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An association is an unincorporated organization of people banded together for a specific purpose. Generally associations are tax exempt under nonprofit 501 exemption, however, if an association has certain features that make it look like a corporation (e.g., central management, continuous existence, and limited liability that shields individual members from suit), it may still be required to pay taxes. 

  • Examples of common associations include Homeowners associations, Condominium associations, and many social advocacy groups. 

Association is also a descriptive term for the act of meeting people and sharing ideas (e.g., "freedom of association" under the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution).

[Last updated in June of 2022 by the Wex Definitions Team]