The definition of business activity is a fundamental category of business law. It underlies the understanding of the subject and essence of business law, the contents of business legal relations, the freedom of business activity and other principles of business law. Moreover, it is important for other branches of law, such as administrative, tax, criminal law, etc.
In spite of the legal definition of business activity in the Civil Code of the Russian Federation (Article 2), it continues to be not quite clear and unambiguous and, as practice has shown, insufficient to qualify an activity as business. Moreover, in 2017 it was significantly changed due to the exclusion of such a feature as registration in accordance with the procedure established by law, that indicates the need for the further research of such an important category of business law.
It is argued that the legislative criteria (independence, risk, focus on the systematic extraction of profit) of business activity have insufficiency and require more details, especially by disclosure of its key feature - the systematic character of the extraction of profit as well as the legislative establishment of the list of activities not recognized as business. In regard to the amendments of the legal definition it is recommended for legislators to clearly determine cases, when individuals can perform some types of business activities without the state registration.
The authors also stress the importance of finding efficient solutions for optimizing the basic concept of business activity to eliminate the possibility of using criminal prosecution to exert pressure on entrepreneurs. They state that a favorable business and investment climate can be achieved, on the one hand, by the state stimulation of lawful business activities and, on the other hand, by establishing the well-grounded criteria for criminalizing actions in the sphere of entrepreneurship.