About The Schedule E Rental Income Tax Form

Understanding rental income tax forms like the Schedule E is essential if you want to operate a profitable and scalable portfolio.

What exactly is the IRS Schedule E: Supplemental Income and Loss tax form, and is it necessary for you to fill one out? If you have income from real estate investments the answer is likely yes. Whether you possess multiple rental properties or just one, you are obligated to declare your rental income to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

In this article, we take a closer look at the rental income tax forms. So, if you’re interested in getting a better understanding of the schedule e and schedule c forms and how to fill them out then read on. 

What Is The IRS Form Schedule E?

Schedule E is part of Form 1040. It is used to report the income and loss from a wide range of supplemental income sources. This is income that is not earned through a business activity like employment.

Supplemental income is considered passive income, such as rent payments. Of course, as a landlord, you know that rental income is anything but passive, no matter what the IRS says. Examples of supplemental income sources that require you to file a Schedule E include rental income, royalties, S corps, partnerships, and a few other sources.

As such, if you own rental properties then you will most likely need to file a supplemental income and loss form schedule e.

You can download the most recent version of the schedule e form from irs.gov here.

Understanding The Different Sections of Form 1040 Schedule E

Schedule E Part 1

Part I of Schedule E is where you report your rental income. This includes the rent you receive from your tenants, any advance rent, and any rental expenses paid by the tenant.

Schedule E Part 2

Part II of Schedule E is all about expenses. Here, you will need to list your total expenses by category for each of your properties. Properly categorizing your expenses is vital, as it ensures you claim all the deductions you're entitled to while staying compliant with IRS regulations.

Schedule E Part 3 & 4

Parts III and IV of Schedule E cover Cost of Goods Sold and Conservation Easements, respectively. These sections might not apply to every landlord, but it's advisable to consult with your CPA and become familiar with these sections.

How Much Can You Deduct As A Landlord?

If you are deemed to be an active participant in the management of your properties you may be able to deduct up to $25,000 worth of expenses from your taxable income each year. Losses that go over this amount and losses beyond your income for that year can roll over to the following year.

For example, if your property were to bring in $20,000 worth of income, however, you reported $30,000 worth of expenses in this same year. As this is over the income amount you would carry the $10,000 worth of loss to be deducted against your following year’s income.

In certain scenarios, you may even be able to deduct your rental losses against your personal income tax. This would allow you to deduct a further $5,000 – this time from taxed income through other sources, eg. your employment. However, note you would still only be able to deduct the maximum of $25,000 – the remaining $5,000 of losses would still roll over to the following year.

For more detailed information read:

schedule e form 2020

Distinguishing Schedule E From Self-Employment Tax

As mentioned above, even though you might invest significant amounts of time and effort in managing and operating your rentals, the income derived from rental real estate is classified as passive income by the IRS. Due to this categorization, income generated from real estate investments is not subjected to self-employment tax.

Activities that are labeled as passive are those in which owners do not actively engage on a regular, substantial, and ongoing basis. Activities that necessitate active participation are treated differently by the IRS, as losses incurred from passive activities are limited to the extent of gains achieved. Conversely, losses originating from active activities do not face such limitations.

As such, because real estate income is regarded as passive (unless you qualify for active participation), you can only offset passive losses against passive gains.

You might like: Passive Activity and Passive Activity Loss Limitations in Real Estate

Schedule C vs. Schedule E

While a Schedule E is the tax form used for reporting rental income, if you provide certain services - services that categorized by the IRS as substantial services - to your tenants, you may need to fill out the Schedule C of your Form 1040 tax form (or Form 1065 if your business is classified as a partnership).

For example, if you rent out a unit and pass on charges for basic services to your tenants for things such as utilities, yard maintenance, trash removal, etc, then you would report these rental incomes and expenses on Part I of the Schedule E form.

However, if you offer services that go above and beyond what is typical of a landlord to provide, such as a concierge, food delivery, or regular cleaning services then the IRS views this income differently. As such, for this example you’d report your rental income and total expenses on Schedule C of your Form 1040 tax form 

It’s also important to note that in the event that you provide substantial services – like a regular maid or meal service – and must submit a Schedule C, you will also be subject to self-employment tax as well.

Who Needs To File A Schedule E Tax Form?

Individuals possessing any form of real estate investments are generally required to fill out a Schedule E rental income tax form. However, as previously mentioned, there are some varied requirements for individual investors compared to those who are partners or shareholders of S corporations.

Individual investors

Every individual engaged in real estate investment, whether it involves renting a room within their residence or owning an entire apartment complex, must complete Schedule E. If this scenario pertains to you, this rental property form will be included as a component of your Form 1040, which serves as the fundamental document that U.S. taxpayers utilize to disclose their yearly income tax.

Partners and Shareholders of S Corporations

For rental real estate income generated through partnerships and S-Corporations, real estate investors must utilize legal entities and submit Form 8825. It's important to note that if you hold ownership in such an entity, you, as an individual taxpayer, will also need to submit a duplicate of the business's Schedule K-1 – a document somewhat akin to a W-2 form used for reporting employment income.

A Schedule K-1 form is provided by business entities to partners and owners, equipping them with the necessary information to accurately report their specific portions of the business's gains and losses.

You might like: How to Structure Your Real Estate Business: Sole Proprietorship, Partnership, LLC, or S-Corporation?

