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 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'll also not be entitled for deductions for costs attributable to such activity. However, you should 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 aimed at having a particular 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 it 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 that you receive in connection with 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. Such items must be entered as income at sales value (or sales value not included the amount you paid for the item).
Gifts you discard
Some bloggers receives gifts they have not asked for, that they do not want and therefore discard. In order to not having to pay tax on the items you discard, 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 deductions
Tax: You can claim deductions for expenses that are related to the activity. This could be PCs, telephone and internet expenses, photographic equipment, etc.
Value added tax: You can only claim deductions for input VAT if you're registered in the VAT Register. When you're registered, you can claim deductions for VAT on expenses that are related to the blog (see the examples under “Tax” above). 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
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.
Registered in an affiliate program
As with other income, affiliate income will be included in the assessment of whether you have a hobby or run 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 programs function like other forms of text, video or banner advertising, in that you're paid to place an advertisement for a service, product or company on your blog. The difference is that affiliate program ads require not only that your visitors click an ad but also that a sale results from the click. When a click-through from the ad happens, and then a sale is made, you'll earn a pre-determined commission 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.