Hobby Income and Expenses

Per IRS Publication 17 Your Federal Income Tax For Individuals, page 72:

Activity not for profit. You must include on your return income from an activity from which you don’t expect to make a profit. An example of this type of activity is a hobby or a farm you operate mostly for recreation and pleasure. Enter this income on Schedule 1 (Form 1040), line 8. Deductions for expenses related to the activity are limited. They can’t total more than the income you report and can be taken only if you itemize deductions on Schedule A (Form 1040). See Not-for-Profit Activities in chapter 1 of Pub. 535 for information on whether an activity is considered carried on for a profit.

Per IRS Hobby or Business? IRS Offers Tips to Decide webpage:

Is it a Business or a Hobby? A key feature of a business is that people do it to make a profit. People engage in a hobby for sport or recreation, not to make a profit. Consider nine factors when determining whether an activity is a hobby. Make sure to base the determination on all the facts and circumstances. For more about ‘not-for-profit’ rules, see Publication 535, Business Expenses.

If an activity is not for profit, losses from that activity may not be used to offset other income. An activity produces a loss when related expenses exceed income. The limit on not-for-profit losses applies to individuals, partnerships, estates, trusts, and S corporations. It does not apply to corporations other than S corporations.

If your activity is not carried on for profit, expenses incurred cannot be deducted for tax years 2019-2025, due to tax reform. You do need to report any income received from your hobby.

To enter hobby income and expenses in the TaxAct® program:

  1. From within your TaxAct return (Online or Desktop), click Federal (on smaller devices, click in the top left corner of your screen, then click Federal).
  2. Click the Other Income dropdown, then click Prizes, awards, or other miscellaneous income.
  3. On the screen titled Miscellaneous - Amounts Received, enter the Hobby income amount.
  4. Continue with the interview process to enter your information.

Once you complete the entire itemized deductions section of the Q&A, TaxAct will use the higher of your itemized deductions or the standard deduction for your filing status to maximize the tax benefit to you.

Note that any link in the information above is updated each year automatically and will take you to the most recent version of the webpage or document at the time it is accessed.