Unearned income is not subject to payroll taxes. This is good news! However unearned income sources are included in your calculation of Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) for federal income tax purposes. You can find your AGI on line 37 of your 1040 tax form. Most unearned income such as interest income from CDs or savings accounts, IRA withdrawals, and pension payments are taxed at your marginal tax rate. However, certain types of unearned income, such as capital gains and qualified dividends are taxed at a lower rate.
My returns are based on full cash purchase of the properties, as it is hard to compare the attractiveness of properties at different price ranges when only calculating down payment or properties that need very little rehab/updates. I did think about the scores assigned to each factor, but I believe tax deductions are a SIGNIFICANT factor when comparing passive income steams.
I wanted to specifically call out one particular strategy within equity investing that bears mentioning – dividend growth investing is when you focus on stocks that not only pay a dividend but have a history of strong dividend growth. When I was first building my portfolio of individual stocks, I focused on buying companies with a history of dividends, a history of strong growth, and financials that supported a continuation of both.
Further playing off of your talents and ideas, you can easily sell products online nowadays, too. Find companies where you can sell your musical talents for jingles. Look for companies who need freelance designers. While you can earn passive income through these royalties, again, it will take time and work to produce your craft, whatever it may be.
A former passive activity is an activity that was a passive activity in any earlier tax year, but isn’t a passive activity in the current tax year. You can deduct a prior year's unallowed loss from the activity up to the amount of your current year net income from the activity. Treat any remaining prior year unallowed loss like you treat any other passive loss.
If you rent property to a trade or business activity in which you materially participated, net rental income from the property is treated as nonpassive income. This rule doesn’t apply to net income from renting property under a written binding contract entered into before February 19, 1988. It also doesn’t apply to property described earlier under Rental of Property Incidental to a Development Activity .
It is helpful to have an understanding of the bigger tax items – basis and depreciation.  Basis is the cost or purchase price of the property minus the value of the land (note: you cannot depreciate land).  The depreciation deduction you can take on residential real estate per year is the basis (cost less land) divided by 27.5.  Depreciation is a great tax deduction you can take every year but will affect your gain or loss when you sell the property.
Domain names cannot be replicated. If one is taken, the only recourse would be to approach the owner to discuss a sale. While there are other variations you could choose, sometimes owning a certain domain (especially if it is attached to your business) can be worth the premium. Often, people will scout out domain names that are still available, buy them, and then sit on them in order to sell them down the road. Depending on who may want the domain down the road, you could sell it for a large markup.
Given the growth in the sharing economy, your junk can start to pay for itself. For example, if you have some awesome vintage furniture inherited from your grandmother sitting in a storage unit, you can rent this out to photographers for their “styled shoots” which are becoming all the rage. If your furniture is more modern but you still can’t bear to get rid of it – perhaps a home stager will be interested.
Crowdfunding is a newer way to invest, having emerged onto the scene just within the last few years. Most people have heard of sites like Kickstarter and GoFundMe, and a very similar concept exists for real estate. Developers are always looking to raise capital to fund their projects. Through the various online platforms, investors have access to these projects and can choose to invest in both residential and commercial properties. See the List of My Favorite Crowdfunding Sites.
The tax returns Romney has made public show most of his money comes from investment returns on his holdings rather than from wages or a salary. His overall tax rate in 2010 was 13.9 percent and his estimated rate for 2011 is 15.4 percent. This caused a predictable outcry that his tax rate is lower than the income tax bracket of many middle class Americans.

Obviously, these are much higher than you’re going to get with most other investments. What’s more is that you can choose a plan that matches your investment strategy, whether your goal is Supplemental Income, Balanced Investing, or Long-term Growth. You can also look at different real estate projects and choose for yourself which ones to invest in.


Similar to making a website or blog, but more passive, is creating an online course. If you have a specific skill you know you can teach and that others want to learn, you can easily create an online course. Sites like Udemy can help you do this. It requires some work to make it, but after that, users simply need to sign up for the course and pay a fee.
