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”.
A working interest in an oil or gas well which you hold directly or through an entity that doesn’t limit your liability (such as a general partner interest in a partnership). It doesn’t matter whether you materially participated in the activity for the tax year. However, if your liability was limited for part of the year (for example, you converted your general partner interest to a limited partner interest during the year) and you had a net loss from the well for the year, some of your income and deductions from the working interest may be treated as passive activity gross income and passive activity deductions. See Temporary Regulations section 1.469-1T(e)(4)(ii).
Investing is arguably the easiest way to make passive income.  The problem is most investments sound good in theory but don’t work out so well in practice.  And if you don’t have much experience or access to capital, let alone the time to work it all out, it can seem more or less impossible.  However, there is one smart way to invest that just might work.  Continue reading >
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.

You must file a written statement with your original income tax return for the first tax year in which two or more activities are originally grouped into a single activity. The statement must provide the names, addresses, and employer identification numbers (EINs), if applicable, for the activities being grouped as a single activity. In addition, the statement must contain a declaration that the grouped activities make up an appropriate economic unit for the measurement of gain or loss under the passive activity rules.
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.
Investing in a business: Another good way to generate passive income is to invest in a business --even a small one -- in return for a percentage of the profits - just like Shark Tank, only smaller. Lending $10,000 to a local business that, for example, is working on a mobile app for Apple phones could lead to a passive income-generated share of the profits when that mobile app starts selling like hot cakes.
Investing in a business: Another good way to generate passive income is to invest in a business --even a small one -- in return for a percentage of the profits - just like Shark Tank, only smaller. Lending $10,000 to a local business that, for example, is working on a mobile app for Apple phones could lead to a passive income-generated share of the profits when that mobile app starts selling like hot cakes.
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If you or your spouse actively participated in a passive rental real estate activity, the amount of the passive activity loss that’s disallowed is decreased and you therefore can 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 the passive activity loss. Similarly, you can 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.
Here are our top 5 passive income ideas for 2018. These passive income streams will help you get started securing your financial future. These income streams will allow you to do what you want, when you want it. Please note our passive income ideas are not necessarily new to 2018, but these are key areas that every person researching passive income should participate in.
“There is no such thing as 100% passive income,” says Flynn. “Even with real estate you still have to manage your properties, or even with the stock market, which is potentially passive income, you still have to manage your portfolio. With online business, there is no such thing as 100% passive income — and this is coming from a guy with a blog called SmartPassiveIncome.com. The definition of passive income is ‘building these businesses of automation,’ but in order to keep them automated and keep that trust going with your audience on top of that, you do have to keep it up every once in a while — so a lot of time upfront and a little time after. But there is alway time involved.”
​Udemy is an online platform that lets its user take video courses on a wide array of subjects. Instead of being a consumer on Udemy you can instead be a producer, create your own video course, and allow users to purchase it. This is a fantastic option if you are highly knowledgeable in a specific subject matter. This can also be a great way to turn traditional tutoring into a passive income stream!
If you rent property to a trade or business activity in which you materially participated, net rental income from the property is treated as nonpassive income. This rule doesn’t apply to net income from renting property under a written binding contract entered into before February 19, 1988. It also doesn’t apply to property described earlier under Rental of Property Incidental to a Development Activity .
If you’re a retired or disabled farmer, you’re treated as materially participating in a farming activity if you materially participated for 5 or more of the 8 years before your retirement or disability. Similarly, if you’re a surviving spouse of a farmer, you’re treated as materially participating in a farming activity if the real property used in the activity meets the estate tax rules for special valuation of farm property passed from a qualifying decedent, and you actively manage the farm.
We’ve discussed how to get started building passive income for financial freedom in a previous post. Now I’d like to rank the various passive income streams based on risk, return, and feasibility. The rankings are somewhat subjective, but they are born from my own real life experiences attempting to generate multiple types of passive income sources over the past 16 years.
I’m with you Dennis. My whole goal, for years, was to get myself into a position to be able to go back to flight instructing but not be reliant on the income (because it isn’t good). I didn’t know how I would do it, but I ended up starting my own business that I work whenever I want, so now I can pop out to the airport for a couple flights a week and have fun with it, not care about the income (or lack there of) and enjoy it. That is a “job” I will probably always work, but it’s because it’s fun and not required for the income.
Almost all of these ideas require starting a personal blog or website. But the great thing about that is that it's incredibly cheap to do. We recommend using Bluehost to get started. You get a free domain name and hosting starts at just $2.95 per month - a deal that you won't find many other places online! You can afford that to start building a passive income stream.

