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I'm looking at different funds, however I've noticed the dividend dates are different from the fiscal year end date. My understanding is that mutual funds don't pay taxes and those are passed on as dividends for personal income taxes. For example, I looked at a fund with December and April dividend dates and a February fiscal year end. Does one of the dividends correspond to the fiscal year? Is it more for informational purposes, e.g. publishing a prospectus or auditing?

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There are predominately dividend giving mutual funds (if the fund can declare dividend) and growth mutual funds (that do not give dividends). For dividend giving mutual funds usually the dividends are declared at the end of the quarter. In your case, the end of the fiscal year is end of Feb. SO the quarters are Mar-Apr-May, Jun-Jul-Aug, Sep-Oct-Nov, Dec-Jan-Feb. The dividend dates correspond to 1st quarter and last quarter. Personal income tax actually has nothing to do with this. The fund managers declared the dividends at the dates, the fund looks like it gives quarterly dividend, not yearly (though you have to read the details of the fund in the fund's initial offer prospectus). In your case, I am not sure if the information is provided for information sake alone but in most countries the law mandates that the fund provide financial and other details.

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In the US, most individual taxpayers are on a cash basis and use the calendar year as their fiscal year. So, such taxpayers pay taxes on their mutual fund dividends and capital gains in the calendar year in which they are received. The fiscal year of the mutual fund has no bearing on the issue. As to why a fund might choose April and December as the dividend dates, well, that's up to the fund's Board of Directors to decide.

  • I'm not so concerned about personal income tax vs. fund fiscal year. I was more correlating its fiscal year vs. its schedule to pay taxes. Since funds don't pay taxes, the other conclusion I reached was maybe it has to do with dividends and distributions schedule. – BLaZuRE Feb 23 '18 at 2:31

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