Goldman says Biden capital gains tax hike could trigger some stock selling, but it won't last

U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden delivers remarks on a Vision for Older Americans event at the Southwest Focal Point Community Center, in Pembroke Pines, Florida, U.S., October 13, 2020.
Tom Brenner | Reuters

With former Vice President Joe Biden continuing to lead in the polls less than three weeks before Election Day, investors are looking at the possibility of a considerably different tax environment ahead.

If history is a guide, though, the reaction may not be that dramatic, according to a Goldman Sachs analysis.

Of particular focus is the former vice president's stated intention to increase the capital gains tax on those making more than $1 million. Essentially, the Biden proposal would about double taxes for that bracket as it would change the levy on gains from selling stocks and other assets to ordinary income.

That would take capital gains from a current 20% to 39.6% for top earners.

Goldman strategists expect that wealthy investors would react to the change, but that it might only be short-lived.