Association – an unincorporated collection of persons with no legal existence independent of its members; if it has sufficient corporate attributes (i.e. centralized management, continuity of existence, limited liability), it may be classified and taxed as a corporation

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association:
(16c)

1. An unincorporated organization that is not a legal entity separate from the persons who compose it.  *  If an association has sufficient corporate attributes, such as centralized management, continuity of existence, and limited liability, it may be classified and taxed as a corporation. — aka unincorporated association; voluntary association. [1]

1. Also called an unincorporated association, a collection of persons who have joined together for the pursuit of a common purpose or design.  Unlike a corporation, an association has no legal existence independent of its members.  On the other hand, an association that sometimes functions like a corporation may be treated as a corporation for some purposes by the law.  An association may be organized for the purpose of making a profit, or it may be nonprofit in nature. 
See nonprofit association.  Also see joint-stock company
limited partnership. [2]

1. A collection of persons who have joined for the pursuit of a common purpose or design.
In the absence of a statute so providing, it is not 
an entity, having no status distinct from the persons composing it, but is rather a body of individuals acting together for the prosecution of a common enterprise without a corporate charter but sometimes assuming to exercise methods and forms used by corporations.  Hecht v Malley, 265 US 144, 157, 68 L Ed 949, 957, 44 S Ct 462; Venus Lodge No. 62 v Acme Benev. Asso. 231 NC 522, 58 SE2d 109, 15 ALR2d 1446, 6 Am J2d Asso & C § 1.

At times, nonprofit corporations are referred to as “associations.”  Conversely, nonprofit associations are often regarded as so closely akin to corporate entities that the associates are not liable as partners for the debts of the body.  6 Am J2d Asso & C § 2.

In reference to the federal income tax, an association is ordinarily taxable as a corporation.  Internal Revenue Code § 7701(a)(3).
     See articles of association; joint stock company; partnership; voluntary association; writ of association. [3]

     Excerpt from G.W. Keeton’s The Elementary Principles of Jurisprudence (2d ed. 1949):

     “In the interval between the acceptance of the principle that a corporation in English law arises only as a result of state concession, and the passing of the first Companies Act in 1862, there were established many unincorporated associations, some of them of very great importance. Such an association enjoyed no legal existence distinct from that of its members. Its legal status was simply that of an association of persons, linked by contract, and the rights of members were determined by their contractual rights, in respect of the association. [4]

References:

Disclaimer: All material throughout this website is pertinent to people everywhere, and is being utilized in accordance with Fair Use.

[1] Black’s Law Dictionary Deluxe Tenth Edition by Henry Campbell Black & Editor in Chief Bryan A. Garner. ISBN: 978-0-314-62130-6

[2]: Ballantine’s Law Dictionary Legal Assistant Edition by Jack Ballantine (James Arthur 1871-1949).  Doctored by Jack G. Handler, J.D. © 1994 Delmar by Thomson Learning.  ISBN 0-8273-4874-6.

[3]: Ballantine’s Law Dictionary with Pronunciations
Third Edition
 by James A. Ballantine (James Arthur 1871-1949).  Edited by William S. Anderson.  © 1969 by THE LAWYER’S CO-OPERATIVE PUBLISHING COMPANY.  Library of Congress Catalog Card No. 68-30931

[4]: G.W. Keeton, The Elementary Principles of Jurisprudence 169 (2d ed. 1949).

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