How Is Passive Income Taxed in UK

The rich are constantly talking about how they make their money, what makes them happy and how to achieve that success. Most of these wealthy individuals do not keep it quiet – they give many interviews discussing their income sources and how to enjoy your wealth.

Some people feel that being well-off is easy and anyone can do it if they work hard enough. This attitude may be why some people never seem to have enough cash– they believe that having a large amount of money will bring them happiness.

However, this mindset is wrong!

By thinking about how much you need for a house or car every day, you’re creating an obsession with money. You become too focused on earning more than you spend, which creates stress. This stress can easily turn into anxiety or depression, both of which can ruin your quality of life.

It’s important to understand that no matter where you sit in terms of finances, there is always someone richer than you. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but should be used as motivation to strive for better things instead of feeling guilty when you run out of money.

There is an old saying that “the way to get ahead is to go down together.” In other words, don’t feel like you’re entitled to anything — earn it by working hard.

Real world examples of passive income

So how is passive income taxed? There are several different ways that passive income can be construed in tax law. Some methods require more careful planning than others, but all depend on how your money comes into being and what you are allowed to do with it.

The most common way that people classify their passive income as taxable is when they receive payment for work that they did before. For example, if you write a book, get paid for an article you wrote, or give a lecture, this is considered earned income because you performed some kind of work before you were given pay.

There are two major issues with this type of income. First, governments want to see part of your income coming from performing specific activities – writing a book, giving a speech, and so forth. Second, even though these things are not actively done by someone else, they are still considered “work” under tax laws.

Because both of these factors are important parts of earning passive income, many people who have successful strategies use various tactics to reduce their taxes on such income.

Touchstone rule

how is passive income taxed uk

The touchstone rule is an important tax concept that applies to passive income, taxable dividends, and capital gains. It goes as follows: If you satisfy your living expenses with your passive income, then you cannot claim deductions for other sources of income.

This means that if you are paid enough money from dividend or investment returns to cover your bills, then you can’t deduct the costs of running your household or paying off debt.

Similarly, if you use the proceeds from selling a rental property to fund your lifestyle, you will not be able to take personal exemptions since you now have sufficient income.

By the same token, if you don’t pay much in taxes because these sorts of incomes are deductible, you will get less incentive to earn such income!

So what does this mean? It means that if you want to keep all of your current spending habits, you need to make sure that your total monthly expenditures are at least equal to your monthly income.

Capital gains or income

how is passive income taxed uk

In the US, there are two main types of taxation that go along with owning or investing in things- capital gains tax (also referred to as ordinary income tax) and investment tax.

When you sell an asset like a house, this is considered a ‘capital gain’. So when you sold your parent’s house, what they paid for it is called the cost basis, and how much profit you make from selling it is your capital gain.

The difference between these two numbers is often taxed at higher rates depending on who you are and what kind of person you are. For example, people who earn more than $250k per year will only be taxed a maximum of 20% on all additional income over the threshold, whereas individuals who earn less might pay more like 30%.

So why should we care? Because even very wealthy people struggle to stay within this limit! And if you don’t, you could find yourself paying quite heavily in taxes every month. It’s important to understand where your money comes from before calling it wasted.

Also known as personal income tax, this type of tax is levied onto individual earners dependent on their personal earnings.

Dividends or income

how is passive income taxed uk

For purposes of taxation, dividends are considered to be an example of what is called “income”. This is because they bring you profit (aka gain) from your investment. By Theoretically taxing all sources of income at the same rate, it becomes clear that paying no tax on your dividend income is effectively a discounting of how much money you pay in taxes every year!

By the end of the year, we're talking about large savings in revenue for the government. More importantly, these savings aren't typically shared with anyone else - only you! And while most people talk about investing in stocks, one of the greatest ways to earn passive income is actually through investing in dividend-paying companies.

Dividend payments are usually announced at some time before the annual stock market offering date. They go up for automatic issuance and can be either per share or total amount issued each month.

Long-term capital gains tax

how is passive income taxed uk

Another type of income that is taxed differently in the United States than other developed nations is long term capital gain (“capital gain”). This is when you sell an asset, such as a house or car, with a significant drop in value. The difference between what you sold it for and what you bought it for is your capital gain.

In the US, most people are aware of this capital gain being taxable when they earn more than $250,000 per year. But there is much more to it!

People often forget about other types of capital gain included in taxation. These include:

When you make a large investment into an asset – like buying a boat – then you will pay additional taxes on the profit made from selling it later.

This is referred to as ‘amortization’ because you are paying for the depreciation of the asset over time. For example, if you buy a boat for £20, 000 and it costs £5, 000 to depreciate each year, then you have fully amortized the cost of the boat. It no longer decreases in price so it does not need to be written off anymore.

However, once it is spent, it can no longer be used for its original purpose, which makes it lose some of its worth. Because of this, it must be written off and therefore lost, and thus it cannot be resold without incurring extra tax.

Short-term capital gains tax

how is passive income taxed uk

In general, if you sell a major asset (like your house), like as soon as a year has passed since you bought it, you will have to pay short term capital gain taxes.

This is because this kind of sale is considered an active transaction in which you actively took part in downing the property.

By contrast, a passive activity sale is one where you put the asset up for sale and take no action or steps to promote the sale.

As such, the seller does not have to report these sales, and instead only pays income tax on any earnings they receive.

These types of passive income sources include dividends, interest, and royalties.

Net operating loss

how is passive income taxed uk

A net operating loss (NOL) occurs when you make a profit in one year, but lose money in another. For example, if your business makes $10,000 in profits this past January, then it can suffer an NOL of $5,000 because there was a loss month earlier this year.

You are able to carry over your losses into future years! This is called incorporating them as a tax credit or deduction. By deducting these costs, your taxable income drops, which decreases how much money you pay in taxes.

By having large NOLs, you could actually end up paying no federal income tax at all! That would be perfect since you’re earning such low wages. However, most states have higher income taxes than the Federal Government does, so looking out for state income tax breaks is important too.

General rules: You cannot use NOLs from the current year to reduce your personal income tax due for the next two years. What’s good is you can carry forward NOLs that exist now until April 30, 2020.

Appeal process

how is passive income taxed uk

As mentioned earlier, there is an appeal process for individuals and businesses that are taxed in Canada. This can be done by submitting an application with Revenue Canada to have your tax status changed or having your case reviewed.

To make this process easy, you will want to make sure you comply with all of their deadlines so that it does not put more pressure on you while going through the process.

By staying organized and aware of your due dates, you will know what comes next!

There is also help available via various government agencies as well as online communities. You should try looking into those first before coming up with your own strategies.

General resources include the Canadian Government’s website ( and Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat’s digital magazine (

About The Author

Tiara Ogabang
Tiara Joan Ogabang is a talented content writer and marketing expert, currently working for the innovative company With a passion for writing and a keen eye for detail, Tiara has quickly become an integral part of the team, helping to drive engagement and build brand awareness through her creative and engaging content.
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