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Ennis combines and moves up 2 dividend payments

MIDLOTHIAN, Texas (AP) -- Ennis Inc. said Monday it will combine its scheduled third- and fourth-quarter dividends into a 35-cent payment in late December.

Ennis will pay the dividend Dec. 28 to shareholders of record on Dec. 20. The company's quarterly dividend payment had been set at 17.5 cents and its third- and fourth-quarter dividends were to be paid in early 2013.The envelope, business form and clothing maker is the latest of many companies that is paying a dividend before the end of 2012 to shield investors from a potential increase in taxes on dividends next year.

Ennis said it will consider approving another dividend when it reports earnings for its fiscal first-quarter, which ends May 31.

Since 2003 investors have paid a maximum of 15 percent on dividend income. That historically low rate will expire in January unless Congress and President Barack Obama reach a compromise on taxes and government spending. As it stands, dividends will be taxed as ordinary income in 2013, the same as wages, so tax rates will go up depending on which income bracket a taxpayer is in. For the highest earners, the dividend tax rate would jump to 43.4 percent.