An entity in philosophy is anything that exists either objectively or in the mind alone, any actual or conceivable being that has existence as opposed to nonexistence, anything that has actual being or entity. Entity is also the existent quality that is the essence or substance of an idea or thing in itself; its entity, as distinct from the physical matter or force which is the outward appearance or effect that can be sensed or studied of the reality of the idea or thing. From the Latin entitas, -tatis, from ens, the past participle of esse "to be". See Realists.
A legal entity is a person or legally recognized organization. Categories of legal entity are for-profit corporations, of which there are many types, 501(c)(3) non-profit organizations or churches, 501(d) monasteries, political action organizations, and state or local governments. Not all organizations, churches, or businesses are legal entities, nor have all legal entities the legal categorization that would seem obvious: an application to the IRS must be accepted to register 501(c)(3) and 501(d) entities, which are not required to pay income tax. A business license (granted by state, rather than federal, government) is necessary to register a corporation.
- The Reader's Digest Great Encyclopedic Dictionary, 1966, The Reader's Digest Association | entity (p. 442)