Looming Tax Hike Motivates Owners to Sell - WSJ.com A looming increase in the capital-gains tax rate next year is fueling sales of some privately-held businesses. Many business ownersmostly founders who could gain a lot from a saleare looking to close deals before next year, when the maximum tax on investment income is scheduled to rise from 15% currently to at least 23.8% on most capital gains, at least for higher-income households. Many sellers intend to convert their equity into retirement funds or just start anew. That start anew thing. It won't be in the US.