There are certainly plenty of reasons to fear the fiscal cliff.
Expansion-crushing tax increases and back-breaking spending cuts will kick in both political parties can't find common ground somewhere in the middle.
However, fiscal cliff fears -- and the meaty dividend declarations that they have inspired -- may be just the ticket to arm investors with the necessary pocket change to spend more than they were planning this holiday season.
Las Vegas Sands (NYSE:LVS) is only the latest company to declare a beefy distribution that will take advantage of the current 15% top tax rate on qualified dividends. With tax rates expected to rise to as much as 43% for some earners next year, companies want to make sure that they're handing over fistfuls of dough while investors still want them.
The casino operator will distribute $2.75 a share to investors on Dec. 18. Las Vegas Sands will be distributing $2.26 billion. What do you think that investors in taxable accounts will do with after-tax proceeds? It's a safe bet that some of that found money will go toward making this a merrier holiday shopping season.
It's not just Las Vegas Sands, of course. Plenty of companies have announced one-time dividends that will go out before the clock winds down on the 15% tax rate for qualified disbursements.
Let's go over some of the companies with beefy declarations.
- Fellow casino operator Wynn Resorts (NASDAQ:WYNN) coughed out a $8 a share dividend -- including its regular quarterly dividend of $0.50 a share -- last week.
- Sturm, Ruger & Company (NYSE:RGR) also knows where to aim. The gun maker will distribute $4.50 a share in cash to its stakeholders on Dec. 21.
- The board at Tyson Foods (NYSE:TSN) isn't chicken. The poultry giant revealed a modest special payout of $0.10 a share.
- As a foreign-flagged cruise ship operator, Carnival (NYSE:CCL) knows a thing or two about legally dodging taxes. The world's largest cruise line is paying a special $0.50 a share disbursement on Dec. 28.
The special dividends come in all sizes, but the end result is that the companies are sending billions in tax-advantaged qualified dividends to its stakeholders at a time when consumers are careful about not maxing out their credit cards.
You won't find too many nice things to say about the fiscal cliff, but here's a case where fears of chunkier tax rates on dividends come 2013 is injecting some serious money into this economy now.
Checks and balances
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Longtime Fool contributor Rick Aristotle Munarriz has no positions in the stocks mentioned above. The Motley Fool has no positions in the stocks mentioned above. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.