A rental activity is a passive activity even if you materially participated in that activity, unless you materially participated as a real estate professional. See Real Estate Professional under Activities That Aren’t Passive Activities, later. An activity is a rental activity if tangible property (real or personal) is used by customers or held for use by customers, and the gross income (or expected gross income) from the activity represents amounts paid (or to be paid) mainly for the use of the property. It doesn’t matter whether the use is under a lease, a service contract, or some other arrangement.
Different types of passive income have different tax rules. For example, interest income is considered ordinary income. Financial institutions like banks offer various interest-bearing deposit accounts like savings accounts, money market accounts and certificates of deposit. Interest income credited to an account that is available for withdrawal without penalty is included in your normal taxable income, so the tax rate on interest is your normal income tax rate.
It is common for a business owner who relies on machinery or equipment to have two business entities. One entity is an LLC that owns the assets. The other entity is an S corporation which leases the assets from the LLC to use in the business. This directly reduces the S Corp’s income, and might possibly reduce the amount of salary required to be paid by the business to the shareholders. Good news.

MBJ is an LLC formed by a group of practicing physicians in 2004 for the purpose of operating a surgery center. For income tax purposes, it is treated as an LLC, and it hires its own employees. It bills patients directly for facility fees and then distributes each members' share to him or her based on his or her share of the earnings, which is the facility fees less expenses. It uses a third-party accounting firm to prepare the Schedule K-1, Partner's Share of Current Year Income, Deductions, Credits, and Other Items, and all other accounting matters for the members. MBJ does not pay members/managers for the procedures they perform.


Creating original content that other people love can be very rewarding to you from a personal growth perspective (people value something you have created) and from a financial perspective (people are willing to pay you for it).  You create something once, but keep getting paid a royalty for it long after you completed it.  Music is a nice example.  You write/perform the song once, and then sell it online.  Each time someone downloads your song you are paid a percentage of that sale, what a nice way to generate passive income!


The amount of tax you will pay on passive income will largely depend on the amount of income you generated and the ways in which it was obtained. For example, income from interest or short-term capital gains will be taxed according to standard income tax rates, while qualified dividends will be taxed according to long-term capital gains rates if you made more than $38,600 in ordinary income.
Passive income differs from active income which is defined as any earned income including all the taxable income and wages the earner get from working. Linear active income refers to one constantly needed to stay active to maintain the stream of income, and once an individual chooses to stop working the income will also stop, examples of active income include wages, self-employment income, martial participation in s corp, partnership.[4] portfolio income is derived from investments and includes capital gains, interest, dividends, and royalties.[5]
​I’ve been into home décor lately and I had to turn to Etsy to find exactly what I wanted. I ended up purchasing digital files of the artwork I wanted printed out! The seller had made a bunch of wall art, digitized, and listed it on Etsy for instant download. There are other popular digital files on Etsy as well such as monthly planners. If you’re into graphic design this could be an amazing passive income idea for you.
If you don’t care about lifestyle design, you can just stay at your current job, right? With financial freedom, you can do whatever you want. You can actually start forming lifestyle design before you are financially free too, just like I have. Even though I spend the majority of my time working on my company, I have positioned myself to be completely on my own schedule, I work whenever I want to for as much or as little time as I want, I sleep in most days, I live at the beach, I can stop working in the middle of the day to go have lunch with a friend, go to the gym, walk the dogs or, shoot, stop working completely for the day and do whatever I want instead! Hiking, snowboarding, surfing, margaritas, whatever.
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Rental properties are defined as passive income with a couple of exceptions. If you’re a real estate professional, any rental income you’re making counts as active income. If you’re "self-renting," meaning that you own a space and are renting it out to a corporation or partnership where you conduct business, that does not constitute passive income unless that lease had been signed before 1988, in which case you’ve been grandfathered into having that income being defined as passive. According to the IRS, "it does not matter whether or not the use is under a lease, a service contract, or some other arrangement."
Active participation depends on all the facts and circumstances. Factors that indicate active participation include making decisions involving the operation or management of the activity, performing services for the activity, and hiring and discharging employees. Factors that indicate a lack of active participation include lack of control in managing and operating the activity, having authority only to discharge the manager of the activity, and having a manager of the activity who is an independent contractor rather than an employee.
Active participation isn’t the same as material participation (defined later). Active participation is a less stringent standard than material participation. For example, you may be treated as actively participating if you make management decisions in a significant and bona fide sense. Management decisions that count as active participation include approving new tenants, deciding on rental terms, approving expenditures, and similar decisions.
If you or your spouse actively participated in a passive rental real estate activity, you may be able to deduct up to $25,000 of loss from the activity from your nonpassive income. This special allowance is an exception to the general rule disallowing losses in excess of income from passive activities. Similarly, you may be able to offset credits from the activity against the tax on up to $25,000 of nonpassive income after taking into account any losses allowed under this exception.

Hardy struggled to find space at the hospitals to conduct his procedures. Due to this difficulty, Hardy considered opening his own surgery center. He purchased land and developed plans to build this surgery center; however, before construction started, MBJ representatives approached Hardy to ask him about becoming a member. Mr. Hardy concluded that becoming a member/manager of an established surgery center was a better business decision than building his own surgery center due to the cost of construction, staffing, certifying, and operating the center.
There’s a saying that the biggest opportunity for improvement is at the margin. Boiled down, this means that you can reap big rewards for minor adjustments in behavior. Instead of using a check, debit card or cash to pay for daily activities and big expenses, using a cashback credit card can earn you a sizeable return each year. One of my favorite cards, the Discover it will even double all of the cash back you earn the first year!
Another way to generate passive income is to invest and be a silent partner in a business. This is very risky, but with risk comes the potential for high returns. For example, several years ago both Lyft and Uber were looking for private investors to invest in their companies. Today, they are worth billions - but you as an investor would only reap that benefit if they go public via an IPO, or get acquired. So, it's risky.

Thanks for writing this Mr. Samurai. I just got over the student loan hump but I feel pretty good about it at 27 having a graduate degree and being 100% debt free. Now that I’m on the other side it is good for my brain to absorb some of your knowledge regarding passive income investments. I love gleaning wisdom from older folks who have been there and done that. Mentors rock!
You are also free to choose a fund that is based on any index that you want. For example, there are index funds set up for just about every market sector there is — energy, precious metals, banking, emerging markets — you name it. All you have to do is decide that you want to participate, then contribute money and sit back and relax. Your stock portfolio will then be on automatic pilot.

1. The batting cage idea is very risky. I’ve seen many of them close over the years and it is not anything close to passive income if you want to keep the business going. You have to continually promote it and target youth leagues, coaches, schools etc to catch all of the new players who grow up and want to play. I’ve played at probably 8 batting cages over the years and 7 of them closed.
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