I am a Certified Financial Planner®¹ and am the founder of Intrepid Wealth Partners. I work with entrepreneurs from startup through exit on financial planning to realize their hopes, dreams & goals. I am an avid world traveler, certified as a Dive Master in SCUBA, have been skydiving, and love meeting new people. Follow us on Facebook, connect with me on LinkedIn.
3. Start as soon as possible. Building a livable passive-income stream takes a tremendously long time, largely because of declining interest rates since the late 1980s. Gone are the days of making a 5%-plus return on a short-term CD or savings account. Today, the best 12-month CD is at 2.5%, and the best money-market rate is about 1.85%, which is not bad, considering such rates were below 0.5% just a couple of years ago. Know that every $100 you save can generate at least $2.5 in passive income.
If all or any part of your loss from an activity is disallowed under Allocation of disallowed passive activity loss among activities for the tax year, a ratable portion of each of your passive activity deductions (defined later), other than an excluded deduction (defined below) from such activity is disallowed. The ratable portion of a passive activity deduction is the amount of the disallowed portion of the loss from the activity for the tax year multiplied by the fraction obtained by dividing:
Passive income, in a nutshell, is money that flows in on a regular basis without requiring a substantial amount of effort to create it. The idea is that you make an upfront investment time and/or money but once the ball is rolling, there's minimal maintenance required going forward. That being said, not all passive income opportunities are created equally. For investors, building a solid portfolio means knowing which passive investing strategies to pursue.
Because passive investors’ rentals are viewed as secondary income, they can only deduct the normal costs associated with their rental properties. They cannot deduct any home office expenses and are limited on how much they can deduct from any losses they might incur. As of 2010, you can only deduct up to $3,000 from your other active income like your job or employment.
If you have a capital loss on the disposition of an interest in a passive activity, the loss may be limited. For individuals, your capital loss deduction is limited to the amount of your capital gains plus the lower of $3,000 ($1,500 in the case of a married individual filing a separate return) or the excess of your capital losses over capital gains. See Pub. 544 for more information.
Are you totally convinced that I have completely diverged from talking about active vs. passive income? I don’t blame you. I would have forgotten about those by now too. But let’s bring them back now. Ok, how do those relate to lifestyle design? Well, I’m assuming we have established that your personal lifestyle design does not involve working, correct? Do you remember which kind of income requires you to work for it? Active income. So then for complete lifestyle design, do you want to have to rely on any active income? No. You only want passive income because passive income doesn’t require much, if any, work on your part. Then you are free to travel or play or watch TV all you want.
According to Congressional Budget Office figures from 2011, the top 1 percent of taxpayers pay an average of 29.5 percent, those in the percentiles from 81 percent to 99 percent pay 22.8 percent, those from 21 percent through 80 percent pay 15.1 percent, and the bottom 20 percent pay 4.7 percent. Those numbers, of course, don’t include the 49.5 percent of Americans who pay no federal income tax at all.
One of the most important assets you have is your credit score. By taking care of it and pursuing the steps to improve your credit score, a world of opportunity can open up for you. If you need a loan to buy that rental property or some quick funding through a business credit card, a good credit score will help you get approved so you can build passive income.
Further playing off of your talents and ideas, you can easily sell products online nowadays, too. Find companies where you can sell your musical talents for jingles. Look for companies who need freelance designers. While you can earn passive income through these royalties, again, it will take time and work to produce your craft, whatever it may be.
Once you start to see some success, don’t be led astray by the money. While Flynn does use affiliate marketing to make money, he only ever recommends products that he has personally used and likes. He is inundated by offers to earn $50 per sale through commission on products he has never even tried. “I’m like, ‘I don’t even know you, I don’t know what this product can do, and I don’t know if this product will help my audience.’ I only use products I’ve used before, because that trust you have with your audience is the most important thing in the world.” He says if you do recommend a product for the incredible commission but your audience has a bad experience with it, your credibility will be shot.
