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National Beverage declares $2.55 special dividend

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) -- National Beverage Corp. said its board approved a special dividend of $2.55, closer to the high end of a range it had proposed.

The Fort Lauderdale, Fla.-based company said late Thursday the dividend will be paid to shareholders of record as of Dec. 7.

National Beverage, whose drink brands include Shasta and Faygo, said last week that it would declare a special dividend of between $1.50 and $3 to shareholders as of Dec. 5, but said it hadn't finalized the exact amount.

The company said its board also decided to push back the record date by two days after receiving requests for it to do so.

National Beverage is one of a number of companies to issue a special end-of-year payments 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.

National Beverage shares rose 15 cents to $17.15 in midday trading.