By topic: Passive income and losses

Buy the Building. Rent It to Your Business. Avoid Passive Losses.

If you plan to buy a building that you are going to rent to your business, you need to know the tax rules to obtain the best benefits. Here, you will learn about an income tax election that you can make on your IRS Form 1040 to avoid the passive loss rules that deny current-year rental losses.

Converting Your Residence into a Rental Property: Tax Issues

The simple maneuver of converting your personal residence to a rental property brings with it myriad tax rules, mostly good when you know how they work. For example, your rental net income can create the Section 199A deduction if the rental rises to the level of a trade or business (most do).

Personal Use of Your Rental Triggers Ugly Vacation Home Rules

When you have both personal and rental use of a dwelling, you trigger some tricky tax code rules you need to know. With both personal and rental use, you create the possibility of tax-free rent, rental property deductions, and additional personal residence deductions.

How to Handle Multiple Rental Activities and the 199A Deduction

Applying the Section 199A deduction to your rental activity isn’t easy. If you’ve got multiple rental activities, it’s more complex with additional complications. Don’t worry, though—we’ll go step by step through the considerations so that you know you’ve got all your bases covered.

Defining “Real Estate Investor” and “Real Estate Dealer”

The first good news is that you can be both real estate investor and real estate dealer with respect to your real estate portfolio. The next good news is that you are in control, and by knowing just a few rules about dealer and investor classifications, you can do much to increase your net worth.

Drive Time Increases Odds of Deducting Rental Property Losses

Your rental properties provide tax shelter when you can deduct your losses against your other income. One step to deducting the losses is to pass the tax code’s 750-hour test. One step to finding the hours you need may be your drive time.

Audit-Proof Your Time Spent on Rental Properties

To deduct your passive losses as a tax law–defined real estate professional, you or your spouse, or both, must prove time spent. Since you need proof of time spent to deduct rental property losses, use the tactics in this article to keep track of your time and also increase your overall profits on the rentals.

Tax Time Bomb: Passive Foreign Investment Companies

Passive foreign investment companies, or PFICs, are subject to some of the most complex provisions of the tax law. You may own one and not even know it. In this article, we give you the basic rules so that you know what PFICs are and the different ways you can pay tax on them (yes, you have options!).

Six Ways to Beat the Passive-Loss Rental Property Rules

You want to deduct your business, rental, and non-rental losses when possible, because those deductions put cash in your pocket. The sooner you get the cash, the faster you can put that cash to work for you building your net worth. This article helps you realize those losses sooner.

Passive Losses Don’t Destroy Your Tax-Favored Capital Gains

Suspended passive activity losses come about when the losses from all passive activities for the taxable year exceed the aggregate income from all passive activities for such year. These are losses above or beyond what you can deduct under the $25,000 offset for rental activities. When you sell your entire interest in a passive activity at a gain, you have a taxable gain and a jailbreak of those losses and maybe more.

Q&A: Is a Real Estate Agent a Broker for Deducting Rental Losses?

Before you can deduct rental property losses, you must first qualify as a real estate professional (a person in the real property trades or businesses). The real estate broker is recognized in the tax code as a person who is in the real property trade or business for purposes of the passive loss rules. The real estate agent is not recognized in the law.

Self-Rental Trap Still Costing Business Owners Tax Dollars

Business owners continue to get caught in the complex rules of the self-rental trap. A recent case taken from the Tax Court to the Fifth Circuit shows how business owners can get into tax trouble with self-rentals. But with proper tax planning and possible use of special rules called “grouping,” you can minimize and even eliminate the tax cost of the self-rental trap.

Q&A: Would Rental Real Estate Give Me Tax Shelter?

 

Alert: IRS Creates Clear Path to Rental Property Loss Deductions

If you own rental properties, you want to qualify as a real estate professional. It’s a big deal. In this status, you can deduct your tax shelter losses from your real estate rental properties against your business and portfolio income. We hear that the IRS and some tax professionals are misapplying the law and wrongly denying real estate professional status. That’s an ouch! How does it happen? By mistakenly requiring an election to count multiple rental properties toward the number of hours needed to be a real estate professional.

Q&A: Does Grouping Release Prior Suspended Losses?

