Hobby or business?

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The boundary between hobby and commercial activity is not clearly defined in law. Hobbies are tax-free, while commercial activity is taxable. 

To determine when an activity is a hobby or commercial activity, a specific assessment must be carried out to determine whether your enterprise:

  • is being carried on at your own expense and risk
  • has a certain scope
  • is likely to generate a surplus over time
  • is aimed at having a particular duration.

Start-up period

  • Before the first year in which commercial activity is considered to be taxable, you can have a start-up period of up to five years.
  • The Norwegian Tax Administration requires expenses and income to be documented.
  • In order to claim deductions for start-up costs incurred during previous years, form RF-1298 "Oppstart av virksomhet" (Starting a business - in Norwegian) must be completed for the relevant years. You must submit this form together with the first income statement after start-up of the enterprise.

Employee or self-employed?

In certain contexts, you must consider whether you are an employee or self-employed. This is important for the way in which payments for completed assignments will be handled.


We give examples of how hobbies such as horsesworkshopsflatbread production and blogging can become commercial activity.

See also the examples and rules for e-commerce.

You can also read about tax-free odd jobsand what we say about the sharing economy and tax.