A long list of companies are trying to quickly give out dividend payments before the end of the year. With the tax rate on dividends possibly going from 15 percent to as high as 40 percent, is it any surprise that companies are responding? What do you think that this will do to the incentive for people to invest.
Companies are racing the clock to hand out billions in special dividends before year end—and some of them are taking on debt to do it. . . . .
UPDATE: Here is an announcement from Apple.
If Apple took all the money earmarked to pay out dividends over the next three years and paid it out now, shareholders would get $31.88 per share. If taxed at the current 15% rate, that would leave investors with $27. If that same money is paid out after January 1, it would leave shareholders in the highest tax bracket with $18 after taxes.
This has nothing to do with "fair" or the 1%. The money belongs to shareholders, and the option is either to take $27 in the next month or $18 spread out over the next 3 years. It's not a trick question; the only rational choice is to take the money now.
A company and its board are obligated to attempt to efficiently invest shareholder money. If Apple does anything other than pay shareholders a minimum of $30 per share in a one-time dividend, they are ignoring their fiduciary responsibility for reasons they can't or won't explain. . . .
Here's a quick primer for those of you new to the dividend conversation. The current tax rate on dividend income is 15%. Set in the Bush-era, this rate is set to expire in January unless lawmakers intervene. Under President Obama's proposed plan, dividends would be taxed inline with wages and salaries in 2013. That would mean dividend taxes will increase to as much as 39.6% for high-income earnings. With the kicker of a 3.8% additional tax on all investment income, the effective tax for dividends could be as high as 43.4% for anything paid out next year. . . .
Labels: book4, obamataxes, Taxes