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.
Dividend stocks tend to be more mature companies that are past their high growth stage. Utilities, telecoms, and financial sectors tend to make up the majority of dividend paying companies. Tech, Internet, and biotech, on the other hand, tend not to pay any dividends because they are reinvesting most of their retained earnings back into their company for growth.

Passive income differs from earned income and portfolio income in a variety of ways. Passive income is generally defined as a stream of income earned with little effort, and it is referred to as progressive passive income when there is little effort needed from the individual receiving the passive income in order to grow the stream of income. Examples of passive income include rental income and any business activities in which the earner does not materially participate during the year.
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.
For those willing to take on the task of managing a property, real estate can be a powerful semi-passive income stream due to the combination of rental and principal value appreciation. But to generate passive income from real estate, you either have to rent out a room in your house, rent out your entire house and rent elsewhere (seems counterproductive), or buy a rental property. It’s important to realize that owning your primary residence means you are neutral the real estate market. Renting means you are short the real estate market, and only after buying two or more properties are you actually long real estate.
In expensive cities like San Francisco and New York City, net rental yields can fall as low as 2%. This is a sign that there is a lot of liquidity buying property for property appreciation, and not so much for income generation. This is a riskier proposition than buying property based on rental income. In inexpensive cities, such as those in the Midwest, net rental yields can easily be in the range of 8% – 12%, although appreciation may be slower.
In most cases, all rental real estate activities (except those of certain real estate professionals, discussed later) are passive activities. For this purpose, a rental activity is an activity from which you receive income mainly for the use of tangible property, rather than for services. For a discussion of activities that aren’t considered rental activities, see Rental Activities in Pub. 925.
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.
The Digital Reflection Panel is a rewards program that tracks characteristics about your internet usage. You can quickly earn $50 your first month and a minimum of $170 your first year. Since you receive the installation bonus only once, you will earn $120 each subsequent year. Not only that, but every 3 consecutive months you’re enrolled in the program you get a bonus.
Blogging is still going to take work starting out. That path to $5,000 a month didn’t happen overnight but just like real estate development, it build up an asset that now creates constant cash flow whether I work or not. I get over 30,000 visitors a month from Google search rankings, rankings that will continue to send traffic even if I take a little time off.
If the result is net income, don’t enter any of the income or losses from the activity or property on Form 8582 or its worksheets. Instead, enter income or losses on the form and schedules you normally use. However, see Significant Participation Passive Activities , later, if the activity is a significant participation passive activity and you also have a net loss from a different significant participation passive activity.
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.
Nobody gets early FI investing in bonds, CD’s, or even stocks unless they make a huge income or are extremely frugal or a combination of both. Paper assets just don’t provide enough returns. Business income can be great but it is typically not as semi-passive as I would like and there is a relatively high failure rate. That is if you can monetize an ideal to begin with. RE investing needs to be higher ranked IMO as a way that the “average guy” can become FI.
You can find dividend stocks using Google Finance Stock Screener which is free to use. Set the search criteria for the P/E Ratio, and Dividend yield (shown as a percentage) criteria. You can set minimum and maximum values; in the dividend yield box, set it between 2 and 100. This will search for stocks that pay dividends worth between 2-100% of the current stock price.

I wanted these freedoms so I began pursuing a means to have those, which in my case ended up being starting my own company that I could work from anywhere and with no deadlines whatsoever (although the no deadline thing does make things hard sometimes). The income from that company is planned to continue buying more passive income investments so eventually I hit total financial freedom where I can keep living my current lifestyle minus the work part. All of this is called “lifestyle design.”
Having an extra house, condo or apartment is potentially quite lucrative, especially if  what the tenant pays covers your mortgage, taxes, insurance, etc. Someone else is basically building your pool of wealth because in 10 or 20 years, you’ll have this $100,000+ asset that is paid off. You can sell it for a large chunk of cash, or keep renting it out and have a nice, steady stream of income. The major problem is that managing this isn’t exactly passive, unless you hire a rental management company who generally take one month’s rent out of the year in exchange for doing this.

We know from years of feedback from readers, amazon sellers, and family and friends what most people want in a passive income. The Independently published top 10 passive incomes is exactly that – it’s a simple passive income that hits all the right notes. Whether you have any experience or not, this book will help guide you on how to create passive income with little to no start up costs. A proven list of ways to create passive income starting with less than 500. When it comes to finding a optimal passive income, the Independently published top 10 passive incomes is definitely your first choice.

