A major electric power company is turning to an unusual tactic in fighting an increase in the tax on dividends — asking its shareholders for help.
Dividend checks dated September 6 for shareholders of Southern Company were accompanied by a letter from the Atlanta-based utility's chairman and CEO, Thomas Fanning, asking the shareholders to write or call their congressmen. "We face an uphill congressional battle, and we urgently need your help," the letter says.
It explains that "Current dividend tax rates, which now are capped at 15 percent, are set to expire on Dec. 31, 2012. Unless Congress and the President act quickly to stop this impending tax hike, today's dividend tax rates could soar to nearly triple the current rate, creating adverse consequences for millions of Americans and for capital-intensive, dividend-paying companies like Southern Company."
The letter refers shareholders to the Web site DefendMyDividend.org.
It looks like some other utility companies, including Ameren, are participating in the same campaign.
Disclosure: I don't own any Southern Company shares, but a member of my family does.