Payroll taxes are primarily Social Security and Medicare taxes. All earned income is subject to Medicare tax. That’s 2.9% (including the employer portion), plus the extra PPACA tax of 0.9% for a high earner. That’s 3.8%. What do you get for that 3.8% (which may be $20K a year or more for a high earner)? Exactly the same benefits as the guy who paid $1000 in Medicare taxes that year. And the guy who only paid Medicare taxes for 10 years and retired at 28. Doesn’t seem too fair, does it, but that’s the way it works. Social Security tax is a little better in that it goes away after $127,200 per year of earned income, but it is also a much higher tax- 12.4% including the employer portion. Social Security also gives you a little more of a benefit when you pay more into it, but the return on that “investment” is pretty poor beyond the second bend point.
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.
When it comes to taxation, there is the possibility of writing passive income off as a deduction if you record a loss. Keep in mind though that you can still get taxed on passive income. You will also have to make sure you follow the IRS’ requirements for passive income. If they deem that you’re too materially involved with the project, you’ll see a bigger tax bill.
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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.
According to Uncle Sam, you need to be "materially involved" in an enterprise to earn active income. With passive income, it's just the opposite, as the IRS deems you to be earning passive income if you're not materially involved with a profit-making enterprise. By and large, expect income to be taxable if you are engaged in a passive income enterprise. You will need to report earnings to the IRS.
The Lake Tahoe property continues to be 100% managed by a property-management company. It feels amazing not to have to do anything. I can't wait to bring up my boy this coming winter to play in the snow! I could go up this winter, but I want him to be able to walk and run comfortably before he goes. I've been dreaming of this moment for over 10 years now. The income from the property is highly dependent on how much it snows. Summer income is always very strong.
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