Similar to making a website or blog, but more passive, is creating an online course. If you have a specific skill you know you can teach and that others want to learn, you can easily create an online course. Sites like Udemy can help you do this. It requires some work to make it, but after that, users simply need to sign up for the course and pay a fee.
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.
There’s a saying that the biggest opportunity for improvement is at the margin. Boiled down, this means that you can reap big rewards for minor adjustments in behavior. Instead of using a check, debit card or cash to pay for daily activities and big expenses, using a cashback credit card can earn you a sizeable return each year. One of my favorite cards, the Discover it will even double all of the cash back you earn the first year!
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.
However, this comes back to the old discussion of pain versus pleasure. We will always do more to avoid pain than we will to gain pleasure. When our backs are against the wall, we act. When they're not, we relax. The truth is that the pain-versus-pleasure paradigm only operates in the short term. We'll only avoid pain in the here and now. Often not in the long term.
Dividend investing is right up there for sure. You don’t have to charge $48. You can charge <$10 to boost sales. The internet has enabled so many creatives to publish their works at a low cost. People will surprise themselves if they try to create like when they were in school. The other reason why I have Creating Products edging out dividends is because of the much higher POTENTIAL to make a lot more money. For example, $20,000 a year in book sales requires $570,000 in dividend investments to replicate the same amount. Plus, there is capital risk. With book sales, there is a correlation with EFFORT, and you are not beholden to the whims of the markets.
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.

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.
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.
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.

I hope you remember me for my good qualities and not my bad ones because I have plenty of both. As far as the tax bill, I’ll have a podcast coming up on it but probably won’t do a post until it’s law and probably not until well into the new year. I’m sure I’ll offend all of my listeners with the podcast and the post, both those who think the tax system should be more progressive and those who think it should be less progressive.


This publication discusses two sets of rules that may limit the amount of your deductible loss from a trade, business, rental, or other income-producing activity. The first part of the publication discusses the passive activity rules. The second part discusses the at-risk rules. However, when you figure your allowable losses from any activity, you must apply the at-risk rules before the passive activity rules.

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.


The real value of a building lies in the tenant. If you’re the tenant and you’re a good tenant, you might as well be the owner, otherwise, you’re giving that benefit away to someone else. A few years back we bought most of our buildings from other owners after renting from them for many years. Our approach to the building owners was, “We want to own our own offices, we are willing to pay you a fair price for the building, but if you won’t sell, we’ll buy somewhere else and move. 4/5 sold to us, the one that wouldn’t sell, we decided to buy a new office building and moved. Owning your own office is typically a very safe and very good investment if bought at a fair market value and assuming you are planning on staying put at least 5+ years. If you are trying to buy the office from your current landlord, I think a fair price is somewhere between the value of a vacant office building and the value of a stable physician occupied office with a long-term lease.
Secondly – and this is just quibbling – I’d change that risk score. The risk of private equity is incredibly high and should be considerably riskier than bonds! You are providing a typically very large amount of capital to one business that you agree to have no control over, and the success or failure of that business over a locked, predefined term determines your return. And in the few deals I’ve negotiated for clients, my experience has been that there are often management fees, performance fees, etc. that may cut into your potential gains, anyway. You’re putting a lot of eggs in one basket, and promising an omelet or two to the management no matter what. You really need to be confident that you found the next Uber before you take this giant risk!
There’s a few different free routes you can take. You can release both a paid and free app and have your free app up-sell your paid app. This gives you visibility in both paid and free categories. More eyes could potentially mean more downloads and more revenue. The most popular route is the freemium version with in-app purchases. You give out the most essential functions of the app for free and up-sell your users to more features they might want. This usually converts better than up-selling to a paid app, since the user will never have to leave your app to make a purchase.
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. Physical 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.
The business isn’t an excluded business. Generally, an excluded business means equipment leasing as defined, earlier, under Exception for equipment leasing by a closely held corporation , and any business involving the use, exploitation, sale, lease, or other disposition of master sound recordings, motion picture films, video tapes, or tangible or intangible assets associated with literary, artistic, musical, or similar properties.
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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