Vermont Qualified Small Business Stock (QSBS) and Investor Tax Incentives

Vermont QSBS

Vermont 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.

Vermont QSBS Exemptions

Vermont 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.

Vermont follows the “Static” conformity–as stated in the previous paragraphs. Vermont does, at both the Corporate and Individual level, conform to the federal treatment of capital gains and losses. See Vt. Stat. Ann. tit. 32, § 5811Vt. Stat. Ann. tit. 32, § 5824, as amended by 2021 Vt. H. 315 (effective for tax years beginning on and after Jan. 1, 2020); see also I.R.C. § 1202

Vermont Capital Gains Tax Rates

Vermont taxes all capital gains held for less than three years at the same rates as regular income. For capital gains on assets held for longer than three years, taxpayers can exclude up to 40% from their taxable income up to $350,000.

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 Vermont 

According to the state of Vermont Agency of Commerce and Community Development, “Vermont is home to some of the most innovative companies in New England,” thanks to their funding programs for both Small Business Innovation Research and Small Business Technology Transfers.

The agency offers a variety of support programs to grow small businesses and to strengthen the Vermont economy.

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

  • Agriculture
  • Forestry
  • Tourism
  • Manufacturing
  • Mining

Other Programs in Vermont that Support Entrepreneurship

Vermont is home to North Country Angels, an angel investor organization which has,

invested in many diverse and successful businesses throughout the years. These startups have developed clean energy, nutritious foods, state-of-the-art products and services, innovative medical supplies,  advanced science and technology components.

Vermont Opportunity Zones

Vermont 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, Vermont 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 map for the Opportunity Zones in the state and here for all Opportunity Zones in the United States.

Some Examples of Opportunity Zone Funds in Vermont include:

See more at Opportunity Zones Database.

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.