Craig W. Smalley, MST, EA, has been in practice since 1994. He has been admitted to practice before the IRS as an enrolled agent and has a master's in taxation. He is well-versed in US tax law and US Tax Court cases. He specializes in taxation, entity structuring and restructuring, corporations, partnerships, and individual taxation, as well as representation before the IRS regarding negotiations, audits, and appeals. In his many years of practice, he has been exposed to a variety of businesses and has an excellent knowledge of most industries. He is the CEO and co-founder of CWSEAPA PLLC and Tax Crisis Center LLC; both business have locations in Florida, Delaware, and Nevada. Craig is the current Google small business accounting advisor for the Google Small Business Community. He is a contributor to AccountingWEB and Accounting Today, and has had 12 books published on various topics in taxation. His articles have also been featured in the Chicago Tribune, New York Times, Yahoo Finance, Nasdaq, and several other newspapers, periodicals, and magazines. He has been interviewed and been a featured guest on many radio shows and podcasts. Finally, he is the co-host of Tax Avoidance is Legal, which is a nationally broadcast weekly Internet radio show.

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.

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The IRS issued a notice of deficiency for tax years 2008 through 2010. They disallowed the passive activity loss and tacked on a Section 6662(a) accuracy-related penalty. Hardy appealed for redetermination in a timely manner. He challenged the IRS's determination that he could not claim passive activity loss deductions against the income from MBJ and the accuracy-related penalties.
It all comes down to your goals. There is nothing wrong with flipping, wholesaling or landlording, as long as you are understanding of the fact, and okay with the fact, that you are working for your money. I personally have no desire to work in those capacities, so I stick with passive income investments. I did, however, start a business in order to fund those investments. I started a business in lieu of using flipping or wholesaling to earn capital. You can do whatever you want, but at least be clear on what it is you are actually doing, i.e. working for your money versus investing your money.
Great breakout of some common items that are (mostly) accessible to individuals. My biggest issue with p2p is the ordinary interest it generates and the ordinary tax that we have to pay. That really takes a bite out of the returns. Fortunately, I opened an IRA with one of the providers to juice the return with zero additional risk. 6-8% nominal returns over a long period of time will make me very happy. It should end up as 5-7% of the portfolio anyway, so nothing too significant.
Keep in mind, many questions can be answered on IRS.gov without visiting an IRS Tax Assistance Center (TAC). Go to IRS.gov/LetUsHelp for the topics people ask about most. If you still need help, IRS TACs provide tax help when a tax issue can’t be handled online or by phone. All TACs now provide service by appointment so you’ll know in advance that you can get the service you need without long wait times. Before you visit, go to IRS.gov/TACLocator to find the nearest TAC, check hours, available services, and appointment options. Or, on the IRS2Go app, under the Stay Connected tab, choose the Contact Us option and click on “Local Offices.”

​Self Publishing is mainstream today. When you purchase an eBook off of Amazon there’s a pretty good chance you’re buying a self-published book. Self-publishing is also ridiculously easy. I tried this a few years ago and couldn’t believe how simple the process was. To self-publish a book you’ll first need to write and edit it, create a cover, and then upload to a program such as Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing. Don’t expect instant success though. There will need to be a lot of upfront marketing before you can turn this into a passive income stream.


Passive income is the concept of developing an income stream that can last into perpetuity with limited ongoing work. Passive income does not come without hard work. Do not let the word ‘passive’ fool you because it takes significant work. However, if you do it right upfront you will reap significant benefits over the long-term. Track your passive income with Personal Capital.
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.
Once you start to see some success, don’t be led astray by the money. While Flynn does use affiliate marketing to make money, he only ever recommends products that he has personally used and likes. He is inundated by offers to earn $50 per sale through commission on products he has never even tried. “I’m like, ‘I don’t even know you, I don’t know what this product can do, and I don’t know if this product will help my audience.’ I only use products I’ve used before, because that trust you have with your audience is the most important thing in the world.” He says if you do recommend a product for the incredible commission but your audience has a bad experience with it, your credibility will be shot.
The PPACA Medicare tax is a dangerous tax IMHO. It is an entirely new kind of tax. It is small and in jeopardy of going away but I predict it won’t. If it goes away it won’t be for long and it will grow over time – like most taxes. 3.8% is a starting point. This one has the added political appeal of “taxing the rich” and “unearned income” that makes it more palatable to the electorate.
The much loved model for bloggers and content creators everywhere and for a good reason…it’s pretty easy to write a 60-80 page ebook, not hard to sell say $500 worth a month through online networking, guest posting and your own SEO optimized blog, and well you get to keep a large whack of the pie after paying affiliates.  Hells yeah!  Continue reading >
According to NOLO, “the home office deduction is available only if you are running a bona fide business.” That means any work dedicated to your passive income property from the confines of your own home can’t be a hobby. “If the IRS decides that you are indulging a hobby rather than trying to earn a profit, it won’t let you take the home office deduction.”
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.
Real estate investments generally are considered passive income – unlike income from a job, which is considered active – because revenue is generated from the money you invested rather than from the work that you do. You have to pay taxes on your income regardless of whether it's active or passive. Money earned from real estate investing is reported on the Schedule E form and gets carried forward to line 17 of your 1040 tax return. It's then included with your other income and is subject to regular taxes.
Open up the app store and click on your competing app. Sort by “Most Critical”. See what customers have to say. Here’s an example. The top 2 complaints are about syncing issues and ipad compatibility. Those would be the first items you would consider when creating your version. Don’t fall in the trap of copying another app. Also it’s not about copying anything or anyone. Don’t get this mixed up. It’s rare that anyone invents something that is completely revolutionary. It’s usually taking an existing idea and improving it. Our example is taking a meal planning and grocery shopping and porting it to a convenient app. There is already a version on the web and the developer released it on a different platform. The mobile platform.

