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Hobby or business?

It can be difficult to draw the line between hobby activities and commercial activities (business). It's not just about whether the business brings in money or not - you can make money from your hobby without it being considered a business.

What is a hobby?

What distinguishes a hobby is that it is practiced in the spare time by the hobbyists themselves and that there is no profit motive.

Handicraft, beekeeping, horticulture, animal husbandry, hunting, fishing, equestrian sports and cultural activities are examples of possible hobby activities. A hobby is:

  • something you do in your spare time
  • not your main source of income
  • non-profit.

There is no bookkeeping obligation for hobby activities, but you are obliged to make notes. This means that you should save notes, bills, receipts and more before the declaration.

Hobby activities do not entitle you to F-tax. A few hobbyists are considered to be running an economic activity and this means that the activity is subject to VAT, even though it is not deemed to be a business activity.

What is a business activity?

When you run a business, you can apply for approval for F tax. If your business is subject to VAT, you can also apply to be registered for VAT.

What is a business activity at the Swedish Tax Agency (in Swedish)

When you start a business as a sole trader, you are approved for F-tax. Normally, you will also be deemed to be engaged in an economic activity, in which case you must also register for VAT.


You cannot choose yourself whether your activity is deemed to be a hobby or a business. Among the criteria for a business activity – permanence, independence and profit motive – a hobby usually only meets the requirements of permanence and independence. The work effort itself is not decisive. A hobby can generate a surplus, but still lack a profit motive.

The line between a hobby activity and an economic activity is sometimes difficult to draw. In many cases, an overall assessment may be required in which all aspects of the activity are considered.

Some factors that indicate that it is a business activity:

  • There is an intention to run the business permanently.
  • There is a business plan, financial calculations or similar.
  • Marketing is done to reach customers or a customer base.
  • Special permits are available (if needed).
  • There is a special room for the activity.
  • Various purchases/investments have been made which are typical for business activities.

It is you who runs the business who must be able to show that there is a profit motive and that it is a business activity. Drawing the line between hobby and business is always a matter of evidence and assessment.

The Tax Agency decides whether your surplus should be taxed as a hobby activity in the income category service or as a business activity.

Occational assignments

If you only expect to receive a few occasional assignments, it is not considered a business activity, even if the assignments are carried out independently and there is a profit motive. Such temporary income is normally hobby or service income.


The difference between a hobby and an economic activity has nothing to do with quality, but is about how you will be taxed. A business must be taxed in one of the income categories capital, business or service. It is important that taxation takes place in the correct income category for the treatment of deficits and calculation of social security contributions.

If you generate a surplus from your hobby activity, this is taxed as paid work. You pay your own social security contributions in the form of self-employed person’s social security contributions (egenavgifter).

If your activity is run on a commercial basis and is independent, it is taxed as income from a business activity.

Hobby activities at the Swedish Tax Agency (in Swedish)

Frequently asked questions about hobby or business

Running your own business alongside your job

It is common to run your own business alongside your employment. You can earn extra income and test your idea without big risks. But remember, taxes, SGI (sickness benefit qualifying income), and pension can be affected.

Being both employed and self-employed