Millions of people enjoy hobbies that are also a source of income. Some examples include stamp and coin collecting, craft making, and horsemanship. You must report on your tax return the income you earn from a hobby. The rules for how you report the income and expenses depend on whether the activity is a hobby or a business.
Is it a Business or a Hobby? A key feature of a business is that you do it to make a profit. You should consider nine factors when you determine whether your activity is a hobby.
- Whether you carry on the activity in a businesslike manner.
- Whether the time and effort you put into the activity indicate you intend to make it profitable.
- Whether you depend on income from the activity for your livelihood.
- Whether your losses are due to circumstances beyond your control (or are normal in the start up phase of your type of business).
- Whether you change your methods of operation in an attempt to improve profitability.
- Whether you, or your advisor, have the knowledge needed to carry on the activity as a successful business.
- Whether you were successful in making a profit in similar activities in the past.
- Whether the activity makes a profit in some years, and how much profit it makes.
- Whether you can expect to make a future profit from the appreciation of the assets used in the activity.