PORTLAND, Ore. -- Oracle (ORCL) will pay three of next year's quarterly dividends this year in an apparent attempt to avoid possible tax hikes for its investors.

The software company said Monday that it will pay dividends for the second, third and fourth quarters of 2013, totaling 18 cents per share, on Dec. 21 to shareholders of record as of Dec. 14.

Oracle is the latest of a string of companies that have moved up quarterly payouts or issued a special end-of-year payment to protect investors from potentially having to pay higher taxes on dividend income starting in January.

Since 2003 investors have paid a maximum 15 percent on dividend income. But that historically low rate will expire in January unless Congress and President Barack Obama reach a compromise on taxes and government spending. As it stands, dividends will be taxed as ordinary income in 2013, the same as wages, so rates will go up depending on which income bracket a taxpayer is in. For the highest earners, the dividend rate would jump to 43.4 percent.

Oracle said that its CEO Larry Ellison, who is also the company's largest shareholder, did not participate in the vote leading to this decision.

Ellison holds roughly 1.1 billion shares of the company's stock, according to FactSet. That would entitle him to an estimated dividend payment of $198.9 million.

Oracle's shares rose 14 cents to close at $32.31 in the regular session. They fell 16 cents in after-hours trading.