Description
5523 Stock split, non-taxable
5533 Stock dividend, non-taxable
5538 Stock dividend, fully taxable as ordinary income to individuals
5763 Stock distribution in different issue of same company which trades on the file, non-taxable
5773 Initial stock distribution of other class of common, same company, which is on the file, non-taxable
5872 Initial stock distribution in different issue of common, same company, which is not on file, taxable same rate as dividends
5873 Initial stock distribution in different issue of common, same company, which does not trade on the file, non-taxable
OFFER/ISSUANCES
Code Description
6235 Common shares increased by merger with company not on file, tax status - gain or loss realized compared with cost
6261 Common shares decreased through a companies own tender offer, tax status - unknown
6511 Common shares increased or decreased for reasons not specified
6521 Common shares increased by merger with company on file, tax status - unspecified or not applicable
6531 Common shares increased by merger with company not on file, tax status - unspecified or not applicable
6541 Common shares increased through stock conversion, tax status - unspecified or not applicable
6543 Common shares increased through stock conversion, non-taxable
6561 Common shares reduced through company’s buy-back of shares, tax status - unspecified or not applicable
6571 Common shares increased through company’s own exchange offer, tax status - unspecified or not applicable
6581 Common shares increased through sale of stock other than rights issue, tax status - unspecified or not applicable
7111 Bankruptcy filing (for any reason) tax status - unspecified or not applicable
7121 Negative financial performance tax status - unspecified or not applicable
7131 External tender offer results in too few shareholders tax status - unspecified or not applicable
7141 Internal tender offer results in too few shareholders tax status - unspecified or not applicable
7151 US government intervention (SEC intervention, other government intervention or request)
7161 Foreign or external intervention (non-US government intervention, foreign non-government intervention, “acts of god”) tax status - unspecified or not applicable
7171 Company request (any reason except bankruptcy) tax status - unspecified or not applicable
7181 Failure to meet exchange requirements tax status - unspecified or not applicable

*This code alerts the user to information that is not coded, and is inconsistent with the conventional distribution-coding scheme.