What Qualifies As Passive Income For Tax Purposes

The term passive income is typically defined as revenue that does not require significant effort to produce, but which still brings in money. This could be done passively or actively, it’s just how it’s measured.

Active income requires you to be awake and working during the generation of this income. For example, if you own a business, you must are running it at any given time. Or if you have a job, you have to show up every day to earn your paychecks.

Passive income doesn’t necessarily mean no work! But it does imply more lasting influence – the activity produces results without us doing anything aside from allowing it to run its course.

The thing about passive income is that although it may take longer to generate, it will never stop producing unless you cause it to. This is what makes it special compared to other types of income.

With traditional income sources like part-time jobs and self-employment, there is an intensity level attached to each check written. If you don’t put in the necessary amount of energy to perform your job, you won’t get paid very much.

With active income, you can often go days, weeks, even months without checking the source to see whether or not they’re paying you. This is why some people make large amounts of money with little to no involvement beyond setting everything up and waiting.

Real estate

what qualifies as passive income for tax purposes

One of the greatest ways to create wealth is through investing in real estate. This isn’t your average “buy a house and sit back and enjoy your new home” type investment.

Investing in real estate means buying an asset that produces revenue, or income, every day. The daily income can be large if you invest in high-income areas or in buildings that generate lots of business.

This income is typically taxable, however. And it doesn’t necessarily grow indefinitely — at least not without significant renovations or redevelopment.

But because this income is considered passive (it keeps coming in even when you aren’t doing anything to promote it) there are some tax rules that apply.

Startup businesses

what qualifies as passive income for tax purposes

Starting a business can be expensive, which is why it’s important to know what qualifies as passive income for tax purposes. According to IRS Publication 590, “Passive Activity Losses,” activities like running a restaurant or investing in stocks and bonds are considered active business ventures.

However, anything related to your business (office supplies, software, etc.) may qualify as an expense under the IRS’s passive activity loss rules. These expenses are not deductible if you earn more than $100,000 per year.

Conversely, entertainment and food/drink that aren’t work-related are usually considered non-business expenses and can be deducted directly from your taxable income.

This article will go into more detail about how startup businesses fit into the passive activity loss rule box. But first, let’s talk about two other types of investments that many people consider to be completely passive.

Personal service businesses

As we have seen, business owners can choose to run their ‘business’ in one of two ways: active or passive. By running your business passively, you are giving up control over at least some part of your income. This is typically done through the use of products and services that you provide to other companies or individuals (called personal service businesses).

By offering these services to others, you gain access to an audience that will potentially be loyal to you. Because they need what you offer, they will keep coming back!

It is very important to note though that even doing something like this requires time and effort from you. You must consistently put in energy into providing quality service to retain your client base and earn more money.

There are many different types of personal service businesses, but most involve serving customers by offering advice or tools or technology that they use to achieve their goals. For example, if you are good with numbers, you could start charging for financial planning or someone else could hire you to do it for them. If you are really passionate about fashion, you could launch your own clothing line or work for a company that designs clothes.

Online businesses

what qualifies as passive income for tax purposes

Starting an online business does not necessarily mean you will have to deal with tax obligations at some future date. Many people make their living through the internet by creating, editing, or designing websites, advertising on social media sites to promote their website, and selling products or services they create via their website or that they advertise.

If you are willing to give up part of your income in order to start an online business, then you should know what types of activities qualify as passive income under IRS rules.

What qualifies as passive income is very specific and can vary slightly depending on whether you're talking about employees or self-employed. This article will go into more detail about which type of income is considered passive and how to ensure yours doesn't get categorized as active.

Portfolio investments

what qualifies as passive income for tax purposes

A growing number of income strategies rely on investing in something non-producing now to produce more substantial profits down the line. These are referred to as investment “passive” activities because you don’t have to be actively involved in the business while it generates money for you.

The most well known example of this is through what has become known as index investing. An investor would pick from one of many indexes (like the S&P 500 or Dow Jones) and invest their money in that index fund.

Because these funds are designed to match an underlying index, what happens to the stock market happening indirectly impacts how much money people pay for stocks. Over time, therefore, even though the individual company may not be producing any revenue, the whole industry does!

This concept can also be applied to real estate. People who invest in real estate markets like those where investors buy and hold houses, apartments, and land cheap and sell them later when they find them expensive no longer necessary.

Gold and silver

what qualifies as passive income for tax purposes

While investing in gold and/or silver does not qualify as passive income under IRS rules, they are still worthwhile investments that can be placed into portfolio or dividend categories.

Both metals are considered assets by most people, which is why they are popular investment choices.

But while they're both valuable resources, they aren't spending money actively — you have to wait until someone else sells theirs before yours comes up for sale. And when it's your turn to sell, you get paid for it!

So although owning a bar of gold doesn’t make you rich quickly, it is a stable form of wealth that will always be there.

And just like with other types of portfolios, the more pieces you have, the wealthier you become.

Rowboat rentals

what qualifies as passive income for tax purposes

As discussed earlier, you can rent out your boat or yacht via Boat Rental Websites like Boatsintloungers.com and RentAFloat.com. If you own another house or apartment that is in good condition, you can use that as a secondary residence while you are not using it.

You receive a proportion of the revenue generated from renting your property (the rental rate equals the cost of keeping up the home reduced by how much income it generates) so it does not require much effort to keep this active side income source flowing.

However, if you do not actively oversee the renters, it may not go well for you! Make sure to have adequate insurance before letting people into your home. Also, be aware of who will be staying in your home and what kind of environment they desire.

This article’s writer assumes that the reader has read our lengthy investing section already, and knows the difference between passive and non-passive investment strategies.

Lotion treatments

what qualifies as passive income for tax purposes

Another popular way to make money via the internet is through creating your own lotion or salve recipes and selling them online. Many beauty brands begin with an existing product like olive oil, coconut oil, or hemp seed oil and then add in some additional ingredients to create their new products.

By adding certain oils into their mix, people can reap the benefits of these oils. Oils that are added into most skin care products include vitamins A, E, D, lauric acid, and octanoic acid. All of these contribute to healthy skin so they must be included in the recipe to ensure this!

Some of these oils promote growth of new cells which help keep your skin soft and moisturized. Others work to eliminate dry dead skin so your skin will feel healthier and tighter. The best way to identify whether or not one of these oils works for your skin is by experimenting with little patches of each ingredient separately first before combining them all together.

As with any form of income, there is no guaranteed job security for those who manage to make it big as a business owner with a great deal of self-control. However, if you are willing to put in the effort to grow your business, you will at least have consistency when it comes to earnings.

About The Author

Tiara Ogabang
Tiara Joan Ogabang is a talented content writer and marketing expert, currently working for the innovative company juice.ai. 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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