active passive
Click here for Top Ten Discussions. CLICK HERE for Q & A Homepage
Receive Free Rental Owner Updates Email:  
MrLandlord Q & A
active passive (by bob [KY]) Mar 10, 2008 4:26 PM
       active passive (by T.T. [MA]) Mar 10, 2008 4:58 PM
       active passive (by Natalie [CA]) Mar 10, 2008 5:07 PM
       active passive (by Smokowna [MD]) Mar 10, 2008 5:44 PM
       active passive (by Drew [CO]) Mar 10, 2008 7:32 PM
       active passive (by otter [KY]) Mar 11, 2008 7:17 AM
       active passive (by Bob [KY]) Mar 11, 2008 2:52 PM
       active passive (by Hamlet [GA]) Mar 12, 2008 12:28 PM

active passive (by bob [KY]) Posted on: Mar 10, 2008 4:26 PM

State Specific Question About: KENTUCKY (KY)

My participation in the day-to-day managing of my 5 unit building is very minimal. I have a manager that writes the leases and contacts me for approval on new tenants as to go or no go. I have done things such as clean gutters, repair siding, replace sump pump etc.

My question is: What constitutes active vs. passive participation in this business venture? Thank you in advance.


active passive (by T.T. [MA]) Posted on: Mar 10, 2008 4:58 PM

The way I see it is that the people who take an active role in managing their properties are the ones who have low turnover and tenants who follow the rules don't cause problems. The people who prefer to be more passive are the ones who post about being surprised when they find a unit's been trashed or that a tenant's moved out and the place is full of strangers.

active passive (by Natalie [CA]) Posted on: Mar 10, 2008 5:07 PM

If you manage day to day, take call from tenants, coordinate if things need to be fixed or fix them yourself, do inspections, resove issues, as well as screen tenants, you're active.

active passive (by Smokowna [MD]) Posted on: Mar 10, 2008 5:44 PM

Have you searched IRS? Normally the code is written in a fair manner. I would expect that if you are as involved as mentioned that you could pass for active. If you feel you don't, I would do that little bit extra to make the grade.

" Under IRC sections 469(c)(2) and (c)(4), income from rental real estate is generally considered passive activity income, regardless of the taxpayer's level of involvement in the property. However, the recharacterization


The treatment of a contribution as being made to another type of IRA instead of the IRA that the contribution was initially made.


For instance, an individual may make a participant contribution to a Traditional IRA, but may later recharacterize the contribution to a Roth IRA.

Roth IRA conversions can be reversed by means of a recharacterization, however, this movement of assets must include earnings (or losses). or self-rental rule of regulations section 1.469-2(f)(6) provides that rental realty income is not passive activity income if the property is rented for use in a trade or business in which the taxpayer materially participates. This rule prevents a taxpayer with passive activity lossesPassive Activity Loss (PAL)

A loss incurred in participating in passive investing.

..... Click the link for more information. from artificially creating passive activity income to absorb the losses. "


active passive (by Drew [CO]) Posted on: Mar 10, 2008 7:32 PM

According to the Nolo (by Attorney Stephen Fishman) book, "Every landlord'd Tax Deduction Guide,":

"You don't have to work any set number of hours to actively participate, you simply have to be the person who makes the final decisions about approving tenants, arranging for repairs, setting rents and other management tasks..." it says a bunch more. It's definitely a book worth purchasing.

I have to say though, I really like T.T.'s definition too. :)

active passive (by otter [KY]) Posted on: Mar 11, 2008 7:17 AM

I'm interested in this thumbs-up, thumbs-down on approving tenants; presumably is the PM is doing the screening (and doing it properly), he would present to you in the end only those tenants who qualify. On what basis, then, do you -- or CAN you -- approve one over the other? When I, um, voiced an opinion on the acceptability of a candidate I just happened totally by chance to encounter, I was told in no uncertain terms that I had no voice in the matter; talk about scared witless! Fortunately that conversation ended our partnership, but in addition to the contract giving him the vote, he also pointed out the whole discrimination of the five protected classes thing. Even on my advisement, he couldn't discriminate for those reasons.

So how does that work, exactly? I'd never again hire a PM without having veto power. --162.114.xx.xx

active passive (by Bob [KY]) Posted on: Mar 11, 2008 2:52 PM

Thank you for the responses. Based on calls to the IRS and other info. I have decided that there is no true "acid test" that determines active vs. passive. I will take my chances and continue to remain "active". The IRS had a hard time when, I called them, determining whether replacing a sump pump was an improvement or maintenance. I called it an improvement based on their advise. The hot water heater I just replaced in one of my units is "repairs" not an improvement. After all, is having hot water a improvement?

active passive (by Hamlet [GA]) Posted on: Mar 12, 2008 12:28 PM

Here is the way I understand it: if you have a full time W-2 job, then you are a passive investor. Otherwise, you can demonstrate that you are an active participant by keeping some records that show you devote a certain number of hours yearly (used to be 750) to the venture. I believe that you can also qualify as what the IRS considers a "real estate professional" by getting a RE license. Now, I know that makes no sense at all, but we are dealing with the IRS here.

If your other income is over a certain amount, your losses are limited, but I think they are limited to no more than $25K per year regardless - could be wrong about that. But anything you can't write off isn't lsot, it is just deferred to the future, either when you can write off or when you sell the property.

Someone made ref to an IRS Pub - I think what you want is Publication 527 - Residential Rental Property - download in pdf form from

And finally, I believe that investing in a tax professional who knows RE is always money well spent for anyone doing the rental property thing. Don't try to do it yourself. In addition to the above topic, there is the matter of depreciation - my eyes cross when I look at those depreciation schedules.

The IRS would deny this, but I believe that when they see a return with any complex issues on it - like depreciation - and there is no "paid preparer's" signature on the return, they put that one in the basket for special attention later.

Subject: RE: active passive
Your Name:
Your State:

active passive
Would you like to be notified via email when somebody replies to this thread?
If so, you must include your valid email address here. Do not add your address more than once per thread/subject. By entering your email address here, you agree to receive notification from every time anyone replies to "this" thread. You will receive response notifications for up to one week following the original post. Your email address will not be visible to readers.
Email Address: