I run a group in the UK on meetup.com which offers free walks/hikes in my local area. There are over 200 "members" but I am the only organiser of walks. I don't charge my members and expenses ($15 US = £10 UK per month for meetup.com subscription) are paid out of my own pocket.

I am thinking of starting to charge for the walks - I will give people the option of paying per walk or a yearly subscription. This will cover my subscription and allow me to buy public liability insurance. It would not be run for profit - if there is a surplus, I will simply reduce the subscription/charge in the next year, or put it towards a Christmas meal for the members, or donate it to charity. The annual turnover would be small - less than £400 a year.

My question is this: would I have to register this as a business with HMRC, and would I be required to fill out tax returns each year, or keep accounts?


The answer is probably here; if you are running a hobby then no, you do not need to do any of those things; if you are running a business you do.

This is assessed on a case by case basis, usually when the tax authorities demand their cut plus the fines! I personally think that you are walking a fine line - you carry insurance and have multiple customers including subscription customers - this looks like a business.

But ... Don't ask us, ring the taxman.

  • You almost certainly need to register as a business, as this would fall on the "Operating a business" side of things, even if the OP is not attempting to make a profit. However, it's really not that onerous for a small, single-person business making a loss or breaking even: kfaccounting.co.uk/self-employed-or-hobby
    – Jon Story
    Oct 27 '15 at 16:26

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.