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MDU Resources moves dividend payment to December

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) -- Energy, mining and construction company MDU Resources Group Inc. said Friday that it will pay its next quarterly dividend on Dec. 31 instead of Jan. 1, a move that could help its shareholders avoid paying higher taxes on the payout.

The company said the dividend of 17.25 cents will be paid to shareholders of record on Dec. 13.

MDU is the latest of many companies that have moved planned dividend payments into late 2012 from early 2013 or declared special end-of-year dividends to shield investors from potentially having to pay higher taxes on dividend income

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.

MDU shares rose 10 cents to $21.18 in afternoon trading.