Qualified dividends are taxed the same as long-term capital gains. In 2018, you can earn up to $38,600 in ordinary income without being taxed on long-term capital gains or qualified dividends. If you earn between $38,600 and $425,800 in ordinary income, your long-term capital gains tax rate is 15 percent, which would also apply to qualified dividends. If you make more than $425,800, the rate is 20 percent.
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.
Real estate investors don’t get to enjoy that lower qualified dividends rate on their passive income, but they get something almost as good- depreciation. Now I’m of the school of thought that you get to take depreciation mostly because buildings and appliances really do depreciate, but even so, it gets pretty favorable tax treatment, particularly for a high earner. Depreciating your property allows you to defer taxes on them until you sell the property and the depreciation is recaptured. That deferral by itself is very useful, particularly if it allows you to defer it until such a time as you are in a lower bracket. You can also avoid that recapture completely by doing 1031 exchanges from one property to another until the owner dies and gets that step-up in basis at death. But wait, there’s more. That recapture tax rate maxes out at 25%, even if you’re in the 39.6% tax bracket.
This article is great, defining the differences and emphasizing the advantages of passive income. I believe it might be helpful to list some of the tax advantages of passive income vs active income as well. These include and are not limited to: cash-flow, being able to claim depreciation, deductable loan interest, tax free refinancing and deferred taxes on sale of property via 1031 exchanges. It’s the difference between 50% taxed income and potential tax free income.
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.
Active investors are those who operate their investment properties as a business. The majority of their annual earnings come from their rental properties and they spend 750 or more hours throughout the tax year operating the property as a business. Active investors are also termed “real estate professionals” by the IRS, since their rental property businesses are considered their primary occupation.

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.
Hey Mike! Love this article. Recently, I paid off my student loans and am crazy focused on creating multiple passive income streams. Currently, all my passive income comes from real estate and because of your great articles on the subject I called to check out refinance options! I had no clue about CD laddering, dividend investing or P2P lending until two weeks ago when I started doing my research on where to put my hard earned money. I had been just saving it but when I looked at the terrible 0.01% return I said forget it! 2 % for me is a great way to start. It is better than what I have been getting outside of my real estate. Also, creating products is a must! I’m working on this type of royalty too. I find it so exciting to learn how to use your money to make money. Thanks and I will be sure to link to you when I start my blog!
The tax returns Romney has made public show most of his money comes from investment returns on his holdings rather than from wages or a salary. His overall tax rate in 2010 was 13.9 percent and his estimated rate for 2011 is 15.4 percent. This caused a predictable outcry that his tax rate is lower than the income tax bracket of many middle class Americans.
The government has announced its intention to introduce legislation that will reduce the SBD limit by $5 for every $1 of investment income above a $50,000 threshold, beginning in 2019. Once passive investment income exceeds $150,000, the SBD limit will be reduced to zero and the CCPC will pay tax at the general corporate tax rate of 26.5% as opposed to the 13.5% SBD Rate (for Ontario CCPCs).
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”.
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 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.
Yes, I meant that the non-working spouse would have to be wiling to become a working real estate professional – which certainly may not be an ideal solution for every couple in every circumstance. But, I was able to raise our kids while managing our rental properties as a licensed real estate professional and was always happy for the bumped-up tax benefits. No doubt, though, I was working!

Proof of participation. You can use any reasonable method to prove your participation in an activity for the year. You don’t have to keep contemporaneous daily time reports, logs, or similar documents if you can establish your participation in some other way. For example, you can show the services you performed and the approximate number of hours spent by using an appointment book, calendar, or narrative summary.
Airbnb is a concept that has only been around for a few years, but it has exploded around the globe. Airbnb allows people to travel all around the world and to stay in accommodations that are a lot less expensive than traditional hotels. They do this by staying with participating Airbnb members who rent out part of their homes to travelers. By participating in Airbnb, you can use your residence to accommodate guests and earn extra money just for renting out space in your home.
If you sell your entire interest in a passive activity through an installment sale to figure the loss for the current year that isn’t limited by the passive activity rules, multiply your overall loss (not including losses allowed in prior years) by a fraction. The numerator of the fraction is the gain recognized in the current year, and the denominator is the total gain from the sale minus all gains recognized in prior years.
During 2017, John was unmarried and wasn’t a real estate professional. For 2017, he had $120,000 in salary and a $31,000 loss from his rental real estate activities in which he actively participated. His modified adjusted gross income is $120,000. When he files his 2017 return, he can deduct only $15,000 of his passive activity loss. He must carry over the remaining $16,000 passive activity loss to 2018. He figures his deduction and carryover as follows.

