MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- Consumer electronics retailer Best Buy is moving up the payment date of its quarterly dividend, a step many companies are taking ahead of potential tax increases in 2013.
If the White House and Republican congressional leaders can't strike a deal on taxes and spending cuts, tax rates on dividend income will rise. That's prompted many companies to review their policies on payouts for shareholders, setting special one-time payments in December or moving up payments originally slated for 2013 to this year.
Best Buy said Wednesday that its quarterly dividend of 17 cents will now be paid on Dec. 31 instead of Jan. 2.
Shares of the Minneapolis company added 12 cents to $12.27 in premarket trading.
Since 2003, investors have paid a maximum 15 percent on dividend income. But that historically low rate will expire in January unless there's a budget deal. As it stands, dividends will be taxed as ordinary income in 2013, the same as wages, so rates will go up depending on which income bracket a taxpayer is in. For the highest earners, the dividend rate would jump to 43.4 percent.