The declaration date is the date on which the board of directors of a company authorizes the payment of a dividend to shareholders. Since this typically happens during a board meeting, the declaration date coincides with the date of corporate board meetings. The authorization of a dividend payment also creates a payment liability for the issuing entity, for which it records a short-term liability in the accounting records. The entry is a debit to the retained earnings account and a credit to the dividends payable account.
The declaration date is the beginning of the process of dividend payment, which culminates several months later with payments being issued to the shareholders of record as of a date later than the declaration date.