 

Do Not Make This Mistake When Your Second Business Loses Money

When you expand to a second or third business, you increase your chances of running afoul of the passive loss rules. That’s not a problem if all the businesses are producing a profit. But if one of the businesses is incurring losses, you won’t get an immediate tax deduction if you don’t materially participate. And if you try to hide that business inside another proprietorship so your loss offsets your other income, you and your tax preparer face even more trouble.

Renting Property to Your Business? Avoid This Trap That Destroys the Tax Deduction

Do you rent property to your business? Under the self-rental rule, you could forfeit your expected tax breaks and end up on the hook for unexpected taxes. This is true even if you create a separate entity to rent the property to your business.

Secrets to Pocketing Cash by Renting a Bedroom in Your Home

If you want to rent one, two, or twenty bedrooms in your home, you need to avoid one big trap and navigate two sets of rules to obtain the tax benefits you likely were hoping for when you thought of this rental activity. This is an area where tax knowledge is power. Without the knowledge, you could create a very unsatisfactory tax result.

Mortgage Interest on Rental Property—Avoid Traps, Maximize Your Deductions

You don’t automatically get to deduct mortgage interest on a rental property. Lawmakers have set traps. One trap can totally destroy the interest deduction. Another trap makes you wait a long time to realize the tax benefits of the deduction. Make sure you know what the traps are so you can avoid their impact on your bottom line.

Use Seller Financing to Create Wealth

If you are selling a rental property or your home, you should consider seller financing as a possible method to achieving a rate of return better than you are receiving from your current investments. This article gives you six ways to improve the structure of your seller financing so you can pocket more cash.

Cash In When the Buyer Defaults on Your Seller Financing

You may want to consider seller financing when you sell a rental property. It can boost your rate of return. Now, you might say “Yeah, but what happens if the buyer doesn’t pay up?” There could be a big silver lining here that you haven’t considered, and that’s why you should read this article now.

Magic Release of Rental Property Tax Deductions with a Home-Office Deduction

Your rental properties provide tax shelter when you can deduct your losses against your other income. For you to deduct your losses, you need to pass the tax code’s 750-hour test. The good news in this article is that the home-office deduction can help you pass this test in some delightful ways that you would not usually think of.

Reinstate Your Rentals as Tax Shelters

A great tax shelter is a rental property that shows a positive cash flow and a deductible tax loss. You can still have that type of tax shelter in today’s tax world. To make this work, most taxpayers, likely you included, need to avoid the investor trap to deduct their losses against all their other income (thus creating tax shelter). This article helps you avoid the investor trap so you can create the rental property tax shelter.

Double-Benefit Tax Rule for Property Owners Delivers Bonus Deduction: But Act Now!

The IRS is making an unusually nice offer to you as a business or rental property owner—but it’s good for just a few months. You can take extra deductions right now if you performed certain major renovations on your business or rental property in prior years. If you think this applies to you, act fast so you do not miss the October (or September, if incorporated) 2015 deadline.

Married? You May Qualify for Huge Deductions on the Net Losses of Your Rental Properties

There are special rules that you need to know regarding the deduction of your net losses if you co-own or co-manage a business or investment with your spouse. Tax law gives you some nice advantages, but they’re not what we would call logical. If you don’t know how the rules work, you might be missing out on money-saving benefits.

Make the IRS Pay You When You Sell Your Home

You normally would not expect to have more money in your pocket after you pay your tax bill. However, with this new ruling from the IRS, you could end up with just that—a negative tax on the sale of your home! Read this article to find out how a taxpayer sold her home for a $100,000 before-tax profit and turned that into a $110,000 after-tax value.

How the IRS Lost $55,000 in This IRS Rental Properties Audit

The thought of an IRS audit is a worry, no question. But it’s worse when the IRS wants a lot of your money. And it’s even worse yet when the IRS wants your money because it interprets the law incorrectly and at the time you see the IRS adjustment, you have no idea whether the IRS is right or wrong.

Warning: Is Your Real Estate Activity a Business or an Investment?

Here’s a trick question: should you operate your real estate activities as a business or as an investor? If you operate as a business, you can deduct trips to real estate seminars and conventions. But if you are flipping houses, you don’t want business status because that makes you a dealer and taxes you at high ordinary tax rates rather than lower tax-favored capital gains rates. Check out this article about deducting seminars and insights into how the tax law treats dealers, investors, rental properties, and more.