Overall, generating passive income mostly provides benefits. First and foremost, you’re able to make money without using too much of your time. Of course the time you actually spend will depend on your passive income venture, as will the amount of money you put into it. The key is to find the right balance for your existing lifestyle so that you turn a profit without too much spent.


Active Income Investments: Flipping and wholesaling. You have to do work in order to see money from these. You have to be hands-on. Note: I do still stand by my argument that wholesaling is not actually an investment at all, but for the sake of so many people thinking it is, I am including it. Another note: It is possible, if you are really slick and good, that you could be decently hands-off for a flip. But that is long down the road of being an advanced flipper so for now, I’m leaving it here.
When you invest in a dividend-paying stock, you are buying a share of the company and you literally become part-owner of that business. As the company grows and generates extra cash that it doesn’t necessarily want to re-invest, it might decide to return some of the extra cash to the shareholders in the form of dividends. And because you own a fraction of the company, you will receive a portion of the cash!
Investing in real estate: Investing in real estate offers more passive income cash potential - but more risk - than investing in stocks or bonds. You'll need substantial amounts of cash to invest in buying a home -- it usually takes 20% down to land a good home mortgage loan. But history shows that home prices usually rise over time, so buying home a for $200,000 and selling it for $250,000 over a five-year time period, for example, is a reasonable expectation when investing in real estate.
In addition, any prior year unallowed passive activity credits from a former passive activity offset the allocable part of your current year tax liability. The allocable part of your current year tax liability is that part of this year's tax liability that‘s allocable to the current year net income from the former passive activity. You figure this after you reduce your net income from the activity by any prior year unallowed loss from that activity (but not below zero).

