Section 1202 of the Internal Revenue Code grants a gain exclusion to certain shareholders who own "qualified small business stock." We describe the tortured history of this rule, explain how it works (and fails to work), and critically evaluate whether the rule serves any coherent policy objective. If Congress keeps the rule in place, significant revisions are necessary to align the rule with sound policy and tamp out the abusive manipulations arguably permitted by the law in its present form. We propose several improvements along these lines. We also make the case for eliminating the exclusion in its entirety.

Gregg D. Polsky & Ethan Yale, A Critical Evaluation of the Qualified Small Business Stock Exclusion, 42 Virginia Tax Review 353 (2023).