Starting a business?

A business or a hobby?

What is a hobby?

A hobby is a pastime or leisure activity conducted in your spare time for recreation or pleasure.

Benefits of being a hobby

  • Personal enjoyment and satisfaction.
  • You can gift or sell your work for the cost of materials.
  • You can do it in your own time or when people contact you.
  • You don’t have the reporting obligations of a business.

What is a business?

You’re in business, if your activity, as a whole, is commercial with an aim to make a profit.

Benefits of being in business

  • You can apply for an Australian Business Number (ABN) to use in your business transactions.
  • You can register a website once you have an ABN.
  • You’ll have access to government information, services and concessions for business.
  • You can establish a business identity when selling to customers and other businesses.
  • You can claim tax deductions for business expenses against your taxable income.
  • It may give you the flexibility to manage your time and work your own hours.

How do I know if it’s a business or a hobby?

It’s important to understand the differences between a hobby and a business for tax, insurance and legal purposes.

Key questions to consider:

  • Is the activity being undertaken for commercial reasons?
  • Is your main intention, purpose or prospect to make a profit?
  • Do you regularly and repeatedly undertake your activity?
  • Is your activity planned, organised and carried out in a businesslike manner?

If you answered yes to most of these questions, you’re likely to be running a business, although it depends on your individual circumstances.

To get an answer specific to your circumstances contact our team who can help you decide whether you’re running a business or a hobby.

Did you know?

  • You don’t need to declare the amounts you make from your hobby to the ATO. You can’t claim any losses from your activity if it’s a hobby.
  • It’s a myth that there is a dollar threshold to be in a business. Some people can have very expensive hobbies! What matters is whether, as a whole, your activity is commercial with an aim to make a profit. If you’re in business, there are dollar thresholds that can affect what you can claim for tax purposes.


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