Own Rental Property? Escape the Obamacare Tax—Use New IRS Rules

Are you subject to the new 3.8 percent Obamacare tax? Do you own rental property? If so, use one of the three escapes in this article so that your rental property can avoid the 3.8 percent tax. The three escapes revolve around the concept of a rental property as a trade or business property. The IRS just released new safe-harbor rules making it easy for some owners of rental real estate to qualify their rentals as trade or business property exempt from the 3.8 percent tax.

4 Tactics That Turn Suspended Passive Losses into Tax Deductions

When you sell your rental property activity, you get a gift of sorts in that you now get to deduct the losses denied in earlier years. Tax law calls the denied losses suspended. To ensure realization of your rightful tax deductions, you need to avoid the hidden traps in this process that delay or prevent you from using your suspended losses. Make sure you know the right way to sell your rental property or activity in order to free up your losses for immediate tax deduction.

Tricky Step 1 to Making Your Rental Property Tax Deductible

If you have to show that your rental property activity rises to the level of your being in a tax-law-defined real property business, be sure to involve yourself in the day-to-day management in order to avoid the investor time trap that can cost you your current-year tax deductions for your rental property losses.

Five Strategies to Avoid the New 3.8 Percent Obamacare Tax

The new 3.8 percent Obamacare tax on investment and passive income makes its debut on your 2013 tax return. Are you ready? Have you made a plan to avoid or minimize the tax? You should. And you can. In this tax-planning article, you’ll find five real-world tax reduction strategies to keep your money safe, happy, and in that place where it belongs—your pocket.

IRS Rules Same-Sex Married Couples Are Legal Spouses for Taxes

The IRS just ruled that a same-sex married couple are spouses for federal income tax purposes. This means the same tax deductions and tax benefits that accrue to other married couples now accrue to same-sex married couples. The IRS ruling is a direct result of the Supreme Court’s decision in Windsor. This article sets forth business and personal tax breaks that marriage provides.

Tax and Liability Answers for Business Owner’s Rental Properties

If you are a sole business owner and also have 10 unrelated rental properties, what are the tax ramifications of the rental properties? How is the income from those properties reported to the IRS? What is the best way to structure ownership of those properties to limit your liability exposure? This article addresses these questions and more.

Make Your Rental Property Losses Tax Deductible

The rental property tax-shelter game is for those who know how the rules work. Your rental property acts as a tax shelter when you can claim tax deductions for your rental property losses against your other sources of income. To qualify your rental properties for tax shelter benefits, you need proof of hours worked on your rentals. You win the tax shelter test when you (1) pass a 750-hour test, (2) pass a second, more-hours-in-real-estate test, and (3) pass an hours-worked material participation test for each shelter property or group of properties, if elected.

Weird, But Higher Tax Rates Increase Rental Property Profits

Our rental property analyzer reveals the truth about your rental property and gets you to bottom-line results that you can fully understand. The new higher tax rates impact your rental property. We suspect that you already knew that. But did you know that the higher tax rates could give you a better bottom line (i.e., more after-tax cash in your pocket from the investment)? This article explains how higher taxes work to your benefit.

Tax Deductions Lost in Owner’s Equipment Rentals to His Corporation

If you, or another entity you own, rent buildings or equipment to your business activity, you likely face the self-rental rules. If you are unsure of what the self-rental rules mean and you have these types of rentals, you absolutely need to read this article.

How to Release Rental Property Tax Losses Trapped by the Passive-Loss Rules

Tax law’s passive-loss rules are pretty much the grim reaper of current-year tax benefits from your rental properties. Note the words “current year.” Those passive losses trapped this year are available down the road. With planning, you might be able to release those trapped tax benefits when you want.

Buy the Building, Rent It to Your Business, Avoid the Self-Rental Trap, and Create Legal Protection with Tax-Deduction Shelter

As you know from last month’s article, the self-rental rules can catch you unaware and alter your rental property tax benefits. You can solve the self-rental problems by eliminating the rental and having your business own the building. That’s one solution. This article gives you a second solution that you might like better. Here, we show you how to qualify for a special election that allows you to treat your rental and your business as one activity for federal tax purposes. This can give you the best of both worlds: (1) legal protection and (2) tax shelter.

Finding Tax Deductions for Your Timeshare When You Use It Personally and/or Rent It

Your timeshare can qualify as a second home for the mortgage interest deduction easily if you don’t rent or attempt to rent it. Once you introduce rent into your timeshare equation, you trigger two tough rules: (1) a special mortgage-interest-deduction rule for the personal part of the timeshare and then (2) the dreaded vacation-home rental rules for the rental part.

