Are you thinking about adding real estate to your portfolio but do not know where to begin or what the tax implications are?  This article will go through the different types of investments available – direct ownership, REITs and crowdfunding/syndications – and what impact it may have on your tax situation.  Let’s get started – adding real estate to your portfolio is a great way to add diversification and potentially create another income stream in your working years and retirement.

I prefer assets that make me a high return for the lowest amount of work possible (semi-passive involvement). And assets that pay me in several unique ways. Cash flow is only one way RE makes money for me. I also get principal reductions, appreciation, tax advantages (depreciation), and I control the rental increases on a yearly basis. Plus a majority of the capital is provided by the secondary market on 30 year fixed low interest rate debt.
Case Schiller only tracks price appreciation of RE. RE as rental investment vehicle is measured primarily on rental yield or cap rate or some other measure. Price appreciation in that scenario is only a secondary means of growth, and arguably should be ignored as a predictor of returns when deciding on whether or not to invest in rentals. More important key performance indicators for rentals are net operating income and cash ROI. Appreciation, if it occurs, is a bonus.
Those who don't meet this test can qualify for a limited $25,000 allowance for losses if they qualify as an active participant. Active participation requires only limited activities, such as approving new tenants, setting rental terms, and approving payouts. If you qualify, you can then take up to that limited amount of loss each year, carrying over any excess losses until you generate rental income to offset it.
Investing in coins and collectibles: Buffalo nickels and Spiderman comic books are good examples of coins and collectibles that can rise in value, and thus offer opportunity for passive income investors. You'll need to get up to speed on the value of any coin or collectible under consideration, but once you do so, you're on the way to price appreciation on a commodity you'll be paying a lower price to buy, and will garner a higher price when you sell.

I truly believe generating $10,000 a year online can be done by anybody who is willing to dedicate at least two years to their online endeavors. Here is a snapshot of what a real blogger makes through his website and because of his website. Roughly $150,000 a year is semi-passive income followed by another $186,000 a year in active income found through his site. Check out my guide on how to start your own blog here.


Another benefit of investing in rental properties is the loan pay down. If you obtain a loan to buy the property, each month your tenants are paying off part of the loan. Once the mortgage on the property has been paid off, your cash flow will increase dramatically, allowing your mediocre investment to skyrocket into a full-fledged retirement program.
Month 6: Check your account. Use that $5000 to buy VT or BND, making sure that the 70-30% ratio stays the same. This will force you to buy low. The theory is that stocks and bonds generally have an inverse relationship. If stocks have gone down over the past six months, bonds likely have gone up. This means that you’ll have to buy more stocks than bonds in order to keep the 70-30% ratio, which is good because stocks are probably “cheap,” while bonds are “expensive.”
There was a time when CDs would produce a respectable 4%+ yield. Nowadays, you’ll be lucky to find a 5-7 year CD that provides anything above 2.5% The great thing about CDs is that there are no income or net worth minimums to invest, unlike many alternative investments, which require investors to be accredited. Anybody can go to their local bank and open up a CD of their desired duration. Furthermore, a CD is FDIC insured for up to $250,000 per individual, and $500,000 per joint account.
Under the new rules, the active income a business is allowed to claim at the small business amount is tied to the business’ passive income. Businesses with less than $50,000 in annual passive income can claim the full $500,000 at the 9% small business rate. The amount eligible for the small business rate shrinks by $5 for every $1 over $50,000 that a business makes in passive income, until it eventually reaches zero.
The current laws don’t really distinguish between active and passive income. Since passive income is already taxed at a lower rate, companies can use dividends as a way to gain a tax advantage by paying dividends out of active (and lower-taxed) income rather than passive income. Business owners will now have to prove they’re paying dividends out of investment income, which will make it more difficult to game the system by getting a double deduction on lower-taxed dividends. Some business owners use dividends as a method of retirement savings. If your small business clients get their household income from dividends, talk to them about alternative strategies, such as setting up payroll and switching to a salary. While salaries are taxed at a higher rate, they’re also helpful for retirement savings as they involuntarily trigger Canada Pension Plan contributions.
If you make the choice, it is binding for the tax year you make it and for any later year that you are a real estate professional. This is true even if you aren’t a real estate professional in any intervening year. (For that year, the exception for real estate professionals won’t apply in determining whether your activity is subject to the passive activity rules.)
Passive income, in a nutshell, is money that flows in on a regular basis without requiring a substantial amount of effort to create it. The idea is that you make an upfront investment time and/or money but once the ball is rolling, there's minimal maintenance required going forward. That being said, not all passive income opportunities are created equally. For investors, building a solid portfolio means knowing which passive investing strategies to pursue.

