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Copa moves up annual dividend payment to December

NEW YORK (AP) -- The parent company of Panama's Copa Airlines, which trades on the New York Stock Exchange, has moved up the payment of its annual dividend to protect its investors from potentially having to pay higher taxes.

Copa Holdings SA on Friday set a yearly dividend of $2.25, to be paid Dec. 27 to shareholders as of Dec. 12. The airline, which is based in Panama, typically pays the dividend in June.

Companies trading in the U.S. are racing to declare one-time payments in December or moving up their dividends this year as the "fiscal cliff" approaches.

Investors have been paying a maximum 15 percent on dividend income. But that historically low rate will expire in January, rising to as much as 43.4 percent for the highest earners, unless Congress and President Barack Obama reach a compromise on taxes and government spending.