Does it matter if I work from home?
If you have a home-based hobby (which includes selling goods or
services resulting from that hobby) and it has increased in size or
sales, you should check if it is still a hobby or is now a
The questions below can help you understand whether your online
selling is a hobby or a business.
Every 'yes' answer increases the likelihood you are carrying on
a business - but you need to consider all of your answers to gain a
complete picture of your situation.
Did you set up your online sales with the intention of being a
If you set up a 'shop' on an online trading or auction site, you
may be carrying on a business - this is more likely if you paid
fees to operate this 'shop'.
Do you pay for your online-selling presence?
If the online space you sell on looks like a shop, has a brand
name, proper business name or any other signs that people would
likely consider to be a business, then you are likely to be
carrying on a business - this is more likely if you paid fees for
this to occur.
Is your main intention to make a profit?
If you sell items online because you intend to make a profit,
then you are likely to be carrying on a business.
However, even if you do not make a profit, you may still be
carrying on a business - for example, if you sell household goods
or possessions that you don't want anymore, although you may get a
'good' price it is unlikely to be a business.
However, if you deliberately buy items to sell online for more
money than you paid, then you are likely to be carrying on a
Do you make repeated or regular sales?
If you sell items online on a regular basis, you may be carrying
on a business.
These sales could be to the same customer, or a number of
For example, if you sell a number of items every week (or month)
for an extended period of time, then you may be carrying on a
If you make the items you sell online, do you charge more than
they cost you to make?
If you charge more for items than they cost you, then you are
likely to be carrying on a business.
For example, if you make or buy an item cheaply and then sell it
online for significantly more than you paid for it, then you have
made a profit and might need to declare that income. If you do this
regularly, you are more likely to be carrying on a business.
Do you manage your online-selling activity as if it was a
If you do any of the following, you may be carrying on an online
- your online-selling activity is organised and has systems and
processes in place
- you advertise your online space
- you keep some or all of your records
- you have a business plan.
If you sell items in the same way and timeframe as a business in
the same industry, then you may be carrying on a business.
Is what you are selling online similar or the same as what
might be sold in a 'bricks and mortar' business?
If the items or services you are selling are commonly available
or reasonably easy to find in an offline store, then you are likely
to be carrying out a business and these sales should be included as