Investors turn to real estate as a way to build long-term wealth, earn additional income, and generate a tax shelter. Using real estate as a tax shelter that extends to other income can be a complicated process. Knowing how you can use any losses generated by your rental real estate starts with understanding how the IRS defines and treats passive and active income.
If you own residential or commercial property and earn income by renting it out, then you must pay taxes on your earnings just as you do any wages or salaries that you earn. What you must pay in taxes depends upon what type of investor you are classified as by the Internal Revenue Service. How your rental property taxes are discerned by the IRS depends upon if the IRS views you as an active investor or a passive investor.
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.
There are three main categories of income: active income, passive income and portfolio income. Passive income has been a relatively loosely used term in recent years. Colloquially, it’s been used to define money being earned regularly with little or no effort on the part of the person receiving it. Popular types of passive income include real estate, peer-to-peer (P2P) lending and dividend stocks. Proponents of earning passive income tend to be boosters of a work-from-home and be-your-own-boss professional lifestyle. The type of earnings people usually associate with this are gains on stocks, interest, retirement pay, lottery winnings, online work and capital gains. 

A Risk Score of 10 means no risk. A Return Score of 1 means the returns are horrible compared to the risk-free rate. A Feasibility score of 10 means everybody can do it. A Liquidity Score of 1 means it’s very difficult to withdraw your money without a massive penalty. An Activity Score of 10 means you can kick back and do nothing to earn income. To make the ranking as realistic as possible, every score is relative to each other. Furthermore, the return criteria is based off trying to generate $10,000 a year in passive income.

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.
Next, make sure to know the difference between “Top Grossing” and “Top Paid”. They are both very different rankings. “Top Grossing” is what you use to study what is making the most money. “Top Paid” is more so for trending. More downloads doesn’t necessarily mean more revenue. Personally, I study both. However, “Top Grossing” is better at giving you an idea of revenue potential.
I wanted to specifically call out one particular strategy within equity investing that bears mentioning – dividend growth investing is when you focus on stocks that not only pay a dividend but have a history of strong dividend growth. When I was first building my portfolio of individual stocks, I focused on buying companies with a history of dividends, a history of strong growth, and financials that supported a continuation of both.

Generally, rental activities are passive activities even if you materially participated in them. However, if you qualified as a real estate professional, rental real estate activities in which you materially participated aren’t passive activities. For this purpose, each interest you have in a rental real estate activity is a separate activity, unless you choose to treat all interests in rental real estate activities as one activity. See the Instructions for Schedule E (Form 1040), Supplemental Income and Loss, for information about making this choice.

