It is helpful to have an understanding of the bigger tax items – basis and depreciation.  Basis is the cost or purchase price of the property minus the value of the land (note: you cannot depreciate land).  The depreciation deduction you can take on residential real estate per year is the basis (cost less land) divided by 27.5.  Depreciation is a great tax deduction you can take every year but will affect your gain or loss when you sell the property.
If you sell your entire interest in a passive activity through an installment sale to figure the loss for the current year that isn’t limited by the passive activity rules, multiply your overall loss (not including losses allowed in prior years) by a fraction. The numerator of the fraction is the gain recognized in the current year, and the denominator is the total gain from the sale minus all gains recognized in prior years.
If any amount of your loss from an activity (as defined in Activities Covered by the At-Risk Rules , later) is disallowed under the at-risk rules for the tax year, a ratable portion of each item of deduction or loss from the activity is disallowed for the tax year. For this purpose, the ratable portion of an item of deduction or loss is the amount of such item multiplied by the fraction obtained by dividing:

​Affiliate marketing is the practice of partnering with a company (becoming their affiliate) to receive a commission on a product. This method of generating income works the best for those with blogs and websites. Even then, it takes a long time to build up before it becomes passive. If you want to get started with affiliate marketing check out this great list of affiliate marketing programs.
Many entrepreneurs are asking if the new rules will result in them paying additional taxes if their corporations generate passive income in excess of $50,000. In most circumstances, the answer is that they will pay more corporate taxes, thereby reducing the size of their tax deferral advantage (from 40% down to 27% on their 2019 corporate income earned in Ontario).
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.

I have to agree. Our Duplex cost us 200k initially in 1998. Over time and completely refurbishing the property with historically appropriate sensitivity, we invested another 200k or so. We just had a realtor advise us we could ask 700k for it today. It nets us 30k annually after taxes, insurance and maintenance. We still have a loan on it which I have not taken into account, that will be paid off within 5 years if we keep it. My mental drama now is, while I am quite giddy over the prospect of earning a tidy sum of profit if I sell, what then would I do to equal the ROI and monthly income this thing generates? Rents are low, they should be 4k a month and will only go up. Tempted to keep it and not sell. And while I do have some stocks, I basically suck at them. I am much better at doing properties.


2. Repairs: Slightly more ambiguous than their interest deduction counterpart, repairs can only be deducted in the event that they are ordinary, necessary, and reasonable in amount. That said, repairs can only be deducted in the year in which they are made. Common repairs that can be deducted from your taxes come April are fixing leaks, repainting, plastering, replacing broken windows and fixing floors.
Of course, a book isn’t the only way to get your thoughts to the world nowadays. You could also start a blog, website or YouTube channel to earn some passive income. Besides the creation of your website, videos and content, blurting out your ideas and advice online seems pretty passive. However, it will take a lot of work on your part and time to gain readers, followers and then paid advertisers. You will need to make your content marketable and appealing. That way you continue to gain followers, advertisers and money.
For tax years beginning after January 24, 2010, the following disclosure requirements for groupings apply. You’re required to report certain changes to your groupings that occur during the tax year to the IRS. If you fail to report these changes, each trade or business activity or rental activity will be treated as a separate activity. You will be considered to have made a timely disclosure if you filed all affected income tax returns consistent with the claimed grouping and make the required disclosure on the income tax return for the year in which you first discovered the failure to disclose. If the IRS discovered the failure to disclose, you must have reasonable cause for not making the required disclosure.
There is a specific tax definition of passive income, known as “passive activity” to the Internal Revenue Service. Passive income is any income you make without actively working or are materially involved. The IRS defines it as any rental activity or any business in which the taxpayer does not “materially participate.” Nonpassive activities, or active activities, are businesses in which the taxpayer works on a regular, continuous, and substantial basis.
5. Make sure you are properly diversified. Capital preservation is underrated. We saw a lost decade for tech stocks between 2000 and 2010 after the first dot-com bubble burst. It actually took 13 years for Nasdaq investors to get back to even. Investors in the Borsa Istanbul stock market index just gave up 10 years' worth of gains after they saw a plunge in their currency, partially due to increased tariffs by the US and a lack of confidence in the government. Your passive income needs to be properly diversified in order to take the hits.
​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.