The government’s concern with the accumulation of passive income-generating investments in private companies stems from the fact that CCPCs pay a blended federal and provincial small business tax rate of 13.5% (in Ontario) on active business income up to the small business deduction (SBD) limit of $500,000 in 2018. This compares favorably to the tax rates on income earned by individuals. On a combined federal and provincial basis, the differential between the highest marginal tax rate on personal income and the small business tax rate ranges between about 36% and 41%, depending on the province in which a CCPC resides.
Speaking from our own experience, you can’t be a passive McDonald’s franchisee. Every McDonald’s potential franchisee will need to complete at least thousands of hours of training before he/she would be approved to acquire a franchise and only if he/she has the financial resources to acquire a franchise. It could take years before one would get a single store franchise. Until the franchisee eventually has acquired multiple stores and established his/her own management team, the franchisee would have to put his/her nose to the grindstone and work his/her ass off every day. I won’t call it a passive investment by any stretch of imagination.
Some retirees start consulting businesses, do handy-man work, or in some other way become self-employed. Many are caught off guard by the payroll/FICA tax and can get behind on taxes once they become self-employed. If you become self-employed be sure to work with a good tax professional who can help you calculate the right amount of payroll tax to send in, otherwise April 15th will be a very unpleasant time of year for you. 

Social Security retirement benefits may or may not be taxable depending on your annual income. If your annual income is more than $34,000 as a single taxpayer or $44,000 as a joint filer, up to 85 percent of your Social Security may be included in your ordinary income and taxed at your normal income tax rate. If your income is under $25,000 as a single taxpayer or $32,000 as a joint filer, you don't pay tax on Social Security benefits. If your income is between $25,000 and $34,000 as a single filer or $32,000 and $44,000 as a joint filer, up to 50 percent of your benefits are taxable.
​Affiliate marketing is the practice of partnering with a company (becoming their affiliate) to receive a commission on a product. This method of generating income works the best for those with blogs and websites. Even then, it takes a long time to build up before it becomes passive. If you want to get started with affiliate marketing check out this great list of affiliate marketing programs.
If you do not meet any of the above criteria and you lose money on a real estate investment, you still may be able to reduce your taxes. First, use a loss on one real estate investment to offset a profit on another investment. If you make $20,000 on one apartment building but lose $3,000 on a duplex, you will end up with only $17,000 in taxable income from real estate activities. If you only own one property, the IRS usually allows you to carry that loss forward to offset profits in the future.
Keep in mind, many questions can be answered on IRS.gov without visiting an IRS Tax Assistance Center (TAC). Go to IRS.gov/LetUsHelp for the topics people ask about most. If you still need help, IRS TACs provide tax help when a tax issue can’t be handled online or by phone. All TACs now provide service by appointment so you’ll know in advance that you can get the service you need without long wait times. Before you visit, go to IRS.gov/TACLocator to find the nearest TAC, check hours, available services, and appointment options. Or, on the IRS2Go app, under the Stay Connected tab, choose the Contact Us option and click on “Local Offices.”
If you like the “job” of wholesaling or flipping or landlording, or whatever it is you may be doing actively to earn income, rock on with it. Especially if you are using the income from that job to buy passive investments with, which is how one really becomes successful- find ways to fund buying passive investments that will lead you towards financial freedom. On that note too though, you can work any job or build a business to earn income that you can use to invest in passive investments. It doesn’t have to be flipping or wholesaling or landlording, albeit you do learn a lot about investing working those jobs, but it can be any job you want totally outside of real estate if you want it to be. Real estate is just a great way to earn some fat cash, which is why so many people stick with it. And if you do that, you are awesome still, as long as you realize you are working a job.
​Self Publishing is mainstream today. When you purchase an eBook off of Amazon there’s a pretty good chance you’re buying a self-published book. Self-publishing is also ridiculously easy. I tried this a few years ago and couldn’t believe how simple the process was. To self-publish a book you’ll first need to write and edit it, create a cover, and then upload to a program such as Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing. Don’t expect instant success though. There will need to be a lot of upfront marketing before you can turn this into a passive income stream.
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