By topic: Hobbies

Hobby Loss Rule Raises Its Ugly Head

Did you know your hobby or supposed business-loss activity could leave you with a hefty tax bill? Discover the implications of the hobby loss rule, and learn from the real-life case of Carl and Leila Gregory.

NFTs and Taxes: New Rules and What You Need to Know

NFTs—short for “non-fungible tokens”—are one of the hottest types of digital assets. Unlike Bitcoin, they are not digital currency. Instead, they represent ownership of virtual or physical assets. NFTs can be bought and sold on online platforms. Such sales result in ordinary income for NFT creators. Purchasers face the collectibles rules if the NFTs are collectibles and the owner can recognize capital gains or losses both on initial purchase and later sales.

Crowdfunding: Is It Taxable?

Billions of dollars are raised each year through crowdfunding websites such as GoFundMe and Kickstarter. Whether this money is taxable income to the recipient depends on whether it is a gift, a payment made in return for a reward, a loan, or a payment made in return for equity ownership in a business.

Is Your Sideline Activity a Business (Good) or a Hobby (Not Good)?

If you operate a sideline business that produces tax losses that you deduct on your Form 1040, beware. The IRS can attack that sideline business as a hobby. If the IRS wins, you lose—and you could lose big.

Tax Rules That Allow Tax Deductions for Your Yacht

To get a tax deduction for your yacht, use it for business travel and avoid the entertainment facility rules. If you run afoul of the entertainment facility rules, you have one small hope. To maximize your deductions, you want more than 50 percent business use and knowledge of the luxury water transportation tax deduction limits.

Q&A: Guide to Published TCJA Tax Reform Articles

Here’s a resource guide that gives you the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act tax reform articles published at the Bradford Tax Institute from January 1 through July 31, 2018, including for each article the (a) topic, (b) code section, (c) prior law, (d) new law, and (e) link.

Do Your Business Losses Make You an IRS Target? If So, Do This

The tax law has always treated your hobby activities unfairly. Tax reform under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act made that unfair treatment even worse by preventing you from deducting any business expenses against hobby income. In this article, you see a strategy that can save your bacon on your hobby activity.

Q&A: Loophole to Deduct Hobby Expenses after Tax Reform

Tax reform killed the ability for you to deduct expenses for your hobby activity. But if you sell items in your hobby activity, the IRS allows you to deduct the cost of those items—if you do this the right way. Not knowing this rule can cost you thousands of dollars in extra taxes.


Tax Reform Puts Screws to Hobbies

Hobbies have been mistreated by the tax law for a long time. But the most recent tax reform brings the grim reaper to the party and it’s not pleasant. This means you need to focus on making your activity a business and not a hobby.

The Gambler’s Tax Guide—How to Protect Your Winnings from the IRS

If you win big at the casino, the government is going to ask for its share of the proceeds. Gambling income is taxable, and casinos must, by law, report big wins to the IRS. But the law provides you a way to offset your gambling income and thereby reduce your taxes. You just have to know the rules, including whether you are a professional or amateur gambler, and keep the right records.

How to Deduct the Costs of Thinking about Starting a New Business

The government allows you to deduct and amortize a host of start-up costs and organizational costs when starting a new business. The tax rules in this area are unforgiving, meaning mistakes can prove costly. With proper planning, though, you can save money from your “thinking about it” costs and beyond.

Three Strategies to Beat the Hobby Loss Rules

When you have a side business that produces a net loss, you automatically get to use that loss to lower your taxable income, right? Not so fast! The IRS could destroy those losses (and more) with one of the nastiest tax laws out there—the hobby loss rule. With an activity that’s showing losses, you need strategies to ensure your loss deductions.

How to Treat Your Coin, Stamp, and Baseball Card Activities

Tax law places your collectible activity in one of four tax categories: (1) hobby, (2) investment, (3) trader, or (4) dealer. This means your collectible activity can, depending on category, trigger the AMT, capital gains, and self-employment taxes. When you know the rules that place you in these categories, you can make adjustments. Sometimes the adjustments are easy; at other times, they require rethinking the collectibles activity.

Tax Tips to Know If You Buy Gold, Art, Antiques, or Stamps

If you invest in gold, stamps, or antiques but you don’t know the tax rules governing collectors, you’re probably falling into costly tax traps that you could easily avoid with tax knowledge. When you put yourself in position to improve your tax situation, you put more money in your pocket (which gives you more money to build your collection). Read this article to discover how you can deduct your collection expenses and also minimize your taxes when you sell your items for a profit.

Tax Deductions for Failed Business

You are right to worry about the hobby loss rules when a business fails, because those rules would give you no tax deductions for the failed business. But if you worked at the business, kept decent records, and tried to make money, you had a business, and that business failure would produce tax deductions as explained in this article.

How the Taxman Gets You with Backdoor Taxes

Have lawmakers inserted any sleight of hand into your Form 1040 tax calculations? Yes, they have! And it’s really terrible. For example, the alternative minimum tax (AMT) rules make you pay taxes on your tax deductions. How’s that for true sleight-of-hand terribleness? The AMT even makes you pay taxes on the personal exemptions the regular tax law grants for your children. It’s outrageous. But, because you own a business, there are some things you can do to get even.