For 2017, passive income that is taxed as ordinary income will be taxed in the 2017 tax brackets, and so the income tax rates range from 10 to 39.6 percent depending on your annual income. Long-term capital gains and qualified dividends are taxed at zero, 15 and 20 percent for 2017, but the brackets are different. So you can earn up to $37,950 in the 2017 tax year without paying taxes on these gains; if you earn between $37,950 and $418,400, the gains are taxed at 15 percent; and if you earn more than $418,400, your gains are taxed at 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.
When a taxpayer records a loss on a passive activity, only passive activity profits can have their deductions offset instead of the income as a whole. It would be considered prudent for a person to ensure all the passive activities were classified that way so they can make the most of the tax deduction. These deductions are allocated for the next tax year and are applied in a reasonable manner that takes into account the next year's earnings or losses.
As a result of this tax rate differential, the owner of a CCPC is almost always better off retaining corporate earnings and investing within their corporation. While a similar amount of combined corporate and personal tax is ultimately paid by business owners when monies are withdrawn through dividends, taxes can be deferred until such time as the money is required personally. This effectively allows business owners to temporarily obtain the benefit of investing a larger amount of money than would otherwise be available if they earned the money personally or immediately withdrew profits from their corporation.
Peer-to-Peer Lending: Earn up to 10% in returns by lending individuals, organizations and small companies who don't qualify for traditional financing through peer-to-peer lending platforms like Lending Club. You can lend $100, $1,000, or more to borrowers who meet lending platform financial standards. Like a bank, you'll earn interest on the loan - often at higher returns than banks usually get.
Hello from the UK! Fundrise and Wealthfront are only available to US residents it seems :(. Any other readers from the UK here? The only thing I have managed to do from Sam’s list is getting a fixed rate bond (CBS is having a 5-year fixed rate at 2.01% – not great but the best I could find ). Don’t know if the FIRE movement will ever take off here but would love to trade tips/ideas on how to reach FI and have the freedom to consider alternative rythms to living.
If you are a photographer looking to diversify your income stream, putting together styled stock photo packages can be lucrative. For example, a package of 15 wedding-themed stock photos for $10. You can then market this to any bloggers or businesses who are in the wedding business for their use (photos of different engagement rings styles are super popular). Through this method, it’s possible to make a continuous stream of income off of photos you’ve taken once (similar to a licensing deal).
This is certainly not in my wheelhouse, but time and again people have been able to make a lot of money from creating and selling an app.  You can offer the app for free to users, and if enough people use it you can then charge for businesses to advertise (just like #5) with you.  You can also offer a version of the app that has no advertisements, but the user must pay a nominal fee to have this version.  Either way once you have created the app and it is in the marketplace, it has a ton of potential to generate passive income.  Depending on the app, you could also be bought out by a larger company and given a lump sum to walk away.  This happened to Garret & Jessica Gee.  Garret developed an app that was eventually sold to Snapchat for $54 Million!
Active participation depends on all the facts and circumstances. Factors that indicate active participation include making decisions involving the operation or management of the activity, performing services for the activity, and hiring and discharging employees. Factors that indicate a lack of active participation include lack of control in managing and operating the activity, having authority only to discharge the manager of the activity, and having a manager of the activity who is an independent contractor rather than an employee.
You are also free to choose a fund that is based on any index that you want. For example, there are index funds set up for just about every market sector there is — energy, precious metals, banking, emerging markets — you name it. All you have to do is decide that you want to participate, then contribute money and sit back and relax. Your stock portfolio will then be on automatic pilot.
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.
If your passive activity gross income from significant participation passive activities (defined later) for the tax year is more than your passive activity deductions from those activities for the tax year, those activities shall be treated, solely for purposes of figuring your loss from the activity, as a single activity that doesn’t have a loss for such taxable year. See Significant Participation Passive Activities , later.
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.
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!
But, if you’re serious about making money online and generating some passive income for yourself, keep reading for some ideas on how to do that. It is possible, but it does take some serious effort and knowledge. The good news is that starting is the most important thing and you can learn all you need to as you stumble along. I started from ground zero 1.5 years ago and now I earn around $1000/month in passive income.
Next, you can sell things you already have and make. For example, if you’re a teacher and have some great lesson plans, Teachers Pay Teachers allows you to put up and sell your lesson plans. You need the plan for your class anyways, why not sell it? The same goes for photos you’ve taken. You don’t need to be a professional photographer, and you can sell your photos on sites like iStock.
If your passive activity gross income from significant participation passive activities (defined later) for the tax year is more than your passive activity deductions from those activities for the tax year, those activities shall be treated, solely for purposes of figuring your loss from the activity, as a single activity that doesn’t have a loss for such taxable year. See Significant Participation Passive Activities , later.

​I’ve been into home décor lately and I had to turn to Etsy to find exactly what I wanted. I ended up purchasing digital files of the artwork I wanted printed out! The seller had made a bunch of wall art, digitized, and listed it on Etsy for instant download. There are other popular digital files on Etsy as well such as monthly planners. If you’re into graphic design this could be an amazing passive income idea for you.


