Capital Gains Taxation and Funding for Start-Ups

64 Pages Posted: 4 Nov 2018 Last revised: 20 Dec 2019

See all articles by Alexander Edwards

Alexander Edwards

University of Toronto - Rotman School of Management

Maximilian Todtenhaupt

Leibniz University Hannover; Norwegian School of Economics (NHH)

Date Written: October 7, 2018


We examine how capital gains taxes affect investment in private start-up (i.e., pre-IPO) firms. Using data on capital raised in individual funding rounds, we estimate the effect of the 2010 SBJA, which implemented a full exemption from federal capital gains tax on the sale of qualified shares. Because of the resulting higher expected after-tax returns, we hypothesize and find evidence consistent with this capital gains tax reduction increasing the amount of investment in start-up firms per funding round by about 12%. The effect is stronger in start-up firms that are likely to have greater administrative capacity. We estimate that about one third of the tax benefit is captured by investors.

Keywords: Capital Gains Taxes, Start-Ups, Tax Capitalization

JEL Classification: M13, G24, H25

Suggested Citation

Edwards, Alexander S. and Todtenhaupt, Maximilian, Capital Gains Taxation and Funding for Start-Ups (October 7, 2018). Available at SSRN: or

Alexander S. Edwards

University of Toronto - Rotman School of Management ( email )

105 St. George Street
Toronto, Ontario M5S 3E6 M5S1S4

Maximilian Todtenhaupt (Contact Author)

Leibniz University Hannover ( email )

Königsworther Platz 1
Hannover, 30167

Norwegian School of Economics (NHH) ( email )

Helleveien 30
Bergen, NO-5045

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