Medtronic pays dividend early to beat possible tax changes

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With the looming fiscal cliff, it's anyone's guess how taxes on dividends may change come 2013, so Medtronic ($MDT) is serving up a Christmas gift to its shareholders, issuing January's payment ahead of schedule.

Medtronic is handing out $0.26 per share on Dec. 28, a move designed to protect investors from any deleterious changes to the tax code next year, a company spokeswoman told the Minneapolis Star-Tribune.

Congress is facing mandatory sweeping budget cuts if it doesn't come to an agreement by year's end, and all means of revenue generation remain on the table, including alterations to dividend taxes.

As President Barack Obama and House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) duke it out and lawmakers trade allegations of unseriousness, corporate giants such as Medtronic are getting in what they can while the terms are still certain. As the San Jose Mercury News reports, heavies like Oracle, Walmart and Campbell Soup have all moved their early 2013 payments up on the calendar, and financial data firm Markit surveyed 100 public companies to find that 38% plan to do just the same.

Meanwhile, the fiscal cliff is making for another stick in the eye of the medical device world. The industry has mounted a wide-reaching campaign to lobby Congress to repeal, or at least delay, the impending medical device tax, but many lawmakers have been too busy with Washington's budgetary hand-wringing to lend an ear.

- read Medtronic's statement
- check out the Star-Tribune story
- get more from the Mercury News

Related Articles:
Industry groups urge Congress to delay device tax
'Fiscal cliff' overshadows push for device tax repeal
GE exec: Fiscal cliff is stalling medical device sales

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