Firms help investors beat tax

British companies including Hargreaves Lansdown and Schroders brought forward £840m in dividend payments this year to help shareholders beat the new 50 per cent top taxation band, according to figures compiled by Capita Registrars. Capita said in total 40 firms shifted their payment dates to before 6 April in order to lighten the tax burden on investors. Separately, the 2.5 per cent year-on-year decline in payouts was the smallest since the downturn began.