In what a company spokeswoman said is "a shareholder-friendly decision," Medtronic on Thursday announced it was accelerating its quarterly dividend payment to investors.

The move is meant to get ahead of any potential changes to taxes on dividends in 2013, said Cindy Resman.

The move reflects uncertainty over ongoing "fiscal cliff" negotiations now taking place in Washington, D.C., and any potential effect any deal could have on taxes paid on dividend income.

Medtronic's board of directors approved a cash dividend of $0.26 per share of the company's common stock. The dividend will be paid on Dec. 28 to shareholders of record at the close of business on Dec. 17. The accelerated dividend will replace one that Medtronic would have paid in January.