Blogging and social media

Blogging can be a hobby as well as a business activity. You must report all income, even if the income is tax-free.

Blogging as a hobby

Blogging is considered to be a hobby when it’s non-commercial, i.e. it does not generate a profit or financial benefits. Income from hobbies will not be taxable, and you’re not entitled to deductions for costs attributable to such activity. However, you must still declare any income in your tax return. See the definition of hobby/commercial activity, or contact your local tax office for more information.

Blogging as a commercial activity

Blogging is considered a commercial activity if it:

  • is carried on at own expense and risk
  • is expected to have a certain scope and duration, and
  • is likely to generate a profit

In practice, there are no strict requirements 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`ve 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 commercial activity, all income from the blog will be considered business income.

Do I need to pay tax, and what is the basis? 

  • All money and sponsored products of financial value that you receive in relation to sales blogs, online stores, product references, affiliates, assignments, etc. that are connected to the blogging.
  • All money you receive in connection with announcements, advertisements, etc.
  • Free or discounted products/gifts of financial value, e.g. makeup, hair and skin care products, books, clothing, journeys, games, technological equipment, childcare equipment, etc. Such items must be entered as income at sales value (or sales value after deducting what you paid for the item).

Gifts you discard

Some bloggers receive gifts they’ve not asked for, they do not want and therefore discard. To make sure you pay the right tax, you`ll need to make a note of what you`ve received and what you`ve discarded (internal voucher). You`ll need to date and sign it. 

You may be entitled to a deduction

Tax: You can claim a deduction for expenses that are related to the activity. This could be a PC, telephone and internet expenses, photographic equipment, etc. 

Value added tax: You can only claim a deduction for input VAT if you`re registered in the VAT Register. When you`re registered, you can claim a deduction for VAT on expenses that are related to the blog. Read more about VAT

As a self-employed person, you must keep accounts

Everyone who carries on commercial activity is subject to a bookkeeping obligation and must keep accounts even if they`re not obliged to submit annual accounts. 

Blog on foreign server 

The physical location of the blog/website has no significance for the tax and duty rules. The tax and duty liability is determined by the country from which the blog/website is operated. In other words, if the blog/website is located abroad, but operated from Norway, Norwegian tax and duty rules must be followed.

Registered in an affiliate program

In the same way as other income, affiliate income will be included in the assessment of whether you have a hobby or carry on commercial activity. As a self-employed person, you`ll be liable for tax on the affiliate income. See the definition of hobby/commercial activity.

Affiliate marketing is a form of marketing where an online business rewards one or more business partners for referring visitors or customers to the business.

Affiliate marketing works like other online text, video or banner advertising. You’ll get paid when advertising for a service, a product or a company on your blog. The difference is that income from affiliate marketing advertisement requires that the visitors not only click on the advertisement, but also that there’s a sale as a result of the click. When there is a click, and there’s a sale, you’ll earn a predetermined provision on that sale.

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.