Renting the Office to Your Business Creates a Self-Rental Trap That Crushes Tax Deductions

When you rent to a business in which you and/or your spouse work 500 hours or more, you engage in a self-rental that limits your loss deductions and taxes your profits. In other words, you get tax law’s double whammy. There is one solution to this problem.

Sale of Three Rental Properties Releases Passive-Loss Deductions on Six Rental Properties

If you own rental properties, you need to know how to qualify for real estate professional status, and then you need to create proof of time spent on your rentals. No time-spent proof, no passive-loss deductions. Next, you have to decide to group or not to group your properties. Don’t leave this grouping decision to the IRS or to the courts.

Tax Court Denies Rental Loss Deductions on Four of Six House Rentals

The government subsidizes your rental property profits when you realize all your tax deductions. If tax law’s passive-loss rules deny your current rental losses, your profits will go down. Therefore, you need to know how the passive-loss rules work so you can maximize your rental profits and avoid unpleasant visits with the IRS.

Tax Loss Crushed by Passive Loss Rules on Rental Property Investment

If you own rental property, you need to pay attention to the passive-loss rules. This court case helps clarify two rules that can enable deductions for rental property losses.

Tax Tips for Owners of Multiple Businesses

Revenue Procedure 2010-13 requires disclosure of the business and rental groups you form to avoid the disallowance of losses under the passive-loss rules. At first glance, you might think, “Oh, no, not more disclosures.” But further examination shows an audit-proofing aspect to this disclosure that is most appealing.

Tax Tips to Find a Profitable Rental Property

This article contains our Rental Property Analyzer software to help you analyze your possible real estate investments in an absolutely understandable and meaningful way. If you are thinking of buying a rental property, you absolutely, positively must read this article and use this software, which is included in your subscription.

Tax Tips for Rental, Non-Rental, and Business Losses

You want to deduct your business, rental, and non-rental losses when possible, because those deductions put cash in your pocket. The sooner you get the cash, the faster you can put that cash to work for you building your net worth. This article helps you realize those losses sooner.

Tax Deductions for the Business Town House

Doing business in two different locations requires tax knowledge. The purchase of a town house in the second location brings up many tax planning opportunities and a few hazards to avoid.

Tax Tips Needed on Land and Self-Rental Passive Loss Traps

The tax strategy of renting property you own personally to your businesses needs your attention if you want tax benefits. Similarly, special recharacterization rules apply to rentals of land and also when land is a big part of the rental.

Qualify as a Real Estate Professional to Deduct Rental Losses

If the passive loss rules are taking away your tax deductions on your real estate rentals, examine the real estate professional rules for an escape. You can be a lawyer, medical doctor, etc., and also qualify as a real estate professional.

How to Materially Participate to Deduct Rental Property Tax Losses

You can be a lawyer, CPA, MD, or business owner and qualify as a real estate professional if you or your spouse materially participate in the rentals or in the rental group.

Qualifying for Rental Real Estate’s Tax-Favored $25,000 Allowance

Learn how to qualify for the rental real estate active investor category for deducting rental property losses of up to $25,000. You can plan deductions to lower the $100,000 and $150,000 ceilings.

Audit-Proof Your Time Spent on Rental Properties

To deduct your passive losses as a real estate professional, you must prove time spent. Since you need this proof, use these tactics to keep track of your time and also increase your overall profits on the rentals.

Rental Property Business Tax Attributes

If you own rental properties, you don’t want the tax law to call the rentals an investment. Instead, you want the rental properties to qualify as a trade or business so that you achieve tax favored Section 1231 treatment and other tax breaks.

Taxpayers Win Loss Deduction on Charter Fishing Activity

To deduct a loss on a charter fishing activity, you must materially participate in the activity. When the activity is organized as an LLC, you have more choices for material participation than a limited partner.

Owner Loses Business Loss Deductions

Ownership and involvement in your business may not be sufficient if your business suffers an operating loss. To deduct a business loss, you must materially participate in the business.

Real Estate Agent Is a Real Estate Broker for Passive Loss Rules

A real estate rental is automatically in the passive bucket if you do not qualify as a real estate professional. In this court case, a real estate agent qualified her real estate agent work time as time spent in a real property trade or business. Thus, she qualified to deduct her real estate rental property losses.

