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Do I need to group my rental activities together?
Yes. Otherwise you will need to prove 750-hour rule for real estate professional for each property, including the proof of material participation in each property. That’s tough. The election is simply a statement that is attached to your tax return. And under Revenue Procedure 2010-13, you can make the election retroactively (typically requires amending a tax return just for the election).
Disallowed losses prior to grouping your rental activities together are suspended if you also claim the real estate professional designation with material participation. Unbundling is required during a sale of a property to deduct the disallowed and suspended losses.
Grouping also helps taxpayers obtain the 10% interest requirement in the activity for active participation.
Lastly, with the new Medicare surcharges being attached to passive incomes, grouping your activities into one activity while materially participating as a real estate professional allows you to minimize this tax consequence.