With tax rates on qualified dividends set to nearly triple for some high earners come 2013, companies are making sure that longtime shareholders are treated to today's generous cap at 15%.
Some companies have been doing more than simply moving up January payouts to events that will payable later this month. Dozens of publicly traded companies have declared meaty one-time dividends. You also have some companies that are trying to accelerate the following quarter's distribution, cutting investors checks for the next two scheduled quarterly dividends now.
Oh, and then you have Oracle (ORCL).
Anything You Can Do, Larry Ellison Can Do Better
The leading enterprise software company announced on Monday afternoon that it will issue its next three quarterly dividends -- each for $0.06 a share -- as a single $0.18 a share dividend that will go out on Dec. 21.
Anyone who knows much about Oracle CEO Larry Ellison knows that the competitive corporate leader loves to one up everybody else.
This is the same guy that sent an ice cream truck to a fierce rival, offering employees free ice cream sandwiches as a programmer headhunting tool. The inscription on the wrappers read:
Summer is near.
Oracle is here.
To brighten your day and your career.
Income Investors Better Learn to Budget
Most investors won't mind the deluge of accelerated dividends they're getting from Oracle and other companies that are moving up their future distributions. However, retirees and other shareholders who rely on the steady flow of dividend income will have to remember to save some of that largesse for a rainy day.
To be fair, Oracle isn't exactly a magnet for income investors. The stock's four modest quarterly payouts add up to a yield of only 0.7%. However, as companies with chunkier rates follow Oracle into lumping more of 2013's distributions into what little time is left of 2012, yield chasers will need to be careful here.
It's raining dividends now, but only because it will be dry come early next year.
Motley Fool contributor Rick Munarriz does not own shares in any of the stocks. The Motley Fool owns shares of Oracle.