How to Select a Schedule C Activity Code for an Arts/Crafts Business

Boards of pottery in potters workshop
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IRS Form 1040 (Schedule C) asks for sole proprietors to select an activity code for their arts and crafts business income. These codes are based on the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS). Business owners who file Schedule C must choose the activity code that best describes the source of their revenue.

IRS Principal Business or Activity Codes

The complete list of activity codes for Schedule C and other tax returns is available in the IRS's Instructions for Schedule C. These instructions are updated each year. Some of the most common codes for owners of small arts/crafts businesses are:

  • Arts, Entertainment & Recreation: 711510. Use this code if you are an independent, self-employed artist whose primary income is derived from selling your wares (drawings, paintings, sculptures, etc).
  • Educational Services: 611000. Use this code if your primary business purpose is teaching arts/crafts classes.
  • Manufacturing: If your arts/crafts business has risen to the level of a production line business, select the appropriate code from the 300000 series. Codes include 315000 for apparel manufacturing; 332000 for fabricated metal product manufacturing; 337000 for furniture and related product manufacturing; 322000 for paper manufacturing; 313000 for textile mills; 314000 for textile product mills; 321000 for wood product manufacturing; 339900 for other miscellaneous manufacturing; 316990 for leather and related products; 316210 for footwear; 327100 for clay product and refractory manufacturing; 327210 for glass and glass product manufacturing; and 327900 for other nonmetallic mineral product manufacturing.
  • Retail Trade: If you operate an arts/crafts shop, you should select the appropriate code from the 440000 series. Codes include 451130 for sewing, needlework, and piece goods stores; 453220 for gift, novelty, and souvenir stores; 448310 for jewelry stores; and 45390 for miscellaneous store retailers. There are also codes for clothing and accessories stores. Depending on your primary business purpose, you may also consider entries under nonstore retailers such as 454112 for electronic auctions or 454111 for electronic shopping.
  • Unclassified Establishments: 999999. This is the catch-all code for when you just can't decide how else to categorize your business.

How to Select the Right Code

When you are filing your taxes, pick the code that most closely describes the main purpose of your small business. The IRS suggests first looking at your primary business activity. If it's manufacturing, look at manufacturing codes. If it's retailing, look at retailing codes. If you're still not sure which code to choose, think of the activity that produces the majority of your sales or receipts. If you make and sell a few different items, which one produces the most sales?

If you use tax preparation software such as TurboTax, it can lead you through a series of questions to help you determine how to classify your business. If you use a tax preparer, ask them for advice and tell them as much as you can about your main source of sales.

If the nature of your business has changed from one year to the next—for example, if you've shifted your focus from clothing to jewelry—it's perfectly acceptable to use a new activity code that better describes your work.