Buy a small business: A local small business, like a car wash or a laundromat, is a great way to put money down on a money-making venture. Automate it so you don't have to be on the premises unless you're collecting money. Go into a local business with your eyes wide open - study the books, especially on income and expenses, and examine water and utility bills if your venture will be open 24 hours.
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.)
Income tax is a cost of doing business and that cost carries over into the business of real estate ownership and operations. In July 2017, in the depths of the summer, the Federal Department of Finance (“Finance”) announced drastic changes that would have changed that cost of doing business for those owning shares of a Canadian controlled private corporation (“CCPC”). When ultimately distributed to the individual shareholder in the form of a dividend, investment income earned on the retained earnings generated from an active business would have cost the shareholder an ultimate income tax rate equal to 73% of the investment income. These proposed changes to the “passive income” rules were very complex and would have had the potential to shift the after-tax return for CCPCs while leaving the tax burden of public corporations, foreign corporations and tax-exempt entities unaffected.
In order for you to make the kind of passive income you would like you need to make sure the market segment you want to help has critical mass. If you have the best widget in the world, but only 14 people need or want it, then you don’t have a viable business. The great article 1,000 True Fans, by Kevin Kelly, cofounder of Wired Research, talks about if you have 1,000 people who are your customer, each paying you $100 a year, you now have $100,000 a year of passive income. The point is that you don’t need to serve the entire human population, just enough to have critical mass.
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.
If you are too risk-averse to engage in stock trading, there’s a much safer option to earn passive income, albeit with much lower margins of return: certificates of deposit or fixed deposits issued by banks. These financial vehicles are similar to mini investments. CDs work very similar to savings accounts with one notable difference. Once you place a deposit, it cannot be withdrawn until the certificate matures. You can obtain these certificates for lump sums of cash that you can allow to mature within time periods like 2 years or 5 years. The advantage of CDs is that they offer higher interest rates than regular savings accounts. You can rest assured that the money will be safe in the bank. A CD earns interest quarterly or annually and all you have to do is just sit back and wait for it to mature.
Additionally, if you wrote a book and receive royalty checks, that income is also passive and not subjected to self-employment taxes. But, if you write several books or make updates to an existing book (like this one) then you are materially participating in your activity and your income is earned income. And Yes, you would pay self-employment taxes on that income.
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.
Passive income is also not subjected to self-employment taxes. But similar to portfolio income, it might be subject to the Net Investment Income tax. So, if you own a rental house, the income generated from the rental house is considered passive income. As a side note, taxpayers used to label themselves as Real Estate Professionals under IRS definition to allow passive losses to be deducted; now we are seeing the same label to avoid Net Investment Income tax on rental income.
If the amount you had at risk in an activity at the end of your tax year that began in 1978 was less than zero, you apply the preceding rule for the recapture of losses by substituting that negative amount for zero. For example, if your at-risk amount for that tax year was minus $50, you will recapture losses only when your at-risk amount goes below minus $50.
Generally, to determine if activities form an appropriate economic unit, you must consider all the relevant facts and circumstances. You can use any reasonable method of applying the relevant facts and circumstances in grouping activities. The following factors have the greatest weight in determining whether activities form an appropriate economic unit. All of the factors don’t have to apply to treat more than one activity as a single activity. The factors that you should consider are:
One way to make passive income with more involvement is to write and publish an e-book. Got some knowledge or a great story idea you’ve been itching to share? Put it all in a book and sell it online! If all goes well, you could be raking in the royalties for years to come. Of course, there is some considerable work involved in writing, publishing and selling a book. However the advent of self-publishing e-books makes this a considerably easier option than it used to be.
It’s obvious that stocks outperform real estate in terms of capital gains, but I would like to see S&P compare to Real Estate in SF, Manhattan, LA. Our house in NC was $80,000 20 years ago. It’s only $150,000 now. Same house in Santa Monica went from $200,000 to $1.8 million. People who happen to bought real estate in major metropolitan would have a natural positive association with real estate investment.
What about getting hit with AMT (Alternative Minimum Tax) in cases your passive income / capital gains are too high? I’m not that familiar with the details of AMT, but I got hit with AMT one time due to an “exercise and hold” of ISOs (stock options). My CPA explained it’s another method of calculating my tax liability, and in cases I gain too much capital gains, the IRS may treat and tax them as ordinary income.
An affiliate marketer is an online salesperson who promotes products in exchange for a commission. For most of the affiliate programs, you only need to place their banners and links on your site and the system does the rest. However, you will do better if you master sales skill. It’s a vital skill in affiliate marketing. The more you are able to convince people to buy a product that will be of benefit to them, the more you will make money.