That said, from time to time I enjoy writing about some of the “other roads to Dublin.” Fancy investments are interesting and sometimes have different risks and rewards when compared with a basic index fund portfolio. Entrepreneurship has changed my life and that of many other physicians. Early financial independence opens all kinds of other doorways in your life. So in a blog about all things financial for high earners, from time to time I write about these other subjects. Today is one of those days.
Rental properties are defined as passive income with a couple of exceptions. If you’re a real estate professional, any rental income you’re making counts as active income. If you’re "self-renting," meaning that you own a space and are renting it out to a corporation or partnership where you conduct business, that does not constitute passive income unless that lease had been signed before 1988, in which case you’ve been grandfathered into having that income being defined as passive. According to the IRS, "it does not matter whether or not the use is under a lease, a service contract, or some other arrangement."
Dan Caplinger has been a contract writer for the Motley Fool since 2006. As the Fool's Director of Investment Planning, Dan oversees much of the personal-finance and investment-planning content published daily on Fool.com. With a background as an estate-planning attorney and independent financial consultant, Dan's articles are based on more than 20 years of experience from all angles of the financial world. Follow @DanCaplinger
A planning opportunity may be available by converting a primary residence into rental real estate.  For example, Mary purchases a condo in 2010 and in 2013 decides to upgrade into a single family home.  She rents out the condo to earn some money.  Due to recent developments in the area, the condo is now worth much more and she sells it for a gain of $100,000.  Since Mary lived in the home for 2 out of the past 5 years, the entire gain is excluded from income.  The 2 year rule can occur anytime during the 5 year period and does not have to be consecutive.  Keep in mind though that if you do the opposite and convert rental property to a primary residence, the rules are more complex and the gain exclusion tends to be limited.
There are basically three types of income: earned, portfolio, and passive. When it comes to filing your tax return, each of these types of income are taxed differently. Therefore, it is worth understanding the difference between the three to minimize your tax burden. Below are the three types of income, how they are categorized, and the tax implications for each.

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.


