Big Taxes, No Money

Tax rates on dividends will rise from 15% up to 43.4% on 1/1/13 if the Bush tax cuts aren’t extended. Due to behavioral changes, it won’t raise much in taxes. Firms will immediately use money planned for dividends for share buybacks. Some firms will borrow (at today’s low rates) to make one extra-large dividend distribution prior to 1/1/13, and some money will get spent buying other firms in tax-free transactions.

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