FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) -- D.R. Horton declared a cash dividend of 15 cents Friday, pulling forward all of its planned payouts for 2013 to sidestep any ramifications for shareholders should the government fail to reach an agreement on the budget by year's end.
The dividend will be paid on Dec. 21 to shareholders of record as of Dec. 17.
D.R. Horton is the latest company to move up its quarterly payout or issue a special end-of-year payment to shield investors from potentially having to pay higher taxes on dividend income starting in January.
At the start of the year, there will be big tax increases and spending cuts — the fiscal cliff — unless Obama and Congress reach an accord on some other way to rein in the government's ballooning debt.
Since 2003 investors have paid a maximum 15 percent on dividend income. But that historically low rate will expire in January without a deal.
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.
Shares of D.R. Horton Inc., based in Fort Worth, Texas, rose 16 cents to $18.85 in premarket trading.