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.
Our favorite platform for this is RealtyMogul because you get the flexibility to invest as little as $1,000, but can also participate in REITs and private placements – typically not offered to the public. Investors can fund real estate loans to gain passive income or buy an equity share in a property for potential appreciation. Their platform is open to both accredited and non-accredited investors.
Mike, I don’t consider the income from FS to be passive, as I’m spending time commenting to you right now. But since 75% of my traffic comes from search, the most traffic I would probably lose is 25% for probably a year. And then my search word rankings would probably slowly fade given frequency of posting new content is one of the search algo variables.
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.
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.
I love travel photography. I spend a bunch of time on credit card churning and manufactured spending, which allows me to travel the world for virtually free. When I’m on the road, I take my camera with me to generate an additional form of passive income. Not only that I truly enjoy travel photography. It is a great hobby for me. Is hobby income passive or nonpassive income?
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.
Passive income is earnings derived from a rental property, limited partnership or other enterprise in which a person is not actively involved. As with active income, passive income is usually taxable. However, it is often treated differently by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Portfolio income is considered passive income by some analysts, so dividends and interest would therefore be considered passive.
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.
The challenge I’m facing and, I know it’s a good problem, is that the SF real estate has shot up about 35% in the last couple years. I’m sure you’re experiencing the same thing! So as the net worth is rising, the yield on the total portfolio is going down. Right now, it seems the only way to increase the passive income will be to raise the rent in December and to invest some of that cash in stocks, which I’m nervous to do in this market. Current allocation:
The ideas that follow are not truly “passive income,” in that they require a significant amount of effort. However, I’m defining the term loosely and considering anything where one hour of work does not equal one hour of pay as passive income. The idea is that you put the work in up-front and then reap the benefits down the road. Read on for my top 10 passive income ideas!
I have already come up with 50 ways that a management company can screw you for profit without you ever knowing(or not finding out for awhile). Did you have an inspection before you made an offer on the property? Do you have a picture of the property you bought? How do you know if that picture shows the house you actually own? or if it even hows the ‘current’ state of the house you own?
This one may seem simple, but that’s only because it is. If you were to move your savings from a traditional, brick-and-mortar bank with a low-interest rate and into a high-yield savings account online, over time you can make a surprising amount of extra cash. Online banks are FDIC-insured just like the traditional brick-and-mortar institutions, so your money is just as safe.
There are basically three types of income: earned, portfolio, and passive. When it comes to filing your tax return, each of these types of income are taxed differently. Therefore, it is worth understanding the difference between the three to minimize your tax burden. Below are the three types of income, how they are categorized, and the tax implications for each.
Well written piece, but I question the core premise. Why the fascination with maximizing “income” (passive or otherwise). Shouldn’t the goal simply be to maximize long-term after tax growth of your entire portfolio? If this takes the form of dividend paying stocks, so be it. But what if small caps are poised to outperform? What if you want to take Buffet’s or Bogle’s advice and just buy a broad market index like the S&P 500, (no matter what the dividend because you’ll just have it automatically reinvested to avoid the transaction fees).
You could also make some passive income with medium involvement by investing in dividend stocks. This means you buy stocks that pay out dividends. You’ll have to do your research to find the best dividend stocks. That way, you can ensure that your dividend payouts will last for a while. Similarly, you could simply open a high yield savings account or build a CD ladder. Again, you’ll have to do your research to find the right ones and keep an eye on the accounts to make it a successful source of income.
One of the biggest advantages of passive income is that it works when you aren’t working. The more passive the income, the less work that is involved at all. This appeals to my inherent laziness. But consider a high-powered surgeon. Sure, her hourly rate, while she is operating, is astronomical.  But as soon as she walks out of the OR, that income stream stops until she scrubs in again. Vacation? Not only is there no income stream, but there is likely a negative one due to overhead. When a passive earner is on vacation, that income stream, small as it may be in comparison to the surgeon, keeps right on working. Interest works both ways and as my kids know, interest should be something you get not something you pay. As J. Reuben Clark said nearly a century ago:
Special rules regarding passive activity losses were enacted in 1986 to limit the amount you could reduce your tax liability from passive income. However, you can still reduce your non-passive income up to $25,000 if your income is below $150,000 and you actively participate in passive rental real estate activities. This amount is phased out between $100,000 and $150,000. Other than this exception, you may only claim losses up the amount of income from the activity. Losses that can not be claimed are carried forward until the property is disposed of or there is adequate income to offset the loss. Real property and other types of investments, if they qualify, may also be used in a 1031 exchange to avoid paying taxes on the income from the sell of the property. This only applies if the proceeds from the sell are used to purchase a similar investment.
If you are not a real estate professional but oversee your rental real estate, your revenue qualifies as a different type of passive income and you might be able to claim a portion of any losses against active income. As of the 2018 tax season, you can write off up to $25,000 a year in rental real estate losses if your Adjusted Gross Income is $100,000 or less. If your AGI is over the threshold, the size of the loss you can claim goes down by 50 cents for every dollar of income. At an AGI of $150,000, you no longer can take the passive loss against other income.
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.
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As a matter of background, Finance wanted to address the alleged tax loophole benefit of using a CCPC for retaining income to simply build investment portfolios not used in the business. To illustrate this benefit, let’s assume that Ms. Shareholder owns all the shares of a CCPC. That CCPC employs a large group to manage real estate property and earns $100 of what the tax law perceives as active income. The earnings for the corporation would be subject to a combined federal and Quebec income tax rate of 26.7% (assuming the small business deduction is not applicable in this instance). If in place of the CCPC, the same individual hired employees herself, the $100 of active income she would earn would be subject to a combined federal and Quebec personal top marginal rate of 53.53%. This difference in tax rates provides the corporation with approximately $26.83 of tax deferral than that earned by the individual.
It is very important to understand that contacting a “professional” to learn how to do this only results in them trying to sell me crap properties (whether high end or low end). I’ve tried contacting realtors out of state, and they attempt to sell me crap or someone else’s problem. No one has a vested interest in actually helping someone or teaching them about how to get an out of state rental. very frustrating. I could go out tomorrow and buy a rental in my city, but that is the last place I want to own one. Anyone? Are there an real people on here?
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.

I am an English major and a herbalist with so many ideas and no extra income to fulfill them. I recently started renting my extra apartment in the attic with Airbnb. It’s amazing how fast I accumulated some money for few hours of work between guests. Now I want to persue all my dreams of opening an online herbal store, publishing my ebook of treating Ulcerative Colitis with herbs, blogs, and videos, and pretty much all of the ideas mentioned here. I will save this article as its really helpful for whomever needs some ideas…
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