How Do I Prepare My Schedule E Tax Form?

The Schedule E part of the rental income tax form covers a broad range of supplemental income sources. This can make it seem a little daunting. However, taxpayers only need to complete the sections which apply to them directly.

Real estate investors can follow these steps to get their Schedule E ready:

  1. Collect financial data: Gather papers showing what you earned from renting and what you spent on your property, like repairs, taxes, and mortgage interest. The easiest way to do this is to simply run a Schedule E report on Landlord Studio.
  1. Fill in the rental property form: If you’ve used the Landlord Studio default expense categories to track your income and expenses you will simply need to copy across the data into the relevant fields. If you have miscategorized expenses consult an accountant to get your financial data in order before filling out the form.
  1. Check for accuracy: Make sure your numbers are correct. This will help ensure you avoid an IRS audit and will allow you to claim the maximum allowable amount in deductions so you can save more money and increase your property ROI

Helpful tip: Use Landlord Studio’s bank feeds and receipt scanner feature to automate income and expense tracking and easily reconcile transactions for accurate up-to-date books devoid of errors. Save as much as $500 more per property per year at tax time.

What If The Rental Property Is Also For Personal Use?

Individuals who purchase a second home for vacations might also choose to rent it out. Income from these occasional rentals (if the property is rented out for more than 14 days of the year) needs to be reported on Schedule E. And you can also deduct the operating expenses.

You will need to calculate the properties fair rentals days - this is the portion of the year the property is rented out versus when it's used for personal vacations. This is especially important for expenses like depreciation.

Reporting Fair Rental Days

When inputting your property’s address and type, you'll also provide the Fair Rental Days and Personal Use Days.

These figures are crucial for the IRS in determining the property's classification as a residence, impacting the deductibility of expenses. If your personal use exceeds 14 days or 10% of the total days rented at a fair price, the property is generally deemed a residence by the IRS.

Remember, expenses related to Personal Use Days are non-deductible, even if the property isn't classified as a home. Fair Rental Days specifically denote the actual number of days the unit was rented out, not just the total availability for rent.

Reporting Your Rental Business’s Return

Typically, the business entity will claim relevant business tax deductions, which cover expenses like depreciation, management fees, and mortgage interest.

Yet, it's important to note that partnerships and S corporations engaged in rental real estate need to fill out Form 1065. This form details total income, allowable expenses, and net profits. Then, Form 1065 is attached to Form 8825 for submission.

You might like: How Much Profit Should You Make on A Rental Property?

Schedule E FAQs

Filling out rental income tax forms can be complicated and the Schedule E is no different. Below, we answer several frequently asked questions (FAQs). If you don’t find the answers you need below or would like more information, it’s recommended you reach out to a qualified tax professional who can also help you complete any required rental property forms.

What rental property tax forms do I need to file?

Real estate investors are recognized as distinct entities for tax purposes. These entities need to file their own taxes. Individuals involved in real estate investment need to file Form 1040 and the Schedule E component to report rental income and expenses.

Business entities may also need to issue Schedule K-1 forms to individual investors. This enables each investor to complete their personal tax filings accurately.

For partnerships and S corporations, investors are required to file Form 8825. To verify their profits with the federal government, investors and partners will need to attach their K-1 forms to their rental income tax returns. 

Visit our article here for a more detailed breakdown of landlord tax forms.

Is short-term rental income subject to self-employment tax?

With the rise in popularity of short-term rental arrangements, the IRS has recognized that individuals who own short-term rentals (often involving services beyond regular landlord duties) might activate self-employment taxes on their extra earnings. Short-term rental owners should also stay vigilant about the possibility of state or local taxes that could apply to them.

Can a C Corporation qualify for passive activity rules?

The same factors and restrictions mentioned earlier regarding passive activity are relevant to passive income from real estate investment even when it's produced by closely held C corporations.

These businesses must file Form 8810 to report rental income, however.

Final Words: Using Landlord Studio to Track Income and Expenses

Looking for an easier tax time? Landlord Studio has developed a Schedule E report that you can generate instantly, print out, and quickly use it to fill out your Schedule E form.

Below we explore five ways Landlord Studio can save you time money and hassles when it comes to filing your rental property tax forms.

You might also like: 10 Best Rental Property Management Software for 2023

Landlord studio dashboard

1. Manage on the go

Landlord Studio is available on all devices, what this means is you can stay on top of your properties wherever you have your phone. Simply open the app and enter things like income and expenses as you go.

On top of this, you can easily digitize receipts by taking a quick photo of them with your phone and storing them in your account.

2. Easily itemize expenses

Our default expense categories are in line with IRS requirements making it easie rthan ever to correctly categorize rental property expenses for tax purposes. Simply enter the expense details, select the relevant category from the drop-down, and hit save.

3. Track expenses on an organization, property or unit level

It’s important you have the correct segmentation of your income expenses when completing the Schedule E form and filing your taxes. We allow you to organize expenses on an organization, property, and even per-unit level.

4. Advanced reporting

Instantly generate any of over 15 advanced reports to quickly gain nuanced financial insights into your portfolio, maximize profits, and make tax time easy.

5. Create a Schedule E report

At the end of the year simply run your Schedule E report and copy across the details. This report breaks down and organizes your income and expenses on a property basis to help speed up the filing of your taxes.

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