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What is par value?

Author:
Harold Averkamp, CPA, MBA

Definition of Par Value

Par value is a per share amount that will appear on some stock certificates and in the corporation’s articles of incorporation. (Some states may require a corporation to have a par value while others states do not require a par value.) (Par value can also refer to an amount that appears on bond certificates.)

In the case of common stock the par value per share is usually a very small amount such as $0.10 or $0.01 and it has no connection to the market value of the share of stock. The par value is sometimes referred to as the common stock’s legal capital. When a corporation’s common or preferred stock has a par value, corporation’s balance sheet will report the total par value of the shares issued for each class of stock. This will be shown as a separate amount in the paid-in capital or contributed capital section of stockholders’ equity.

Example of Par Value

Let’s assume that a share of common stock has a par value of $0.01 and is sold to an investor for $25. The corporation issuing the stock will debit Cash for $25.00 and will credit Common Stock for $0.01 and will credit Additional Paid-in Capital for $24.99.

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About the Author

Harold Averkamp

For the past 52 years, Harold Averkamp (CPA, MBA) has worked as an accounting supervisor, manager, consultant, university instructor, and innovator in teaching accounting online. He is the sole author of all the materials on AccountingCoach.com.

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