You must file a written statement with your original income tax return for the tax year in which you add a new activity to an existing group. The statement must provide the name, address, and EIN, if applicable, for the activity that’s being added and for the activities in the existing group. In addition, the statement must contain a declaration that the activities make up an appropriate economic unit for the measurement of gain or loss under the passive activity rules.

ie first you need to haul ass and do something crazy, eg write a quality 20,000 word ebook (insanely not passive hahahah), but then you get to sit back and enjoy seeing PayPal sale messages pop up on your iPhone each morning as sale after sale after sale is made…on an ongoing basis and without any additional work. That’s some seriously Pina Colada flavored passive goodness!
The reason I prefer e-books is, with e-books you write the book once and make money forever without worrying about print or inventory. At the moment, I have 3 e-books selling on this blog and the process to get any of them is simply automated. Once anyone makes a purchase, they get delivery within minutes. So I could sleep or spend the whole day at the beach and I would still be making money. Passive income!
This one is for people who want to work hard but make significant money online. Online learning courses have become very popular on the web, and you can find a lot of Youtube who starts selling courses in their field. It depends on the knowledge you have. If you have an extensive knowledge in Financial Education, then go and open a course. If you are a book bike rider, you can make a course about riding a bike and earn a significant passive income from that.
The activity is a personal service activity in which you materially participated for any 3 (whether or not consecutive) preceding tax years. An activity is a personal service activity if it involves the performance of personal services in the fields of health (including veterinary services), law, engineering, architecture, accounting, actuarial science, performing arts, consulting, or any other trade or business in which capital isn’t a material income-producing factor.
No matter what, if you own something, you will have to put some effort towards it, yes. Even if you are as hands-off as possible, you may need to use your brain occasionally. Although I would say with mine, I might have to use my brain for a total of a 30 minutes or less a year. The only thing I do for my properties are answer emails or calls from my property manager and give him approval to do random things. That doesn’t even happen that often though. The most ‘work’ I ever do on my properties, other than give approval for repairs, is stress if there is a vacancy or turnover or something. Stressing is pretty passive though. Oh, and I spend 20 minutes or less gathering any documents I have for my accountants come tax time.
So that is where it gets a little weird too- tax classifications, which might be slightly different than the term defining how much work you do. Owning a business will always be taxed as active income. Rental properties will always be taxed as passive income. The reason being (all theoretical to an extent) is that, in theory, if the business stops selling or performing, income is lost. In theory, rental properties can continue to make money if you do no work on them. If I had a rockstar property manager who constantly handled everything about the property, I could technically do zero work and still receive income. In theory, even if the PM stopped working the property, if a tenant stayed there forever and kept sending money, you get income with no work. Not all that realistic for you to never be involved, and most certainly to succeed without a PM, but taxes assume it’s possible. Work has to continue to happen with a business for it to make income, therefore it’s active.
As a private lender, you can lend to anyone in your social circle. For example, many home rehabbers need access to a source of capital they can tap into very quickly in order to fund the initial purchase of their properties. You can partner with a rehabber who uses your capital for a short-term in exchange for an interest rate that is mutually agreed upon.
Which all goes back to my point – since companies change in a lot of unpredictable ways, it makes more sense for passive income to just ride the market by investing in a Total Domestic Stock Market, Total Bond Market, and Total International index funds, with allocations that depend on your goals and time horizon. For income, withdraw 4% or less, depending on what research you believe, and you’ve got a pretty low risk strategy.
Whether you take a “distribution” (aka free-cash-flow) in the form of a dividend, interest payment, capital gain, maturing ladder of a CD, etc, you are still taking the same amount of cash out of your portfolio. Don’t fall for the trap of sub optimizing your overall portfolio’s performance because your chasing some unimportant trait called “income”.
If you sell your entire interest in a passive activity through an installment sale to figure the loss for the current year that isn’t limited by the passive activity rules, multiply your overall loss (not including losses allowed in prior years) by a fraction. The numerator of the fraction is the gain recognized in the current year, and the denominator is the total gain from the sale minus all gains recognized in prior years.

Haha, that is too funny. I wanted to make an app back in the day called “MyShares” (You can probably tell how I cam up with the name at the time). The idea was that I would loan out books and DVD’s and then would never get them back. Then I thought, how cool would it be if I could rent those items out and that would motivate people to bring them back. Obviously, books and DVD’s are cheap, so this isn’t the money maker. The idea that would probably make the most money would be things like tools, ATVs, etc.
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