AP News

Meridian Bioscience moves up dividend payment

CINCINNATI (AP) — Meridian Bioscience is moving up the payment date of its regular quarterly dividend, a step many companies are taking ahead of potential tax increases in 2013.

If the White House and Republican congressional leaders can't strike a deal on taxes and spending cuts, tax rates on dividend income will rise. That's prompted many companies to review their policies on payouts for shareholders, setting special one-time payments in December or moving up payments originally slated for 2013 to this year.

Meridian Bioscience Inc. is declaring a quarterly dividend of 19 cents per share. The company said Tuesday that the dividend will be paid in Dec. 24 to shareholders of record on Dec. 14. The diagnostic test maker said that the dividend would have normally been paid in February.

Many companies are reviewing their dividend policies now that it appears investors could soon pay higher taxes. 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.

Meridian said that its next quarterly dividend is expected to be declared in April and paid in May. The company's stock fell 4 cents to $19.95 in afternoon trading.

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