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.
Passive income, interest, taxable capital gains and certain rents as examples, earned by a CCPC is subject to a high corporate income tax rate of approximately 50%, a portion of which is accumulated in a notional account called the Refundable Dividend Tax On Hand (“RDTOH”). The RDTOH account is a mechanism that is used to simulate for the corporation the highest individual tax rate. In effect, the company “pre-pays” taxes to the federal government and is credited an amount in this pool. The CCPC is therefore entitled to a refund of its RDTOH of $38.33 for every $100 of dividend it pays to its shareholder, regardless of whether the dividend is sourced from the income it has generated from its active business or from its passive income. The refund is triggered at the time the dividend is paid since at this point the shareholder herself will now pay income taxes on that dividend earned. The RDTOH account is therefore used to achieve the integration at the corporate level by taxing passive investment income at roughly the top personal tax rate while it’s retained within the corporation.
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.
For purposes of item (1), above, an item of deduction arises in the taxable year in which the item would be allowable as a deduction under the taxpayer's method of accounting if taxable income for all taxable years were determined without regard to the passive activity rules and without regard to the basis, excess farm loss, and at-risk limits. See Coordination with other limitations on deductions that apply before the passive activity rules , later.
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.
Investing in bonds: Similarly, bonds are an attractive way to engage in passive income. Over a recent 45-year period, bonds funds, as measured by Vanguard Funds, returned 7.1%. Of course, there's no guarantee that investments in stocks or bonds will always work out well, investing in them is by far the surest way to generate money through passive income.
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