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There are a couple of problems with direct investment in real estate though. It’s expensive to buy even a single property, a minimum of tens of thousands of dollars, and there’s no way most investors can build a portfolio of different property types and in different regions to protect from those risks when you have all your money in just one or two investments.
All ideas take some amount of time and money to come to fruition. Some people have a lot of one of these, but not much of the other. A lot of successful ideas have started when one person had the resources that another did not. And many businesses have been started using 0% loans from credit cards to fund their concept and keep the business going until it achieved success.
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Let’s say a company earns $1 a share and pays out 75 cents in the form of a dividend. That’s a 75% dividend payout ratio. Let’s say the next year the company earns $2 a share and pays out $1 in the form of dividends. Although the dividend payout ratio declines to 50%, due the company wanting to spend more CAPEX on expansion, at least the absolute dividend amount increases.


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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. 
Rentals, just like stocks, throw off cash. With rentals we call that cash “rent”, and with stocks we call it dividends. A significant difference however is that the S&P 500 has appreciated at ~6% per year (above inflation) for the last 100 years…..Real Estate has had almost 0 growth above inflation. So are rents higher than dividends? Maybe, maybe not. But unless you got one heck of a deal, the delta in rent over dividends will have a very tough time making up for the 6% per year difference in appreciation.
In identifying the items of deduction and loss from an activity that aren’t disallowed under the basis and at-risk limitations (and that therefore may be treated as passive activity deductions), you needn’t account separately for any item of deduction or loss unless such item may, if separately taken into account, result in an income tax liability different from that which would result were such item of deduction or loss taken into account separately.
In general, the purpose of the passive activity rules is to prevent taxpayers from improperly claiming immediate tax losses on investments. Instead, the IRS wants to limit loss deductions to those businesses where taxpayers were integrally involved with the operation or management of the business. In conjunction with other rules that limit losses to the amount of money that an investor puts at risk, the end result of the passive activity rules is to encourage taxpayers to engage in profitable passive activities in order to wipe out any passive activity losses they might incur.
Dividends made sense 40 years ago as a relatively simple rule of thumb, but after all the work done by John Bogle with index investing, and academics with Monte Carlo sims and the 4% rule, dividend investing just isn’t the simplest, cleanest way to invest or receive passive income anymore. It’s actually significantly more risky compared to index investing, because dividend companies are a much smaller share of the total global economy compared to the broader indices.

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Interest never sleeps nor sickens nor dies; it never goes to the hospital; it works on Sundays and holidays; it never takes a vacation; it never visits nor travels; it takes no pleasure; it is never laid off work nor discharged from employment; it never works on reduced hours; it never has short crops nor droughts; it never pays taxes; it buys no food; it wears no clothes; it is unhoused and without home and so has no repairs, no replacements, no shingling, plumbing, painting, or whitewashing; it has neither wife, children, father, mother, nor kinfolk to watch over and care for; it has no expense of living; it has neither weddings nor births nor deaths; it has no love, no sympathy; it is as hard and soulless as a granite cliff. Once in debt, interest is your companion every minute of the day and night; you cannot shun it or slip away from it; you cannot dismiss it; it yields neither to entreaties, demands, or orders; and whenever you get in its way or cross its course or fail to meet its demands, it crushes you.
Case Schiller only tracks price appreciation of RE. RE as rental investment vehicle is measured primarily on rental yield or cap rate or some other measure. Price appreciation in that scenario is only a secondary means of growth, and arguably should be ignored as a predictor of returns when deciding on whether or not to invest in rentals. More important key performance indicators for rentals are net operating income and cash ROI. Appreciation, if it occurs, is a bonus.

Crowdfunding is a newer way to invest, having emerged onto the scene just within the last few years. Most people have heard of sites like Kickstarter and GoFundMe, and a very similar concept exists for real estate. Developers are always looking to raise capital to fund their projects. Through the various online platforms, investors have access to these projects and can choose to invest in both residential and commercial properties. See the List of My Favorite Crowdfunding Sites.


Within six months of selling, however, I had reinvested the proceeds from the home sale and brought total passive income for 2018 back up to an estimated $203,724. I'm not sure I would have sold the house without a clear plan for reinvesting the proceeds, since I'm bullish on the SF housing market long term. However, because I did have a plan, and the challenges of raising a newborn and dealing with rowdy tenants left me feeling a bit stretched, I decided to simplify and sell.
I had to get out. I actually had this random Facebook ad come up in my news feed (go figure) and it eventually led me to a webinar that taught on how to start an email marketing business (which is, by the way, the most profitable form of affiliate marketing – or ANY marketing for that matter). I listened through the whole 2 hours, completely mesmerized. By the end of it, I knew what I was going to be focusing on to help my family out of the pit of debt we were in and into a world free of financial stress. I didn’t know if it would actually work, but eventually it lead to EXCESS income!
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