This is why we can retire in our 40s. we currently have four streams of income (my salary, husband salary, husband pension and our passive portfolio income which is outside of all our employer retirement accounts). our passive portfolio income is surpassed what most people are aiming for their retirement portfolios. And we don’t sell anything…this is just our dividend income annually. Passive income is the key to flexibility. No employer necessary.


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.
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!
If you sell an asset like a stock or mutual fund at a price that is higher than the amount you paid, the difference or profit you realize is a capital gain. Capital gains are divided into two categories: short-term gains and long-term gains. Short-term gains are profits realized from the sale of assets you hold a year or less, while long-term gains are profits gained from selling assets you hold longer than a year.

Oh it matters. It matters because accomplishing your goals depends on understanding these terms very clearly. What is the most common reason investors give as to why they are getting into real estate investing or why they are already in it? Financial freedom. Those who want financial freedom very clearly define that goal as being able to use real estate as a vehicle to eventually break loose of their current career and not have to work for their income. Okay, cool, a goal! And an amazing goal at that. Okay, so financial freedom, let’s talk about that.


Portfolio income is income generated from selling an asset, and if you sell that asset for a higher price than what you paid for it originally, you will have a gain. Depending on the holding period of the asset, and other factors, that gain might be taxed at ordinary income tax rates or capital gains tax rates. Interest and dividends are other examples of portfolio income.
Self-publishing belongs firmly at the top of any passive income ideas list. Amazon, with Kindle Direct Publishing (electronic version) and CreateSpace (print on demand version) dominates the self-publishing world. It’s both good and bad. Good in that they’re quite generous with their commission rates (usually 70%). Bad in that they can change their policies at any time to be less favourable for authors and there is nowhere else for us to go. That’s not entirely true. There are a few other options, but none of them are as good as Amazon!
In determining whether qualified nonrecourse financing is secured only by real property used in the activity of holding real property, disregard property that’s incidental to the activity of holding real property. Also disregard other property if the total gross fair market value of that property is less than 10% of the total gross fair market value of all the property securing the financing.
Active Income Investments: Flipping and wholesaling. You have to do work in order to see money from these. You have to be hands-on. Note: I do still stand by my argument that wholesaling is not actually an investment at all, but for the sake of so many people thinking it is, I am including it. Another note: It is possible, if you are really slick and good, that you could be decently hands-off for a flip. But that is long down the road of being an advanced flipper so for now, I’m leaving it here.
If you qualify as a real estate professional, rental real estate activities in which you materially participated aren’t passive activities. For purposes of determining whether you materially participated in your rental real estate activities, each interest in rental real estate is a separate activity unless you elect to treat all your interests in rental real estate as one activity.
I will say I enjoy reading your article very much as its very helpful. Pls Mr Samuel I have like 100k and base in Lagos city. What low investment Business do you think I can trade with it. Make some reasonable profit? I have really red a lot of your write ups. I want your advice and opinion as professional and knowledge base on your experience. I will really appreciate if you assist me something. Thanks.
Though it can take a while to build up enough cash to put a 20% down payment on an investment property (the typical lender minimum), they can snowball fairly quickly. The key here is to correctly project income and expenses in order to calculate cash flow (the free cash you can put in your pocket after all associated property expenses have been paid). However you have to be sure to include the cost of a property manager in your calculations unless you want to manage the property yourself. Even with a property manager, you may be required to make large repair decisions every now and then – so while this is not a 100% passive activity, you are not directly trading your time for money like traditional employment.
The rental is incidental to a nonrental activity. The rental of property is incidental to an activity of holding property for investment if the main purpose of holding the property is to realize a gain from its appreciation and the gross rental income from the property is less than 2% of the smaller of the property's unadjusted basis or fair market value. The unadjusted basis of property is its cost not reduced by depreciation or any other basis adjustment. The rental of property is incidental to a trade or business activity if all of the following apply.

