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Questcor moves up quarterly dividend payment

ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) -- Questcor Pharmaceuticals Inc. said Tuesday it is moving up its dividend payment to shield investors from higher taxes on dividend income that could begin in January.

Questcor said it will pay a dividend of 20 cents around Dec. 21 to shareholders of record on Dec. 14. The company said it had planned to make the payment during the first quarter of 2013.

The change makes Questcor the latest company to move up its dividend payment because taxes on dividends could go up on Jan. 1.

Since 2003 investors have paid a maximum 15 percent on dividend income. But that 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.

The company sells H.P. Acthar gel, which is used to treat a variety of autoimmune and inflammatory disorders. Questcor declared its first quarterly dividend in September.