If you’re a retired or disabled farmer, you’re treated as materially participating in a farming activity if you materially participated for 5 or more of the 8 years before your retirement or disability. Similarly, if you’re a surviving spouse of a farmer, you’re treated as materially participating in a farming activity if the real property used in the activity meets the estate tax rules for special valuation of farm property passed from a qualifying decedent, and you actively manage the farm.

The Tax Court had to decide whether the Hardy’s properly reported Dr. Hardy's income from MBJ as passive, and if so, whether they could deduct a passive activity loss carryover from previous years. It also had to determine whether the Hardy’s overpaid their self-employment tax. Finally, it had to decide if they were liable for the accuracy-related penalties.
Good suggestions. I have many of these. One word about the “app” idea. I had a great idea related to personal taxes that I tried to get off the ground with my accountant as a partner. I would say it’s difficult to do this unless you have a coder on your team. Hiring someone is not really viable financially unless the app is simple. When we finally got the quote for a coder to write what we wanted (and after doing lots of mock ups ourselves and getting a demo for investors) the estimate was about 750k just to really get started.
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.
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.

We pitched to an angel investor group. They were very excited about the idea but wanted to know who amongst us (doctor, accountant, salesman) was doing the coding. When they heard we were outsourcing it, the wind went out of their sails immediately. They did want to meet with us again once we brought a coder on board but that person proved elusive to find. Coders in our area are looking for the steady paycheck, not willing to gamble on a startup.


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.
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!
In most cases, any loss from an activity subject to the at-risk rules is allowed only to the extent of the total amount you have at risk in the activity at the end of the tax year. You are considered at risk in an activity to the extent of cash and the adjusted basis of other property you contributed to the activity and certain amounts borrowed for use in the activity. Any loss that is disallowed because of the at-risk limits is treated as a deduction from the same activity in the next tax year. See Pub. 925 for a discussion of the at-risk rules.
Great argument for passive income but want more meat on the bone on “passive income” information. We all feel screwed by the progressive tax system. Most of us probably think our dividends and cap gains are passive. True, but the real wealth, sans ceiling, resides within more risky ventures like entrepreneurship and real estate. While appealing, I’m too busy for all that at the level I need to be for success. It took me 2 years (starting with your blog) of reading financial books and blogs before I was ready to DIY invest. Several years, 2 kids and a slamming practice later, I just don’t have the time to read up on other passive avenues. Plus, I’m pretty content with my dividend and cap gains (while they last) and would rather see patients than take a call about a rental house. Maybe when the kids grow up a bit and I scale my practice back, your ideas will fall in more fertile soil. Until then, I look forward to future posts and comments.
Another form of passive income can come from investing in private equity opportunities in businesses that are growing.  There are certain limitations on who can invest, but can be a great way to generate passive income from profits in a business that you have very little if any active role in.  If you invest in and now own part of the business, and it is successful, you would then be entitled to regular profits from the business, and potentially even a great return on your original investment.  You can do this by either purchasing some of the business with your money, or lending your money at a certain interest rate to the business.
The Tax Court had to decide whether the Hardy’s properly reported Dr. Hardy's income from MBJ as passive, and if so, whether they could deduct a passive activity loss carryover from previous years. It also had to determine whether the Hardy’s overpaid their self-employment tax. Finally, it had to decide if they were liable for the accuracy-related penalties.
If you or your spouse actively participated in a passive rental real estate activity, you may be able to 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 losses in excess of income from passive activities. Similarly, you may be able to 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.
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If you or your spouse actively participated in a passive rental real estate activity, you may be able to 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 losses in excess of income from passive activities. Similarly, you may be able to 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.

If you love design and you are an artistic person, selling digital products on Etsy could be a great way to earn passive income. Digital products require little maintenance, your customers will simply receive a link to download them (which means you don’t have to worry about shipping and returns handling). All you need to do is spend time upfront to create beautiful artwork! (Easy right?)


If you have specialized knowledge in a certain topic, you can put together an online course to teach others. For example, if you have experience in real estate investing, you can create an online course “Real Estate Investing 101”. The benefit of an online course is that once you create the course material, you can sell it to as many people as you want.
1. The batting cage idea is very risky. I’ve seen many of them close over the years and it is not anything close to passive income if you want to keep the business going. You have to continually promote it and target youth leagues, coaches, schools etc to catch all of the new players who grow up and want to play. I’ve played at probably 8 batting cages over the years and 7 of them closed.
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