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]
Real estate rental income is one of the best passive income opportunities I’ve taken advantage of. When you buy a rental property, you are buying a home, apartment building or commercial building, then renting it out to someone who cannot afford to buy it themselves. It is a win-win for everyone. They get a nice place for a reasonable price and you get a property that is being paid for by the tenant.
Passive activity loss is defined as “the excess of the aggregate losses from all passive activities for the taxable year over the aggregate income from all passive activities for that year.” A passive activity is any trade or business where the taxpayer does not materially participate. The taxpayer would materially participate in an activity if “they are involved in the operations of the activity on a regular, continuous, and substantial basis “Dr. Hardy's activity does not meet the material participation test.
Finally, I imagine the biggest debate with my ranking is Creating Your Own Product as the #1 passive income source. If most people have never created their own product, then it’s easy to give it a thumbs down. There won’t be much complaint about Private Equity Investing being in last place because most people are not accredited investors. But given I believe that plenty of people can create their own product if they try, pushback is inevitable because a lot of people simply don’t try!

In fact, as I laid in bed one morning coming up with this post, I could really only think of one aspect of passive income that is worse than earned income. If you are a high earner, you can’t deduct real estate losses against your earned income unless you qualify as a “real estate professional,” which basically means you spend > 750 hours a year doing it. That’s it. The rest of the time, passive beats active.

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!


You pay two main types of taxes on earned income, Social Security/Medicare taxes (called FICA, OASDI, or payroll taxes), and federal and state income taxes. The payroll taxes that are automatically taken out of your paycheck have two components. First, 12.4 percent of earned income is paid to Social Security. Your employer pays half of this tax, and you pay half. If you are self-employed you'll pay the full 12.4 percent, however, the "employer" portion of 6.2 percent is generally tax deductible.
Diverse income streams are a cornerstone of wealth creation. For busy entrepreneurs, putting all of your eggs in a single basket – even if that basket is your startup – is a bad idea. As you begin to generate revenue, place at least 10% of your revenue into an investment fund. I personally leverage mutual funds to provide consistent returns of the stock market while minimizing my risks associated with the volatility of individual stocks.
In February 2007, Pat Flynn was working at an architecture firm making $38,000 a year. He mulled boosting his earning power by getting an architecture license, but the process would likely take six to eight years. When he heard about getting a credential in sustainable design and environmentally friendly building called Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED), he decided to go for that, as no one in his department had it. The one problem? The exam was so challenging, just one-third of test-takers passed.
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.
I am a Certified Financial Planner®¹ and am the founder of Intrepid Wealth Partners. I work with entrepreneurs from startup through exit on financial planning to realize their hopes, dreams & goals. I am an avid world traveler, certified as a Dive Master in SCUBA, have been skydiving, and love meeting new people. Follow us on Facebook, connect with me on LinkedIn.
Nonetheless, there is still benefit to capturing the losses on a tax return.  When you sell a primary residence, up to $500,000 of capital gain for a married couple ($250,000 for a single person) may be excluded.  Unfortunately, rental properties are not awarded this gain exclusion.  Instead, any losses that the property generates over the years can be accumulated and offset with the gain upon disposition.
According to NOLO, “the home office deduction is available only if you are running a bona fide business.” That means any work dedicated to your passive income property from the confines of your own home can’t be a hobby. “If the IRS decides that you are indulging a hobby rather than trying to earn a profit, it won’t let you take the home office deduction.”
I just wanted to say how nice it is to see such a positive exchange between strangers on the Internet. Seriously, not only was this article (list) motivating and well-drafted, the tiny little community of readers truly were a pleasant crescendo I found to be the cause of an inward smile. Thank you, everyone, and good luck to you all with your passive income efforts!! 🙂
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