Unearned Income

Unearned Income

Unearned revenue is a concept that only some people are familiar with. You might be familiar with “passive income” or “money that you get without performing a service.” In other words,  you are paid  without working for it. If you have an investment property, sources include rent from tenants, dividends, and interest income from interest-paying accounts. 

What is unearned income? 

Unearned income, including dividends, interest income, rental income, gifts, and donations, is money received from other sources besides employment. Its taxation differs from earned income, and the tax rates may change depending on the source. If a job is frequently on hold, it is considered a liability for the firm. 

Types of unearned income 

Understanding unearned income types is crucial to grasp the complexities of unearned income accounting fully. 

  • Investment income 

One common type of unearned income is investment income. This includes dividends and capital gains from stocks, mutual funds, and other securities. Dividends are payments made to shareholders by companies, while capital gains are the profits earned from selling an investment for more than its original purchase price.  

Another type of investment income is certificates of deposit, interest earned on savings accounts, and other financial instruments. 

  • Rental income  

This income is earned by renting a property, such as a house, apartment, or commercial building. Rental income can be a reliable source of passive income, but it requires careful management and upkeep of the property. 

  • Government benefits  

This includes social security benefits, disability payments, and unemployment compensation. These benefits are designed to provide financial support to individuals who cannot work or have experienced a loss of income. 

  • Royalties 

These are money received from the sales of a good or service. You may be eligible to receive royalties if you possess assets like patents and copyrights used to create goods or services that generate cash. You may also be entitled to royalties if anybody uses your name, likeness, or picture associated with commercial goods or services. 

  • Gifts 

Giving money or property without seeking anything in return is known as gifting. You may get presents from individual people, governments, or commercial entities. 

Unearned Income

Benefits of unearned income 

While most people focus on earning income through hard work and dedication, unearned income offers numerous benefits that cannot be overlooked. 

  • Source of passive income 

One of the main benefits of unearned income is that it provides a source of passive income. This means you can earn money without actively working, allowing you more free time to pursue other interests or spend time with loved ones. With passive income, you can earn money even when you’re not actively working, making it a great way to supplement your regular income. 

  • Provides financial security 

Another benefit of unearned income is that it offers financial security. Unlike earned income, which is subject to market fluctuations and economic downturns, unearned income is often more stable and predictable. This means you can rely on this income to provide a steady revenue stream, even during tough economic times. 

  • Tax benefits 

Unearned income also offers tax benefits, as it is often taxed at a low rate than earned income. This means you can keep more of your money and pay fewer taxes, which can help you save more for the future. Additionally, some types of unearned income, such as dividends and capital gains, are taxed relatively lower than other types of income, making them an attractive investment option. 

  • Long-term wealth accumulation 

Finally, unearned income offers the potential for long-term wealth accumulation. Investing in stocks, real estate, or other income-generating assets can build wealth over time and create a secured financial future for yourself and your family. With careful planning and smart investment decisions, unearned income can provide a stable source of income and help you achieve your financial goals. 

Examples of unearned income 

A real-world example of unearned income can be seen in the case of a wealthy individual who invests a large sum of money in stocks or bonds. The individual earns dividends from these investments, considered unearned income, as they do not result from active work or labour.   

Similarly, a person who rents out a property and earns rental income without actively managing the property can also be considered to be earning unearned income. Inheritance money received by an heir is another example of unearned income. This type of income is often taxed differently than earned income and can be an important source of wealth for those who receive it. However, it is important to note that unearned income is not a guaranteed source of income and can be subject to market fluctuations and other external factors. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Earned income results from active participation in a job or business, while unearned income comes from passive sources such as investments, rental properties, or inheritance. The main difference between unearned and earned income is how they are earned. Earned income results from work performed, while unearned income results from investments or other passive sources.  

Another difference is the way they are taxed. Earned income is subject to payroll taxes, while unearned income is generally not subject to payroll taxes. Additionally, the tax rates for unearned income are usually lower than those for earned income, depending on the source of the income. 

For children under 18, unearned income up to a certain threshold is taxed at the child’s tax rate, typically lower than the adult tax rate. However, if the child’s unearned income exceeds the threshold, the excess amount is taxed at the parent’s tax rate. For children aged 18 or older, unearned income is taxed at the same rate as earned income. 

To calculate your unearned income, start by dividing the entire sum of money you were paid by the period of months during which you pledged to perform service. For instance, you received US$4800; to calculate your monthly unearned income, divide the US$4800 you were paid to clean a room for six months by six. Thus, your unearned income in this scenario would be US$800 

Unearned income has the following advantages: 

  • Your income is supplemented, and your savings are increased. 
  • Adequate funds to cover unexpected expenses, such as medical expenditures or house repairs. 
  • Diversifying your income sources 
  • Get stability in your finances 
  • Increasing your net worth 

Unearned money is taxed in several ways. Certain unearned income sources are taxed at conventional income rates, while others are subject to more generous tax laws. Certain unearned income categories can allow for deferring tax obligations to a later time. 




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