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!
Your car: Transportation can be a hot commodity on campus, and many students will pay for it. If the idea of handing over your keys makes you squeamish, look for ways to get paid as a chauffeur. A girl in my college dorm made extra cash by charging $5 to tag along when she went to the grocery store. And when I drove out of town for long weekends, I often would cover my gas costs and then some by offering rides.
This one is for people who want to work hard but make significant money online. Online learning courses have become very popular on the web, and you can find a lot of Youtube who starts selling courses in their field. It depends on the knowledge you have. If you have an extensive knowledge in Financial Education, then go and open a course. If you are a book bike rider, you can make a course about riding a bike and earn a significant passive income from that.
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.
Nonpassive: Businesses in which the taxpayer materially participates. Also, salaries, guaranteed payments, 1099 commission income and portfolio or investment income are deemed to be nonpassive. Portfolio income includes interest income, dividends, royalties, gains and losses on stocks, pensions, lottery winnings, and any other property held for investment
Part of providing value is building trust. Don’t link to things that aren’t of good quality or people won’t trust your recommendations. The other part of making an audience is consistency. It matters less how often you post than how consistently. If you only have time to do one post a month, that post should come out on the same date and time each month.
stREITwise offers a hybrid investment between traditional REIT fund investing and the new crowdfunding. The fund is like a real estate investment trust in that it holds a collection of properties but more like crowdfunding in its management. The fund has paid a 10% annualized return since inception and is a great way to diversify your real estate exposure.

Active participation isn’t the same as material participation (defined later). Active participation is a less stringent standard than material participation. For example, you may be treated as actively participating if you make management decisions in a significant and bona fide sense. Management decisions that count as active participation include approving new tenants, deciding on rental terms, approving expenditures, and similar decisions.


Investing in real estate has been around for ages.  Whether you are looking to buy your first duplex or getting into a large commercial property, rental properties can provide passive income through rents with some very appealing tax benefits.  This method can be harder to get started with given the initial capital needed in most cases, but is certainly a great way to generate passive income.

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!

One of his favorite tools is Personal Capital, which enables him to manage his finances in just 15-minutes each month. If you sign up and link up an investment account with $1,000+ within 40 days, you get a $20 Amazon gift card. They also offer financial planning, such as a Retirement Planning Tool that can tell you if you're on track to retire when you want. It's free.


If any amount of your pro rata share of an S corporation's loss for the tax year is disallowed under the basis limitation, a ratable portion of your pro rata share of each item of deduction or loss of the S corporation is disallowed for the tax year. For this purpose, the ratable portion of an item of deduction or loss is the amount of such item multiplied by the fraction obtained by dividing:

“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. 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.”

However, equipment leasing doesn’t include the leasing of master sound recordings and similar contractual arrangements for tangible or intangible assets associated with literary, artistic, or musical properties, such as books, lithographs of artwork, or musical tapes. A closely held corporation can’t exclude these leasing activities from the at-risk rules nor count them as equipment leasing for the gross receipts test.


Earned income is the money you earn from working. It includes wages, salaries, tips, and net earnings from self-employment income. It also includes union strike benefits and some types of long-term disability benefits. With some types of deferred compensation plans, the payments are also considered a form of earned income. Earned income is taxed differently than unearned income.
This is a venture that is growing rapidly. You can create videos in just about any area that you like — music, tutorials, opinions, comedy, movie reviews — anything you want . . . then put them on YouTube. You can then attach Google AdSense to the videos, which will overlay your videos with automatic ads. When viewers click on those ads, you will earn money from AdSense.

Jim Smith and Sharon Jones own JS Toys as 60-40 partners. Jim received $1,000 in interest income from the business because he lent the business money. Jim owns 60% of the business. Therefore, Jim can exclude $600 from his net investment income since that is his allocable share of non-passive income. The remaining $400 would be subjected to the Net Investment Income Tax calculation. Yes, we accountants love a stupidly convoluted tax code- keeps you confused or bored, and keeps us employed.
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What I find most interesting is the fact that I had never considered options like LendingTree or realityshares for other income sources. Investing in property has been too much of bad luck for people that I know personally, so I am interesting in getting involved in a situation where I would have to be dealing with maintenance issues or tenants. There are services for you to do that, but I had not come across any that didn’t eat most if not all of the earnings. Then again, I live in the NY area. Investing in the midwest would not be reasonably possible for me, directly, but reading about realityshares is something I am going to look into further. That might be a real possibility.
I’m a 45 year old business owner who also has focussed on diversifying my income streams. I have a short term vacation rental in Florida that I bought for $390k in 2012 and net rental income for the last three years has been growing steadily. 2015 I am at $70k gross right now but should end up at $80-85k with net around $45k plus we use the place about 35 nights a year.
Hi Logan, thanks for perfect article on passive income theme! I am a newbie in this passive income thing but everything I read here seems obvious to me. Why not create a passive income, right? So I started googling about making passive income via internet because I like things connected to the web and I think that this will be a huge thing (it already is) and I found this article which seems that is probably very new but in the ebook there are great informations about passive income, at least in my POV (newbie POV). Is this a legit website or can it actually work? I want to expand on that because my 9 – 5 s*cks… Here is the URL: https://cashwithoutjob.online
The reason I consider dividends artificial and believe they don’t matter is because you can just as easily reinvest your dividends. If a stock is worth $100/share, I don’t care if it issues a $1/share dividend or if the share price instead increases to $101/share – either way, I have the same amount of money, because there’s no difference to my net worth whether I take the dividend or sell part of a stock.
Now I’ve been using Swagbucks for a while and have found the money works out to just under $2 an hour so this isn’t something that’s going to make you rich. You’d have to work 2,500 hours to make $5,000 so that’s about three and a half months, non-stop. The thing with Swagbucks though is you can do it when you’re doing something else so I flip through surveys and other stuff while I’m cooking dinner or flipping channels.
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).
Add Leverage (Mortgage) and you greatly increase the ROI especially from the perspective of using Rents (other peoples money) to pay down the mortgage and increase your equity in the property over time. At this point then yes price appreciation is secondary bonus and we have an arguement of how and why Real Estate can be better than Growth Stocks in some scenarios and for some investors.
So that is where it gets a little weird too- tax classifications, which might be slightly different than the term defining how much work you do. Owning a business will always be taxed as active income. Rental properties will always be taxed as passive income. The reason being (all theoretical to an extent) is that, in theory, if the business stops selling or performing, income is lost. In theory, rental properties can continue to make money if you do no work on them. If I had a rockstar property manager who constantly handled everything about the property, I could technically do zero work and still receive income. In theory, even if the PM stopped working the property, if a tenant stayed there forever and kept sending money, you get income with no work. Not all that realistic for you to never be involved, and most certainly to succeed without a PM, but taxes assume it’s possible. Work has to continue to happen with a business for it to make income, therefore it’s active.
That strategy seems waaaayyyy less risky than actively picking stocks of supposedly “reliable” stocks that issue dividends, which could be cut at any time due to shifting industry trends and company performance. Dividend investing feels like an overly complex old-school way of investing that doesn’t have a very strong intellectual basis compared to index investing.

Kate, a single taxpayer, has $70,000 in wages, $15,000 income from a limited partnership, a $26,000 loss from rental real estate activities in which she actively participated, and isn’t subject to the modified adjusted gross income phaseout rule. She can use $15,000 of her $26,000 loss to offset her $15,000 passive income from the partnership. She actively participated in her rental real estate activities, so she can use the remaining $11,000 rental real estate loss to offset $11,000 of her nonpassive income (wages).
Do you know of a successful business that needs capital for expansion? If so, you can become something of a small-time angel investor and provide that needed capital. But rather than offering a loan to a business owner, you instead take an equity position in the business. In this way, the business owner will handle the day-to-day operations, while you will act as a silent partner who also participates in the profits of the business.

But, you don't need to go further than that. You can simply write it and publish it and collect the income. That's all. Send out a couple emails to your list (if you have one) or post it on social media, and there you have it. Passive income. Now, the amount of income you receive depends on the quality of the book you've written. How well did you craft the message? How targeted was the information to your audience? It counts.

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