Goldman Sachs execs avoid higher taxes

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Like a lot of companies, Goldman Sachs had every reason to play it safe on the end of year Fiscal Cliff drama.

The board and top executives had no way of knowing if Congress would push the country off the cliff, so it decided to play it safe, though it waited as long as it could. On New Year's Eve, about 10 executives, including CEO Lloyd Blankfein, were given restricted stock awards, all of which were granted well before 2012.

Blankfein took in 66,065 shares of restricted stock worth almost $8.5 million. He sold 33,245 shares for $126.24 each, which will be withheld to pay taxes on the award. All told, executives sold 245,838 of those shares to cover taxes, and held on to the rest, which were worth in excess of $30 million.

As the country teetered close to the fiscal cliff edge, the last-minute delivery seems like a wise preparatory move that paid off. People across the country were likewise acting to play it safe, in terms of capital gains, dividends and various compensation issues. In the end, the Congress agreed to a new tax plan and the cliff was averted. But the move was still savvy in that capital gains for the those in the highest income-brackets will be higher than they were pre-cliff, according to the deal. So the last minute delivery seems to have paid off.

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Self