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Hobby vs. Business 2021

If an individual, partnership, estate, trust, or an S corporation engages in an activity that is not conducted as a for-profit business, expenses (other than cost of goods sold) are not deductible. This rule does not apply to corporations, other than S corporations. If an activity is considered a for-profit business, deductions can exceed income, allowing the resulting loss to offset other income.

Determination

In determining whether an activity is a hobby or a business, all facts and circumstances are taken into account. No one factor can make the determination. The following list is not intended to be all inclusive. 

1) The manner in which the taxpayer carries on the activity. Factors that may indicate a business include maintaining complete and accurate books and records, carrying on the activity substantially similar to other profitable activities of the same nature, and changing operating methods and techniques to improve profitability.

2) The expertise of the taxpayer or his or her advisors. Factors that may indicate a business include knowledge of the taxpayer, or consultation with those who are knowledgeable about a particular industry, then using that knowledge to try and make a profit.

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