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?

1 Answer 1


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
    Commented Oct 27, 2015 at 16:26

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