Real Estate Agent Avoids Passive Losses

Two tax attorneys told our group that time spent as a real estate agent actually worked against you for the time test (more than 50 percent) to qualify as a real estate professional. The attorneys claimed that in audits the IRS is disallowing the unlimited loss to people who are full-time agents, treating their agent work time as non–real estate time and thus making it just about impossible to meet the 50 percent test.

Buy Your Office

If you are currently renting your office, you should consider buying it. When your business purchases your office, you avoid most of the tax law hardships imposed on the purchase of a rental property. Use the Rent/Buy Office Analyzer, a program included in your subscription to this newsletter, to see the answers to all the qualifying questions. It also puts everything into numbers you can understand, the biggest of which is your “annual compound profit.” This is huge.

IRS Grants Extension to Group Rental Properties

Mr. and Mrs. Clark hired a new tax advisor. He told them that because they qualified as being in the real property business, they had available to them the tax law option of “group or not group” your rental properties and that grouping could release tax deductions currently trapped by the passive loss rules.

Vacant Rental Property

Rental property treatment starts on the day you place the property in service for rental use, not when you install a tenant. We answer one taxpayer’s questions about reporting a rental house for which he found no tenant.

Passive Losses for Doctor

Learn from one doctor’s situation. You can deduct passive losses of real estate every year, despite a high income. Forming a C corporation also might provide welcome relief.

Doctor’s Case Highlights Passive Loss Strategies

Learn from Dr. Uy’s mistakes: prepare your taxes correctly. In his case, he should have hired a tax advisor and preparer that would have saved him thousands of dollars. See what you can do to avoid his mistakes.

Renting to Your Corporation Does Not Produce Passive Income

Learn from one taxpayer’s court case: know the rules about renting to your corporation before claiming passive income.

Rental Loss Not Deductible

Carolyn Federson lost all of her rental property loss deductions when the court rejected some of the details of her rental property time records and made its own estimate of the time she spent on her rentals.

 

IRS Audit

One taxpayer is audited, and told incorrect information by an IRS agent. We give her proof to support her position.

IRS Audit of Rental Properties

The ability to deduct rental property losses can alter investment returns by as much as 40%. In many cases, the ability to deduct the losses can make the sole difference in making a profit or incurring a loss on the rental.

Court Declares $68,796 Rental Loss Passive

To win your rental property deductions you need proof of the time spent. This taxpayer had inadequate proof.

Lack of a Time Log Destroys Real Estate Loss Deductions

Andrew D’Avanzo had one very bad day in court. He did not group his rental properties, and had an insufficient time log that did not satisfy the court. He lost a lot of money. Learn from his mistakes: know the details about tax law!

Boots Deduction Lost

While testifying at his trial, this taxpayer learned how to deduct business clothing, gloves, and boots--too little, too late.

Four Major Rental Property Questions Answered: (1) Deducting Rental Losses, (2) Grouping Properties, (3) Tracking Rental Property Time, and (4) Material Participation

To treat your rental property as a tax shelter and deduct your rental property losses against non-passive income, you first need classification as a real estate professional and then you need material participation on the individual properties, or if grouped, on the group. Good and proper tracking of time spent by you and, if married, your spouse is required to prove both your real estate professional status and material participation.

Will the S Corporation That Owns Rental Property Terminate with Too Much Passive Income?

At a meeting of landlords, the guest lawyer stated that the S corporation terminates with too much passive income. Many attendees heard this comment incorrectly. The too much passive income termination problem applies to S corporations which were previously C corporations.

Hard Disk Crash Ruins Deductions

When you lose your tax records for any reason—including floods, theft, hurricanes, and earthquakes—you will find that the tax law grants no mercy to your lost records. You simply have the right to substantiate your deductions using a reasonable reconstruction of those records.

How the Business Condo Escapes the Tough Tax Rules

The properly used business condo does not run up against the vacation-home, passive-loss, or entertainment-facility rules.

Jack Up Your Profits with Tax Credits

Historic rehab tax credits can put you in Donald Trump’s self-proclaimed favorite spot. Tax credits often exceed the cash you invest in the project making the historic rental or office building a “nothing down” deal for you. Add nonrecourse financing to the package and you have no personal risk. None of your cash in the deal and no personal risk—this is Mr. Trump’s favorite spot. You might do as many Congressional leaders do: Donate your personal home’s historic facade to charity so can realize big tax credits.