Chase Freedom Unlimited lets you earn a $150 bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening. You earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase. There is also a 0% intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers, then a variable APR of 16.99-25.74%. The balance transfer fee is 3% of the amount transferred, $5 minimum. The cash back rewards will not expire as long as your card account remains open. There is no annual fee.
If you are too risk-averse to engage in stock trading, there’s a much safer option to earn passive income, albeit with much lower margins of return: certificates of deposit or fixed deposits issued by banks. These financial vehicles are similar to mini investments. CDs work very similar to savings accounts with one notable difference. Once you place a deposit, it cannot be withdrawn until the certificate matures. You can obtain these certificates for lump sums of cash that you can allow to mature within time periods like 2 years or 5 years. The advantage of CDs is that they offer higher interest rates than regular savings accounts. You can rest assured that the money will be safe in the bank. A CD earns interest quarterly or annually and all you have to do is just sit back and wait for it to mature.
If you are too risk-averse to engage in stock trading, there’s a much safer option to earn passive income, albeit with much lower margins of return: certificates of deposit or fixed deposits issued by banks. These financial vehicles are similar to mini investments. CDs work very similar to savings accounts with one notable difference. Once you place a deposit, it cannot be withdrawn until the certificate matures. You can obtain these certificates for lump sums of cash that you can allow to mature within time periods like 2 years or 5 years. The advantage of CDs is that they offer higher interest rates than regular savings accounts. You can rest assured that the money will be safe in the bank. A CD earns interest quarterly or annually and all you have to do is just sit back and wait for it to mature.
Since David may never be coming back to this site, If anyone other than David can point me in the right direction, Id greatly appreciate it. I live in Chicago, and I need to buy a quality rental to hold long term somewhere but I have no idea where, and I really don’t want to buy in Chicago. Chicago is insanely corrupt and in HUGE debt. I cant leave Chicago in the near term, I take care of an aging parent, and if I left, my salary would drop by 50%. Id still like to diversify into a rental property.. but I feel that if I just call up a stranger, they’d attempt to sell me their best pig with lipstick, and pressure me to jump on the deal before someone else ‘stole’ it. I have no problem hiring a property inspector from a different city, but don’t want to waste hundreds of dollars if the agent is steering us towards crap property after crap property. I’m looking for broad advice. Any constructive reply appreciated. Thanks guys.
REITs provide an easy way to get real estate exposure in your portfolio but it is crucial that you avoid asset class overlap.  Since many stock and index funds include REIT companies, having a separate allocation to REITs in a portfolio may create double counting.  Certain fund managers strip out REIT companies from their equity investments to avoid this issue.  One example is Dimensional Fund Advisors.  For those who want real estate exposure without the hassle of being a landlord, purchasing REITs may be the way to go.
Good ranking FS, I’d have to agree with the rankings. And it looks like your portfolio covers five of the six! Some people consider real estate passive will others classify it as active. But every scenario is different, whether you are doing all the maintenance and managing yourself, or you are contracting out a lot of the work. Obviously it takes a lot more time and effort than purchasing a 36 month CD and “setting it and forgetting it.”
Social Security retirement benefits may or may not be taxable depending on your annual income. If your annual income is more than $34,000 as a single taxpayer or $44,000 as a joint filer, up to 85 percent of your Social Security may be included in your ordinary income and taxed at your normal income tax rate. If your income is under $25,000 as a single taxpayer or $32,000 as a joint filer, you don't pay tax on Social Security benefits. If your income is between $25,000 and $34,000 as a single filer or $32,000 and $44,000 as a joint filer, up to 50 percent of your benefits are taxable.
If you qualified as a real estate professional for 2017, report income or losses from rental real estate activities in which you materially participated as nonpassive income or losses, and complete line 43 of Schedule E (Form 1040). If you also have an unallowed loss from these activities from an earlier year when you didn’t qualify, see Treatment of former passive activities under Passive Activities, earlier.
“There is no such thing as 100% passive income,” says Flynn. “Even with real estate you still have to manage your properties, or even with the stock market, which is potentially passive income, you still have to manage your portfolio. With online business, there is no such thing as 100% passive income — and this is coming from a guy with a blog called SmartPassiveIncome.com. The definition of passive income is ‘building these businesses of automation,’ but in order to keep them automated and keep that trust going with your audience on top of that, you do have to keep it up every once in a while — so a lot of time upfront and a little time after. But there is alway time involved.”
Index funds provide you with a way to invest in the stock market that is completely passive. For example, if you invest money in an index fund that is based on the S&P 500 Index, you will be invested in the general market, without having to concern yourself with choosing investments, rebalancing your portfolio, or knowing when to sell or buy individual companies. All that will be handled by the fund which will base the fund portfolio on the makeup of the underlying index.
However, self-publishing is a good option for generating passive income and fits very well with the “work-up-front, reap benefits later” model. It’s a ton of work to write a book, especially when you’re just getting everything like editing, formatting, cover design, and book descriptions all figured out. But, once you do all that work, you can upload it to Amazon and then hopefully keep earning commissions for months or even years.
Being able to generate passive income largely depends on your audience, and if they detect that you care more about making money than serving them, you won’t succeed. “Whenever I’ve seen people do something just for the money, they’ve failed because their intentions aren’t driving them in the right direction. It should always be about helping people and about the passion of making others feel better. The byproduct of doing that is generating money,” says Flynn.
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.
Thanks for asking. https://passiveincomemd.com/what-is-passive-income/ gives a good summary of the definition I use. But in brief, it’s income that isn’t proportional to the time you physically put into acquiring it. It doesn’t mean it’s not without work or effort. It’s just that most of the work is done up front and it continues to pay off long after that initial effort. Real estate fits into that box. There’s definitely a spectrum but compared to what we do as doctors, where our compensation is directly linked to our time, most of these things are quite passive.
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As a private lender, you can lend to anyone in your social circle. For example, many home rehabbers need access to a source of capital they can tap into very quickly in order to fund the initial purchase of their properties. You can partner with a rehabber who uses your capital for a short-term in exchange for an interest rate that is mutually agreed upon.

Real estate crowdsourcing allows you to surgically invest as little as $5,000 into a residential or commercial real estate project for potentially 8 – 15% annual returns based off historical data. Such returns are much better than the average private equity, CD, bond market, P2P lending, and dividend investing returns. With P2P lending, borrowers can sometimes default and leave you with nothing. At least with real estate crowdsource investing, there’s a physical asset that’s backing your investment.
Low Income Taxpayer Clinics (LITCs) are independent from the IRS. LITCs represent individuals whose income is below a certain level and need to resolve tax problems with the IRS, such as audits, appeals, and tax collection disputes. In addition, clinics can provide information about taxpayer rights and responsibilities in different languages for individuals who speak English as a second language. Services are offered for free or a small fee. To find a clinic near you, visit TaxpayerAdvocate.IRS.gov/LITCmap or see IRS Publication 4134, Low Income Taxpayer Clinic List.
The Hardy’s used a partner and tax director at an accounting firm with more than 40 years of experience to prepare and file their tax returns. In 2006 and 2007, the Hardy’s reported their income from MBJ as non-passive based on the CPA's professional judgment. They claimed a total disallowed loss and he determined that the income was non-passive based on MBJ's Schedule K-1 that it distributed to Hardy.
Some people take it automated well before the year is up. When it converts, it converts. If you target the right people and you're able to create the right message that appeals to your audience, you might just hit a home run. An automated webinar often involves the creation of a webinar funnel. That includes, not only the webinar, but also the email sequences, and possibly a self-liquidating offer, and maybe some done-for-your services and up-sells.
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