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What is capital surplus?

In the past, capital surplus was used to describe what is now referred to as paid-in capital in excess of par.

For example, when a corporation issues shares of its common stock and receives more than the par value of the stock, two accounts are involved: 1) the account Common Stock is used to record the par value of the shares being issued, and 2) the amount that is greater than the par value is recorded in an account entitled Paid-in Capital in Excess of Par—Common Stock, or Premium on Common Stock.

Many years ago, the account Paid-in Capital in Excess of Par—Common Stock and the account Premium on Common Stock were referred to as capital surplus.