Hobby or business - why does it matter?

If you are carrying on a business, you have tax and reporting obligations and benefits. You will need to consider a number of issues, including:

  • declaring your online sales income
  • money you receive from the activity will generally be assessable income
  • expenses incurred in earning this income will generally be deductible
  • you will need to keep accurate records of your expenses and sales in line with legal requirements
  • you may need an ABN
  • you may need to register for GST
  • if your activity results in a loss, you may be entitled to offset this loss against other income or carry it forward to offset against future income, and therefore reduce the income tax you might have to pay in the future.


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Further Information
  • Register for an ABN.
  • Register for GST if your income will reach or exceed the $75,000 threshold.
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What you need to do will also depend on your own particular circumstances - if you don't think you are currently carrying on a business but continue to sell online, check regularly to make sure that your activities still qualify as a hobby.

Online data matching

Data from online auction sites enables us to assess the level of tax compliance of individuals and businesses that sell goods or services online.

The data identifies members of online-selling sites who are involved in selling goods and services of a total value of $20,000 and greater.



For more information on how data is brought together from various sources, see Data matching.

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    Last modified: 12 Mar 2013QC 28130