What is passive income?  It is income that is not generated from your day job.  Any net gain at the end of the year is taxed at ordinary income tax rates.  The additional downside: if the rental property generates a loss, you are not able to offset passive losses with ordinary income i.e., wages.  The passive losses can only be used to offset passive income.
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.
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.

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.
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:
Take for example a situation where a CCPC earns rental income from its real estate properties which for this example qualifies as passive investment income and provides, at the same time, property management services that are characterized as active income. Under the current regime, a portion of the high corporate income tax paid by the corporation of 50% on its rental operations is accumulated in its RDTOH and will be refunded by the government only upon the payment of a dividend by the corporation to its individual shareholder. Given that an Eligible Dividend paid out of the property management services are taxed at a lower rate than would be a dividend paid out of the rental income, being a dividend that is not an Eligible Dividend, the company would decide to pay the Eligible Dividend and recover the RDTOH generated from its passive income. The profits generated from the rental operations could be paid to the shareholder the following year or two for example as a dividend that is not an Eligible Dividend, thus providing for a deferral of that additional 4% personal income tax.
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.

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!
If the property in the syndication was held for at least a year, the gain will be treated as long term capital gain subject to 15%/20% capital gains rate.  Any depreciation taken on the property is subject to recapture and taxed at 25%.  The issuance of a K-1 usually results in a taxpayer needing to extend their individual tax return as most K-1s are not sent out until after the regular due date April 15.

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.
Any loss that’s allowable in a particular year reduces your at-risk investment (but not below zero) as of the beginning of the next tax year and in all succeeding tax years for that activity. If you have a loss that’s more than your at-risk amount, the loss disallowed won’t be allowed in later years unless you increase your at-risk amount. Losses that are suspended because they’re greater than your investment that’s at risk are treated as a deduction for the activity in the following year. Consequently, if your amount at risk increases in later years, you may deduct previously suspended losses to the extent that the increases in your amount at risk exceed your losses in later years. However, your deduction of suspended losses may be limited by the passive loss rules.
A working interest in an oil or gas well which you hold directly or through an entity that doesn’t limit your liability (such as a general partner interest in a partnership). It doesn’t matter whether you materially participated in the activity for the tax year. However, if your liability was limited for part of the year (for example, you converted your general partner interest to a limited partner interest during the year) and you had a net loss from the well for the year, some of your income and deductions from the working interest may be treated as passive activity gross income and passive activity deductions. See Temporary Regulations section 1.469-1T(e)(4)(ii).

Once your audience has grown and you have validation that you’re offering them value, there are many ways to create passive income. You could sell digital products like ebooks or courses, take up affiliate marketing in which you promote other company’s products and earn a commission when you sell that item to your audience, build a community and charge people to be a part of it, create software and sell that, among other avenues. Ask your audience directly what would serve them best, or look at what they’re saying on Twitter, Facebook or other websites, to find out what problems they have and how you could help solve them.


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.
The big difference in Real Estate is leverage which can be either good or bad depending on your timing and wiliness to stay long term and ride out the dips. Think about having one million dollars in single family California Real Estate in 2012, in November 2013 it’s now worth 30-50% more, timing is important but staying in the game long term is what it’s about.
Take for example a situation where a CCPC earns rental income from its real estate properties which for this example qualifies as passive investment income and provides, at the same time, property management services that are characterized as active income. Under the current regime, a portion of the high corporate income tax paid by the corporation of 50% on its rental operations is accumulated in its RDTOH and will be refunded by the government only upon the payment of a dividend by the corporation to its individual shareholder. Given that an Eligible Dividend paid out of the property management services are taxed at a lower rate than would be a dividend paid out of the rental income, being a dividend that is not an Eligible Dividend, the company would decide to pay the Eligible Dividend and recover the RDTOH generated from its passive income. The profits generated from the rental operations could be paid to the shareholder the following year or two for example as a dividend that is not an Eligible Dividend, thus providing for a deferral of that additional 4% personal income tax.
The reality of the situation is that this client doesn’t use a property management company on the rentals. I felt it was stretch to say she was a real estate professional, because she is a physician.  However, before she got her job with the clinic, she did some side work at a hospital for a few months, but never met the limits of material or active participation.  
In the case of an activity with respect to which any deductions or credits are disallowed for a taxable year (the loss activity), the disallowed deductions are allocated among your activities for the next tax year in a manner that reasonably reflects the extent to which each activity continues the loss activity. The disallowed deductions or credits allocated to an activity under the preceding sentence are treated as deductions or credits from the activity for the next tax year. For more information, see Regulations section 1.469-1(f)(4).
Great post. Fortunately I learned pretty early on that our whole tax system is set up to provide greater advantages to those earning passive income. Meanwhile, the majority of the workers in the country continue to trade their precious time for a paycheck, and then get screwed through additional taxation on that money. I’m still working a 9-5, but my passive income grows with every month and I’m always looking to build more streams of passive income. You never know when one of those little streams will turn into a raging river and start really providing massive amounts of cash!
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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