Doctor’s Amway Business Ruled a Sham

When you operate a side business at a loss, the IRS might think your money-losing business is simply your private tax shelter and, if so, attack it as a hobby (i.e., activity not engaged in for profit). In the regulations, the IRS looks at nine factors to decide whether you can deduct your business losses. This article shows you how the rules worked against Dr. Mikhail and how you can avoid a similar fate.

Helping Daughter Creates Hobby That Kills Tax Deductions

Don’t be a victim of your own success. When you operate two businesses, one that is profitable and one that is not, the IRS likes to attack the deductions of the losing business. When the IRS attacks, you are in for a fight. But it’s a fight that you can win with knowledge and planning.

Music Business Beats the Unfair Hobby Loss Rule

See how this musician could lose money for seven years in a row and prove that he was in the music business to make a profit. This was important. By winning his case, he cut his taxes by more than $17,000 for the two years at issue before the court. If you have an activity that you hope is a business activity, but that might be a hobby, you need to read this article.

Tax Deduction for Classic Car Used in Business

How does the tax law treat the classic car when you use it for business? Can you deduct it just as you would any car you use in business? Learn how some tax law changes enabled the classic car as a business asset and why that can work to your advantage.

IRS Audit Defense Insurance Fails Totally

Doing your taxes yourself using tax preparation software is dangerous business. You might realize the danger up front and decide that you need some type of audit defense or representation insurance in case of an IRS audit. And then, once the audit commences and you engage your audit defense team, find yourself in the soup like the couple in this article.

Can I Deduct My Handgun?

You would think that you could find a straightforward tax answer to deducting or not deducting the handgun you carry for business protection. Not true. There is just one case and it is likely not right on point, but it does give you something to consider.

New Tax Court Ruling Makes Gamblers Rejoice

Hallelujah, gamblers in the business of gambling may now deduct business expenses in excess of gambling losses. The Tax Court, in a new, precedent-setting case, establishes new rules for gamblers in the business of gambling.

Horse Hobby Needs Tax Psychiatric Review

The hobby classification on a tax return is death to deductions. You have a number of choices, but the two most prominent are (1) quit the hobby, or (2) make the hobby a business.

Tax Tip: When Losing Money 24 Years in a Row Is Not a Hobby

The IRS often visits a business that loses money year after year when the owner has another substantial source of income. But that combination of facts—income and losses—does not automatically make the loss activity a nondeductible hobby. There are nine factors that need consideration, and one of those factors carries huge weight.

Tax Law Obliterates Hobbies

Lawmakers hate taxpayers’ hobbies. They apply the most draconian of all taxes to hobbies. If you have a hobby or are thinking of a hobby, read this article before you take step one.

Taxpayers Win Loss Deduction on Charter Fishing Activity

To deduct a loss on a charter fishing activity, you must materially participate in the activity. When the activity is organized as an LLC, you have more choices for material participation than a limited partner.

Business Tax Deduction for Golfers and Spectators

Being in business for yourself produces huge tax-deduction advantages for golfers and golf spectators. Golf advantages are more than double those of football, baseball, and basketball.

Baseball Cards and Memorabilia as Office Decorations

The proper tax deduction treatment for decorating a business office with a baseball card and memorabilia collection comes from the courts in their decisions on depreciating antiques.

Deducting Golf after the Office Meeting

Golf before or after convention meetings has been preapproved by the IRS as deductible associated entertainment that follows or precedes a bona fide and substantial business discussion. Golf before or after an office meeting has no such preapproval. It must pass the “associated entertainment” test to qualify for a deduction.

Hunt Doctor Courses

You need a solid plan when you want to combine deductible education with deductible hunting.

Dealer or Investor

One taxpayer fixed up a house to sell it for a net loss. To save money on taxes, he can file as a real estate dealer, and not as an investor. Precedents and technical definitions help his case.

Court Rules Horse Activity Is Advertising Component of Design Business

Tracy Topping saved $251,462 in taxes when she proved that her horse activity was not a hobby, but a promotional tool for her business.

Is Failure a Hobby?

If you have a business that goes under, and want to deduct it, you will need to prove to the IRS that it indeed was a business, and not a hobby. Assets, rental space, time spent, and other details will support your position.

Court Rules Horse Activity a Hobby

You do not want a hobby for tax purposes. The fact that hobby losses are not deductible is minor compared to the other problems caused by the hobby. For example, you report hobby income above-the-line and hobby expenses below-the-line as miscellaneous itemized deductions where they suffer the 2 percent of adjusted gross income floor, or, worse yet, the AMT.

Court Crushes Slot Machine Winnings

Hobby gambling can trigger taxes when you have a zero income because the law makes your winnings reportable above-the-line and losses deductible below-the-line.

Pyramid Scheme Costs Deductions

When you start a new business activity or you do a business activity on the side, you must establish a profit motive. One easy way to demonstrate the profit motive is to show the time you spend on the activity. This taxpayer had no proof of time worked, so he looked suspicious to the court.