Tesla's (TSLA -2.76%) 3-for-1 stock split proposal won shareholder approval at the 2022 annual shareholders' meeting this month. Now, the electric vehicle maker is gearing up for its second stock split after close of trading on Aug. 24. Shareholders of record on Aug. 17 will receive a stock dividend of two extra shares for every one share they currently own.

If you've been wondering how stock splits work and what will happen to your Tesla shares, here are three quick items to jot down. 

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1. You'll have more Tesla shares after the stock split

A stock split increases the number of shares outstanding, giving investors more shares in their account for every one share they previously owned.

After a stock split, the value of each share will be reduced to a lower price. This makes it easy for more retail investors to get their hands on a whole share of stock, because the stock price appears more affordable. If you're already an investor, your shares will be split into bite-sized pieces, but the total value of your shares will not increase. 

Let's say you have one share of Tesla's stock. On the day of the 3-for-1 stock split, the company will grant you two additional shares. Each share in your portfolio would be valued at one-third the price of the original share. If one Tesla share is trading at $900 before the stock split, you'll have three Tesla shares valued at $300 each after the stock split. As you can see, the total value of your shares is still $900. 

Here's how many shares you will have after the stock split based on the number of shares you have on record as of Aug. 17. All you have to do is look at the number of shares you have now, and multiply the total by three. That's how many shares you'll have after a stock split. 

  • 1 share of Tesla stock = 3 shares 
  • 2 shares of Tesla stock = 6 shares 
  • 3 shares of Tesla stock = 9 shares 
  • 4 shares of Tesla stock = 12 shares 
  • 5 shares of Tesla stock = 15 shares

2. You won't have to report the stock split itself on your tax return

A stock split doesn't increase a company's market capitalization or increase the value of your shares. You may have more shares in your account, but the original value of your shares remains the same. Therefore, a stock split in itself is not considered a taxable event. There are no IRS reporting requirements you need to adhere to during tax time. 

3. You may have to pay taxes if you sell your extra Tesla shares

Although a stock split in itself is not taxable, selling stock for a profit after a stock split can lead to taxes. This is the case if you sell stock in a taxable brokerage account. Earning money in the stock market leads to capital gains taxes. You will be taxed at the short-term or long-term capital gains tax rate, depending on how long you had your Tesla stock before selling it. Your brokerage firm will send you the details of your transaction, so you can properly report the sale to the IRS during tax time. 

Stock splits can be exciting and pain-free in the eyes of the investor. You wake up to more shares in your account after a stock split, and you don't have to worry about any tax obligations. But as soon as you decide to sell, you'll need to report your moves to the IRS. Before you make a move after a stock split, pay attention to the impact it will have on your portfolio and taxes, so you won't be surprised later.