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The top fiscal cliff tax dodgers

These company founders and heirs could collectively dodge more than $1 billion in post fiscal cliff taxes because of special dividends and a company sale.

The Walton family gets a rollback

gallery fiscal cliff tax dodgers
  • Deal: Wal-Mart's accelerated fourth quarter dividend
  • Ticker: WMT
  • Beneficiary: The Walton Family
  • Potential tax savings : $181 million

The heirs of Wal-Mart (WMT) founder Sam Walton own roughly half of the big box retailer's stock or 1.6 billion shares outstanding.

Wal-Mart decided to pay the company's January 2 dividend of 39.75 cents a share a few days early on December 27th. In doing so, the Walton family will pay a 15% dividend tax on their $636 million in proceeds. That will amount to $95 million in 2012.

Had the company waited a few days and dividend taxes on the wealthiest Americans jumped to 43.4%, the Walton's tax bill could run as high as $276 million.

A spokesperson for Wal-Mart said the three Waltons on its board of directors recused themselves from the decision to pay the dividend in 2012 instead of 2013. A spokesperson for the Walton family did not return a call for comment.

Source: Getty
  @maureenmfarrell - Last updated December 21 2012 10:54 AM ET