Rhode Island Qualified Small Business Stock (QSBS) and Investor Tax Incentives

Rhode Island QSBS

Rhode Island follows the section 1202 100% tax exclusion on capital gains from the sale of QSBS. Therefore, capital gains on the sale of QSBS will not only be excluded from federal income taxes, but also state income taxes if all of the guidelines are followed.

Federal QSBS Exclusions and State Tax Implications

Allowing capital gains tax exclusions for Qualified Small Business Stocks (QSBS) encourages investment in US small business. QSBS laws help provide capital for these businesses while offering a savvy tax strategy for investors who want to minimize capital gains taxes.

Investors who hold qualified small business stock for at least 5 years can exclude up to $10,000,000 or more of their recognized capital gains from their taxable income if certain criteria are met.

Learn more about the criteria for Qualified Small Business Stock.

Each state has its own treatment of QSBS gains at the state income tax level. There are three ways in which states typically address the exclusion.

  1. Some states fully conform to the Federal QSBS guidelines, and therefore allow a full exemption if the stock meets the Section 1202 QSBS criteria. States conform to the federal tax code on either a static or rolling basis. “Static” conformity means the state starts conforming to the Internal Revenue Code as of a specific date. “Rolling” conformity means that the state adopts IRC changes as they occur. Alternatively, certain states do not have state income taxes and therefore there is no QSBS implication at the state level.    
  2. Some states partially conform to the Federal QSBS guidelines, whereby the capital gains from QSBS are exempt if additional criteria beyond the Federal guidelines are met, such as only allowing exemptions if the QSBS gains were from a company doing business in that state.
  3. Lastly, certain states do not allow any capital gains exclusions for QSBS.

Find out how QSBS is recognized by each state here.

Rhode Island QSBS Exemptions

Rhode Island follows the Section 1202 100% tax exclusion on capital gains from the sale of QSBS. Therefore, capital gains on the sale of QSBS will not only be excluded from federal income taxes, but also state income taxes if all of the guidelines are followed.

Rhode Island follows the “Rolling” conformity–as stated in the previous paragraphs. Rhode Island does, at the Corporate level, conform to the federal treatment of capital gains and losses. See R.I. Gen. Laws § 44-11-11. Rhode Island does, at the Individual level, conform to the federal partial exclusion for gain from certain small business stock. See R.I. Gen. Laws § 44-30-12(a); see also I.R.C. § 1202.  

More information surrounding Tax Incentives for Capital Investment in Small Business can be found under Rhode Island General Laws Title 44. Chapter 43.

Rhode Island Capital Gains Tax Rates

Rhode Island taxes capital gains at the same rates as regular income with 3 brackets ranging from 3.75% for income up to $66,200 to 5.99% for income over $150,550. These are the same rates for every filing status.

In comparison, federal capital gains tax rates are lower than regular income rates and have 3 brackets for single taxpayers which are:

  • 0% for $0 to $39,375
  • 15% for $39,376 to $434,550
  • 20% for $434,551 or more

Entrepreneurship in Rhode Island 

The Department of State Business Services Division “provides thoughtful guidance and comprehensive services to those looking to start and maintain a business or non-profit in Rhode Island.

The Rhode Island Innovation Network is home to RIHub which offers a place to incubate, mentors to guide, accelerators to grow, an online network to connect and in-depth courses to learn.

Among other industries, the following industries in particular thrive in the state: 

  • Life Sciences
  • IT Software, Cyber-physical Systems, and Data Analytics
  • Defense, Shipbuilding, and Maritime
  • Advanced Business Services
  • Design, Food, and Custom Manufacturing
  • Travel and Hospitality

Non-QSBS Programs that Support Entrepreneurship in Rhode Island

The state of Rhode Island offers the Tax Stabilization Incentive which can reduce the tax rate of a qualifying business development project for a set number of years if the project creates 50 new jobs or more and if at least $10M is spent. 

The requirements lessen if the project is located within a designated hope community and the incentive is still available.

Rhode Island Opportunity Zones

Rhode Island is home to approximately 25 Opportunity Zones.

Opportunity Zones (OZ) were created to help economically distressed areas by giving investors preferential tax treatment with new investments in these “specified” areas. Similar to QSBS, if the investment meets eligibility criteria and is held for at least 5 years, the investor can defer or be exempted from capital gains taxes (i.e. if held for at least 5 years, the taxpayer can exclude 10% of the gain and the percentage increases (or “steps up”) to 15% after 7 years).

Opportunity Zone investments can be in the stock of an OZ Qualified Business, an OZ partnership interest or an OZ business property.   

To be a Qualified Opportunity Zone Business, the business must meet requirements such as at least 50% of the business’s total gross income being derived from within the Opportunity Zone. To learn more about Opportunity Zone qualifications, please refer to the Opportunity Zones and QSBS article.

Under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, 26 USC 1400Z-2, Rhode Island made Opportunity Zones, is also home to the associated tax relief incentives that accompany these zones which are effective for tax years beginning on or after December 31, 2017. Refer to this mapfor the Opportunity Zones in the state and here for all Opportunity Zones in the United States.

Some Examples of Opportunity Zones in Rhode Island include: 

  • Shakespeare Hall
  • City Hall Woonsocket
  • 3 Davol Square

See more at Rhode Island Commerce.

This article does not constitute legal or tax advice. Please consult with your legal or tax advisor with respect to your particular circumstance.

About QSBS Expert

QSBS Expert was founded by a group of entrepreneurs, investors, accountants and lawyers who came together when trying to navigate a QSBS situation of their own. We quickly realized that the regulations left a lot of open questions and the publicly available information was confusing to sift through…so we thought that others may also benefit from having a “go to” resource for all things QSBS.