No loss relief for business run as a “hobby”

A recent case before the Tax Tribunal reminds us that in order to set a trading loss sideways against other income, the business must be carried out on a commercial basis with a view to making a profit.

The case in question relates to Mrs Thorne, who ran an equestrian business and another business growing asparagus. The self-employment pages of her tax return showed a single composite business, which incurred an overall trading loss. The equestrian business was unlikely to make a profit and was clearly a hobby. However, the asparagus business was in its early stages; it is widely accepted that it can take up to three years before a significant crop is produced. Had separate accounts been prepared for the asparagus business, loss relief would likely have been available, as it could be argued that the venture was being carried out on a commercial basis with a view to making a profit.

If your business makes losses in the first few years, we can help to ensure the availability of relief by helping you prepare forecasts and a business plan, demonstrating that the business is being carried out on a commercial basis with a view to making a profit.

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Harris+Co is a trading name of Harris & Co Limited, which is a limited company registered in England & Wales: No. 8935187, Registered Office: Marland House, 13 Huddersfield Road, Barnsley, South Yorkshire S70 2LW. The term partner indicates a principal of Harris & Co Limited who is not in partnership for the purpose of the Partnership Act 1890. A full list of principals’ names is available at the Registered Office. Registered to carry on audit work in the UK and regulated for a range of investment business and consumer credit activities by the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales. Details about our audit registration can be viewed at for the UK under reference C003785105.