If you’re worried about launching a new product, and think you might need some feedback to make it really good, Flynn recommends “pre-selling” an idea — for instance, offering a limited number of spots or seats into, say, a course you create and giving the test group specialized attention so you can see how to improve the content. Once it’s revised (or, if it’s software, once all the bugs are removed), you could open it up to your whole audience.
A planning opportunity may be available by converting a primary residence into rental real estate. For example, Mary purchases a condo in 2010 and in 2013 decides to upgrade into a single family home. She rents out the condo to earn some money. Due to recent developments in the area, the condo is now worth much more and she sells it for a gain of $100,000. Since Mary lived in the home for 2 out of the past 5 years, the entire gain is excluded from income. The 2 year rule can occur anytime during the 5 year period and does not have to be consecutive. Keep in mind though that if you do the opposite and convert rental property to a primary residence, the rules are more complex and the gain exclusion tends to be limited.
This publication discusses two sets of rules that may limit the amount of your deductible loss from a trade, business, rental, or other income-producing activity. The first part of the publication discusses the passive activity rules. The second part discusses the at-risk rules. However, when you figure your allowable losses from any activity, you must apply the at-risk rules before the passive activity rules.
This is a very passive way of generating income, but the catch is that you need a lot of money to build this passive income machine. For example, you find a combination of dividend producing stocks & bonds (this also can be done with CD’s (and other cash equivalents) that you are comfortable with, the yield (or passive income) generated on the portfolio is 5%. In order to generate $50,000 a year in passive (dividend) income you would need $1,000,000 in your account. (CDs are FDIC insured up to $250,000 per depositor per insured depository institution.)
4. Calculate how much passive income you need. It's important to have a passive-income goal — otherwise, it's very easy to lose motivation. A good goal is to try to generate enough passive income to cover basic living expenses such as food, shelter, transportation, and clothing. If your annual expense number is $30,000, divide that figure by your expected rate of return to see how much capital you need to save. Unfortunately, you've got to then multiply the capital amount by 1.25 to 1.5 to account for taxes.
Once your audience has grown and you have validation that you’re offering them value, there are many ways to create passive income. You could sell digital products like ebooks or courses, take up affiliate marketing in which you promote other company’s products and earn a commission when you sell that item to your audience, build a community and charge people to be a part of it, create software and sell that, among other avenues. Ask your audience directly what would serve them best, or look at what they’re saying on Twitter, Facebook or other websites, to find out what problems they have and how you could help solve them.
The Tax Court had to decide whether the Hardy’s properly reported Dr. Hardy's income from MBJ as passive, and if so, whether they could deduct a passive activity loss carryover from previous years. It also had to determine whether the Hardy’s overpaid their self-employment tax. Finally, it had to decide if they were liable for the accuracy-related penalties.
But then figure out your unique selling proposition, what advantage you can offer that the market currently lacks. “My advantage in the passive income marketing space is that I’m not afraid to share my failures or where my income comes from,” says Flynn, who details his impressive income every month. “Transparency is huge,” he says. Referring to the personal bio on his LEED exam site, he says, “You might think I’m not benefitting from putting my story on there, but it helps me establish a relationship with people there. I’m someone who went through the same experience people went through on the site.”
Some investments, such as certain notes, T-class units of mutual funds and REITs, pay a mixture of income and a return of capital. A return of capital is not included in income in the year received; rather, it reduces the adjusted cost base of the investment and increases the capital gain (or decreases the capital loss) on the future disposition of the investment.
If you make the choice, it is binding for the tax year you make it and for any later year that you are a real estate professional. This is true even if you aren’t a real estate professional in any intervening year. (For that year, the exception for real estate professionals won’t apply in determining whether your activity is subject to the passive activity rules.)