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.