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Marcus Corp. declares special dividend of $1

MILWAUKEE (AP) -- The Marcus Corp. said Thursday that its board declared a special cash dividend of $1 and accelerated its next two regular quarterly cash dividend payments totaling 17 cents, citing potential upcoming changes in tax law.

The Milwaukee-based hotel and movie theater operator said the dividends will be paid on Dec. 28 to shareholders of record as of Dec. 17.

Marcus said the 8.5 cent quarterly dividend would typically have been paid in February and May of 2013. The company plans to return to its regular quarterly dividend payment schedule starting in August.

Marcus 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.

Many companies are reviewing their dividend policies now that it appears investors could soon pay higher taxes. 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.

Marcus shares rose 20 cents to $11.86 in afternoon trading.