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 real estate has been around for ages.  Whether you are looking to buy your first duplex or getting into a large commercial property, rental properties can provide passive income through rents with some very appealing tax benefits.  This method can be harder to get started with given the initial capital needed in most cases, but is certainly a great way to generate passive income.
We are going to start with 1.5 years of all spending needs in cash. We will draw 1800 to 1900 per month. We will add to this from the index funds by taking a portion of the gains in good years to supplement. This is the total return portion of the equation. Obviously, if stocks decrease drastically over a 5 year period, then I would have to reload by selling some of the ETF holdings.
If you can save a lot early on in life, you can build up sources of unearned income, and this income will be exempt from payroll taxes. This is good news for investors and for retirees. Any pre-tax salary deferral contribution made to a retirement account, pension plan, or other pre-tax contribution will lower the amount of federal and state income tax liabilities, however, they do not lower your payroll/FICA tax - the FICA tax has already been taken out of gross wages. 
I’m not sure they’re screwed. They’re playing by the same rules as the rest of us. We can all become a capitalist just like you and I are doing. In fact, that’s really the goal for most of us- get to a position where our capital can support us. If they have a particularly low income, they’re not paying income taxes anyway (see famous 47% comment which as near as I can tell was true of federal income taxes and will continue to be true, although perhaps with a slightly different number, under the proposed House plan.)
A former passive activity is an activity that was a passive activity in any earlier tax year, but isn’t a passive activity in the current tax year. You can deduct a prior year's unallowed loss from the activity up to the amount of your current year net income from the activity. Treat any remaining prior year unallowed loss like you treat any other passive loss.
If you have a capital loss on the disposition of an interest in a passive activity, the loss may be limited. For individuals, your capital loss deduction is limited to the amount of your capital gains plus the lower of $3,000 ($1,500 in the case of a married individual filing a separate return) or the excess of your capital losses over capital gains. See Pub. 544 for more information.
Passive income investments can make an investor's life easier in many ways, particularly when a hands-off approach is preferred. The four options outlined here represent differing levels of diversification and risk. As with any investment, it's important to weigh the anticipated returns associated with a passive income opportunity against the potential for loss.
Some retirees start consulting businesses, do handy-man work, or in some other way become self-employed. Many are caught off guard by the payroll/FICA tax and can get behind on taxes once they become self-employed. If you become self-employed be sure to work with a good tax professional who can help you calculate the right amount of payroll tax to send in, otherwise April 15th will be a very unpleasant time of year for you. 
However, self-publishing is a good option for generating passive income and fits very well with the “work-up-front, reap benefits later” model. It’s a ton of work to write a book, especially when you’re just getting everything like editing, formatting, cover design, and book descriptions all figured out. But, once you do all that work, you can upload it to Amazon and then hopefully keep earning commissions for months or even years.
Most people think about building a site to make money and passive income. But you actually can buy an existing website to make a passive income. I have many friends who don’t like to write and create content for their website, so they just pay people to do that for them. They only care about SEO, and they want it to be well ranked in Google. It’s entirely ok, but if you don’t want to be a website creator and entrepreneur, you can buy a website and manage it like a business.
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.

How to Monetize: Affiliate marketing works well when you discuss products on your blog. For our fish tank blog, we would link to all the things you need to buy for an aquarium and then when people click on that link and buy that item (and other items they purchase with it with some exceptions) you get a percentage of the purchase. Amazon Associates is the best-known affiliate marketing program, but there are others like Impact Radius, ShareASale, Commission Junction, ClickBank and Rakuten too.
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