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Distribution In Kind


Distribution in kind is a financial term often used in regards to investment funds or dividends. It refers to payments made in the form of securities or other property, rather than in cash. For example, a mutual fund may distribute capital gains to shareholders in the form of additional shares instead of cash.


The phonetic pronunciation of “Distribution In Kind” would be: dih-stri-byoo-shun in kahynd.

Key Takeaways

1. Definition

Distribution In Kind is a type of investment or compensation distribution mode, where the investors or beneficiaries receive payment in the form of assets or securities rather than cash. It can serve as an alternative way for shareholders, estate beneficiaries, or investors in a hedge fund or mutual fund to receive their profits or enact their share.

2. Benefits

One of the main advantages of Distribution In Kind is that it allows investors to avoid selling valuable assets in undesirable market conditions. Instead of being forced to cash out, individuals can maintain the potential value of their shares or assets until a more opportune time. Additionally, this kind of distribution can reduce transaction costs associated with selling assets.

3. Tax Considerations

Although Distribution In Kind can have some benefits, it can also lead to complex tax situations. For instance, if the distributed assets appreciate or gain value after being distributed, the recipient could face a taxable event once sold. It is also worth noting that in some cases, distributing assets “in-kind” may defer tax liability, however, tax rules can vary depending on circumstances.


Distribution In Kind is an important term in business and finance as it refers to the practice of transferring assets, such as securities, real estate, or other forms of property, rather than cash from an organization. It is specifically significant in the context of partnership dissolutions, retirement funds, or estate distributions, where it minimizes tax obligations. This form of distribution is essential to limit the potential liquidation of assets in undesirable market conditions. Additionally, it ensures that recipients obtain actual assets, thereby retaining potential for future appreciation and income generation. Therefore, understanding the concept of Distribution In Kind enables more effective management and understanding of assets, tax planning, and estate planning.


Distribution In Kind refers to a form of payment made with the assets of a company, rather than cash. It typically occurs when an entity decides to divest its stakes to its investors or partners in the form of capital assets instead of monetary benefits. Often used by mutual funds, limited partnerships, or estates, this method allows these entities to avoid absorbing substantial transaction fees or taxes that could otherwise come from selling off assets to generate a cash-based distribution.

The main purpose of Distribution In Kind is to reduce costs and to maintain the balance of a diverse portfolio. For instance, in mutual funds, when numerous investors ask for redemptions simultaneously, a massive sell-off could disturb the balance of a portfolio and induce capital gains tax. By delivering the requested shares directly to the shareholder, the fund sidesteps these costs and sustains the portfolio’s composition. In limited partnerships or estate distributions, distributing assets like property prevents the need for liquidation. Overall, Distribution in Kind serves the role of protecting an entity’s financial health and that of its investors.


Distribution in kind refers to the practice of distributing assets or items of value to shareholders, beneficiaries, or other stakeholders, in a form other than cash. Here are three real world examples:

1. Dividend Distribution: If a company decides to distribute dividends in kind rather than cash, shareholders may receive additional shares in the company, or shares in a subsidiary, instead of a cash dividend. For example, when eBay separated from PayPal in 2015, eBay shareholders received PayPal shares as a distribution in kind.

2. Estate Settlements: In estate distributions, the assets of deceased individuals can be distributed in kind to their heirs or beneficiaries. Instead of selling various assets like properties or valuable items, and dividing cash, the executor can distribute these assets directly to the beneficiaries. For instance, if a mother left a house and a car to her two children, rather than selling these assets and splitting the money, one child would receive the house and the other child would receive the car.

3. Mutual Fund Redemptions: When an investor redeems shares in a mutual fund, the fund typically sells securities and pays the investor in cash. However, in certain circumstances, the mutual fund may distribute the actual securities to the investor, instead of cash. This is an example of ‘distribution in kind’ and while less common, it can happen, particularly in instances regarding large institutional investors.

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQ)

What is Distribution In Kind?

Distribution In Kind is a finance term that refers to the payment made in the form of securities or other property, rather than in cash. It often occurs in situations such as inheritance disbursements or benefit payments from a retirement plan.

When does Distribution In Kind typically occur?

Distribution In Kind typically occurs during the dissolution of a retirement or a pension plan, during non-cash dividends distributio from corporations or from an estate to heirs upon the death of the owner.

Is Distribution In Kind beneficial? If so, how?

Yes, in specific circumstances, Distribution in Kind can be beneficial to limit a company’s cash outflows by distributing non-cash assets. From an investor’s standpoint, they are beneficial if an investor sees value in the distributed property or securities.

Can I opt for cash instead of a distribution in kind?

It depends largely on the terms and conditions of the investment or account. Some firms may offer the option to choose between cash and in-kind distribution.

Is Distribution In Kind taxable?

Yes, Distribution In Kind can potentially be subject to tax. The tax implications can depend on various factors such as the type of the distributed asset and jurisdiction’s legislation. It’s advisable to seek professional tax advice in such cases.

What happens in a Distribution In Kind in case of mutual funds?

In case of mutual funds, Distribution In Kind can take place when an investor redeems a large number of shares and the mutual fund pays out in securities instead of cash to protect the interests of other investors.

Are liabilities also distributed during a Distribution In Kind?

No, typically Distribution In Kind involves the distribution of assets only. The distribution of liabilities would depend on the nature of agreement in place concerning the specific situation.

Related Finance Terms

  • Asset Distribution: This refers to the distribution of investments, done either in cash or through in-kind distribution like stocks or property.
  • Capital Gains: This refers to the rise in value of a capital asset which gives it a higher worth than the purchase price. Generally realized when selling the asset, and might be affected by distribution in-kind.
  • Non-Liquidating Distributions: These are the share of the partnership’s gains, losses, deductions, and credits distributed to partners without causing termination of the partnership.
  • Tax liability: This is the total amount of tax debt owed by an individual, corporation or other entity to a taxing authority like the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). In-kind distributions might have tax implications.
  • Investment Portfolio: This refers to a collection of assets held by an individual or institution, which could be distributed in-kind.

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