Record Date Law and Legal Definition

Record date is the date on which corporate shareholders must be registered on the corporation’s books to be entitled to vote and receive dividends. It is the date specified in the declaration of a dividend on corporate stock as of which one must be a stockholder of record in order to be entitled to the dividend. The specification of date is for the purpose of determining the right to the dividend as between successive owners of stock.

In the normal course of business, it takes four business days from the date a stock is purchased until the change in ownership is recorded on the corporation's transfer books. The record date allows investors to determine their eligibility to receive a dividend.