Venture-capital-fund investors got a break from the Internal Revenue Service restructuring bill recently signed into law. The measure extends a 1997 exemption for stockholders of "qualified small businesses" (QSB)--with assets of $50 million or less. That measure allowed individuals with QSB stock to sell shares and reinvest the proceeds in another QSB issue without paying taxes--within 60 days. Now, mutual funds, partnerships, some trusts, and other noncorporate taxpayers get the same treatment. The definition of a QSB is based on tax-law depreciation standards. But QSB shares must have been issued in an initial public offering or private placement or as option rewards.

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