Have you developed a particular brand or system that others can benefit from?  The options here vary quite a bit.  For example the rock band Def Leppard is able to license their brand because of their massive success.  Or look at a college sports franchise like the UW Badgers, who have created an amazing brand around a great sports team (Go Badgers!), everything from t-shirts to coffee mugs.  All of these are potential sources of passive income, if you are the one that has created the brand or process of course!
The same analysis would apply to a situation where a CCPC carrying on a real estate property realizes a capital gain upon the sale of one of its rental properties. The RDTOH generated from the capital gain, would now be refunded to the corporation only upon the payment of a dividend that is not an Eligible Dividend sourced from the passive income. As a result, the additional 4% personal income tax cannot be postponed at the individual level while having at the same time the corporation benefit from the RDTOH refund.
My goal is to generate enough passive income (ultimately; for the next few years, I’m definitely working for it both with a day job and property managing my investments) to do what I want, when I want, how I want, and where I want. We all define that “what, when, how, and where” differently, and to each of us, financial freedom means something different.
When I did her recent tax return she had $45,000 in passive losses from the rentals and $35,000 in income from her S-Corporation. I called her and found out how many hours she had only worked for three months in her S-Corp, which was less than 500/750 hours per year.  I changed the nature of the income from the S-Corporation to passive, thereby eating up the passive losses from the rental. 
I live in NYC where I never thought buying rental property would be possible, but am looking into buying rental property in the Midwest where it cash flows and have someone manage it for me (turnkey real estate investing I guess some would call it). I agree with what Mike said about leverage and tax advantages, but I’m still a newbie to real estate investing so I can’t so how it will go. I have a very small amount in P2P…I’m at around 6.3% It’s okay but I don’t know how liquid it is and it still is relatively new…I’d prefer investing in the stock market.

Deductions or losses from passive activities are limited. You generally can’t offset income, other than passive income, with losses from passive activities. Nor can you offset taxes on income, other than passive income, with credits resulting from passive activities. Any excess loss or credit is carried forward to the next tax year. Exceptions to the rules for figuring passive activity limits for personal use of a dwelling unit and for rental real estate with active participation are discussed later.

Hello, I have just started my own blog this week. I too have read a lot of Rich Dad Poor Dad’s books and the 4 Hour Work Week and am hoping to be on the same path as you. I love your blog! Everything looks great. I am still learning— so much to figure out! My blog is bettybordeauxdoesitall.com. I have to be anonymous because of my job. Thanks for the inspiration and best you!

I wanted to specifically call out one particular strategy within equity investing that bears mentioning – dividend growth investing is when you focus on stocks that not only pay a dividend but have a history of strong dividend growth. When I was first building my portfolio of individual stocks, I focused on buying companies with a history of dividends, a history of strong growth, and financials that supported a continuation of both.
The biggest surprise is real estate being second to last on my Passive Income Ranking List because I’ve written that real estate is my favorite investment class to build wealth. Physical real estate doesn’t stack up well against the other passive income sources due to the lack of liquidity and constant maintenance of tenants and property. The returns can be huge due to rising rental income AND principal over time, much like dividend investing. If you are a “proactive passive income earner” like myself, then real estate is great.

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 >


If the total is more than 500, don’t complete Worksheet A or B. None of the activities are passive activities because you satisfy test 4 for material participation. (See Material participation tests , earlier.) Report all the income and losses from these activities on the forms and schedules you normally use. Don’t include the income and losses on Form 8582.

Build a list in a particular niche and tell them stories. Create a bond. Build a relationship with them. It's important. Then, when you've created a bit of culture, start marketing affiliate products or services to them that you think they might like. Just be sure that you personally vet out whatever it is that you're selling to avoid complaints if the product or service falls short.
The average period of customer use of the property, as figured in (1) above, is 30 days or less and you provide significant personal services with the rentals. Significant personal services include only services performed by individuals. To determine if personal services are significant, all relevant facts and circumstances are taken into consideration, including the frequency of the services, the type and amount of labor required to perform the services, and the value of the services relative to the amount charged for use of the property. Significant personal services don’t include the following.
You can find dividend stocks using Google Finance Stock Screener which is free to use. Set the search criteria for the P/E Ratio, and Dividend yield (shown as a percentage) criteria. You can set minimum and maximum values; in the dividend yield box, set it between 2 and 100. This will search for stocks that pay dividends worth between 2-100% of the current stock price.
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