LOWELL, Ark. (AP) -- J.B. Hunt Transport Services Inc. is increasing its quarterly dividend and paying it early in an apparent attempt to tax advantage of current low tax rates for its investors.
The transportation company said it will pay a dividend of 15 cents per share on Dec. 28. That is up from its most recent dividend of 14 cents per share. It would typically pay this quarterly dividend in February.
J.B. Hunt is the latest company to move up its quarterly payout or issue a special end-of-year payment to protect investors from potentially having to pay higher taxes on dividend income starting in January.
Since 2003 investors have paid a maximum 15 percent on dividend income. But 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 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.
J.B. Hunt said it does not expect to declare or pay a quarterly dividend in the first quarter of 2013 and will resume its normal quarterly dividend analysis at its board meeting in April.
Shares of the Lowell, Ark., based company fell 29 cents to $58.42 by midafternoon Friday. They are near the upper end of the 52-week range of $42.61 to $61.18.