When is blogging considered to be a hobby?
Blogging is considered to be a hobby when it is non-commercial in nature, i.e. it does not generate a profit or financial benefits. Income from hobbies will not be taxable, but you will also not be entitled to deductions for costs attributable to such activity. However, you should still declare any income in your tax return. See the definition of hobby/business, or contact your local tax office for more information.
When is blogging considered to be a commercial activity?
Blogging is considered to be a commercial activity if it:
- is carried on at the business’s own expense and risk.
- is aimed at having a particular scope and duration, and
- is likely to generate a profit.
In practice, strict requirements apply regarding duration and scope, so the most important criterion is whether the activity is likely to generate a profit. The profit must include a reasonable return on what you have invested in order to carry on the activity, and must be expected to provide a reasonable salary given your investment in the activity.
If the blogging is considered to constitute commercial activity, all income from the blog will be considered business income.
What income will I have to pay tax and/or VAT on?
- All money and sponsored products of financial value which you receive based on sales blogs, online stores, product references, affiliates, assignments, etc. which are linked to the blogging.
- All money which you receive on the basis of announcements, advertisements, etc.
- Free or discounted products/gifts of financial value, e.g. jewellery, hair and skin care products, books, clothing, travel, games, technological equipment, childcare equipment, etc. This must be recognised as income at the sales value (or alternatively the sales value minus the amount you paid for the product).
I write a blog and sometimes receive gifts. Some of these are things I haven’t asked for and throw away. Will I have to pay tax on them?
In order to avoid taxation, you must prepare an internal voucher on which you state what you have discarded. The voucher must be discarded and signed.
What can I receive deductions for when I run a blog as a commercial activity?
Tax: You can claim deductions for costs which are related to the activity. This could for example include PCs, telephone and internet expenses, photographic equipment, etc.
Value added tax: You can only claim deductions for input VAT if you are registered in the Value Added Tax Register. When you are registered in this register, you can claim deductions for VAT on costs which relate to the blog (see the examples under “Tax” above).
Will I be liable for VAT when I write a blog?
When your income/gifts from the blog exceeds NOK 50,000 during a 12-month period, you must register in the VAT Register. In order to be registered, you must submit an application. You will then be entitled to deductions for VAT on expenses you have incurred in connection with the blog.
Will I have to prepare accounts when I run a blog as a commercial activity?
Everyone who carries on commercial activity is subject to a bookkeeping obligation and must prepare accounts. If you have fewer than 300 vouchers per year, you can prepare your accounts in a spreadsheet. The spreadsheet must be clear and easy to cross-check.
If you have more than 300 vouchers per year, you will be subject to a full bookkeeping obligation. For more information, see the Bookkeeping Act.
What will I have to remember if the blogging is considered to be a commercial activity?
- You must register as a business in the Register of Legal Entities. Use the Coordinated register notification. Once the registration process is complete, you will be assigned an organisation number.
- Retain all documentation which concerns income and costs.
- It can be an advantage to set up a separate (operating) account in order to make it easier to keep track of what belongs to the blog business and what is private.
- When you start a business and it generates a profit, you must pay advance tax on the anticipated income.
- When your turnover passes NOK 50,000 during a 12-month period, you must register in the Value Added Tax Register.
- Note that you must not invoice VAT until your business has been registered in the VAT Register.
- Contact your local tax office if you have any questions.
I have a blog/website on a foreign server. Will I be liable to pay tax to Norway or to the country where the server is situated?
Where the blog/website is physically located is of no significance for the tax and duty rules. The tax and duty liability is determined by the country from which the blog/website is run. In other words, if the blog/website is located in another country, but run from Norway, Norwegian tax and duty rules must be followed.
I am registered with an affiliate programme. Will I have to pay tax on this income?
In the same way as with other income, affiliate income will be included in the assessment of whether you run a hobby or a business. As a self-employed person, you will be liable for tax on the affiliate income. See the definition of hobby/business.
(Affiliate marketing is a form of marketing where an online business rewards one or more business partners for visitors or customers who are referred to the business. For example, the owner of a website or blog may refer to a product or a supplier via a link to the business’s website.)