Common stock. When a company such as Big City Dwellers issues 5,000 shares of its $1 par value common stock at par for cash, that means the company will receive $5,000 (5,000 shares × $1 per share). The sale of the stock is recorded by increasing (debiting) cash and increasing (crediting) common stock by $5,000. If the Big City Dwellers sold their $1 par value stock for $5 per share, they would receive $25,000 (5,000 shares × $5 per share) and would record the difference between the $5,000 par value of the stock (5,000 shares × $1 par value per share) and the cash received as additional paid‐in‐capital in excess of par value (often called additional paid‐in‐capital). When no‐par value stock is issued and the Board of Directors establishes a stated value for legal purposes, the stated value is treated like the par value when recording the stock transaction.
If the Board of Directors has not specified a stated value, the entire amount received when the shares are sold is recorded in the common stock account. If a corporation has both par value and no‐par value common stock, separate common stock accounts must be maintained. Preferred stock. The sale of preferred stock is accounted for using these same principles.
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A separate set of accounts should be used for the par value of preferred stock and any additional paid‐in‐capital in excess of par value for preferred stock. Preferred stock may have a call price, which is the amount the “issuing” company could pay to buy back the preferred stock at a specified future date.
If Big City Dwellers issued 1,000 shares of its $1 par value preferred stock for $100 per share, the entry to record the sale would increase (debit) cash by $100,000 (1,000 shares × $100 per share), increase (credit) preferred stock by the par value, or $1,000 (1,000 shares × $1 par value), and increase (credit) additional paid‐in‐capital—preferred stock for the difference of $99,000. If corporations issue stock in exchange for assets or as payment for services rendered, a value must be assigned using the cost principle. The cost of an asset received in exchange for a corporation's stock is the market value of the stock issued. If the stock's market value is not yet determined (as would occur when a company is just starting), the fair market value of the assets or services received is used to value the transaction.
If the total value exceeds the par or stated value of the stock issued, the value in excess of the par or stated value is added to the additional paid‐in‐capital (or paid‐in‐capital in excess of par) account. For example, The J Trio, Inc., a start‐up company, issues 10,000 shares of its $0.50 par value common stock to its attorney in payment of a $50,000 invoice from the attorney for costs incurred by the law firm to help establish the corporation. The entry to record this exchange would be based on the invoice value because the market value for the corporation's stock has not yet been determined. The entry to record the transaction increases (debits) organization costs for $50,000, increases (credits) common stock for $5,000 (10,000 shares × $0.50 par value), and increases (credits) additional paid‐in‐capital for $45,000 (the difference). Organization costs is an intangible asset, included on the balance sheet and amortized over some period not to exceed 40 years.
If The J Trio, Inc., an established corporation, issues 10,000 shares of its $1 par value common stock in exchange for land to be used as a plant site, the market value of the stock on the date it is issued is used to value the transaction. The fair market value of the land cannot be objectively determined as it relies on an individual's opinion and therefore, the more objective stock price is used in valuing the land. The stock transactions discussed here all relate to the initial sale or issuance of stock by The J Trio, Inc. Subsequent transactions between stockholders are not accounted for by The J Trio, Inc. And have no effect on the value of stockholders' equity on the balance sheet. Stockholders' equity is affected only if the corporation issues additional stock or buys back its own stock.