4Legal Entities

This chapter contains the following:

A legal entity is a recognized party with rights and responsibilities given by legislation.

Legal entities have the following rights and responsibilities to:

  • Own property

  • Trade

  • Repay debt

  • Account for themselves to regulators, taxation authorities, and owners according to rules specified in the relevant legislation

Their rights and responsibilities may be enforced through the judicial system. Define a legal entity for each registered company or other entity recognized in law for which you want to record assets, liabilities, expenses and income, pay transaction taxes, or perform intercompany trading.

A legal entity has responsibility for elements of your enterprise for the following reasons:

  • Facilitating local compliance

  • Minimizing the enterprise's tax liability

  • Preparing for acquisitions or disposals of parts of the enterprise

  • Isolating one area of the business from risks in another area. For example, your enterprise develops property and also leases properties. You could operate the property development business as a separate legal entity to limit risk to your leasing business.

The Role of Your Legal Entities

In configuring your enterprise structure in Oracle Fusion Applications, the contracting party on any transaction is always the legal entity. Individual legal entities:

  • Own the assets of the enterprise

  • Record sales and pay taxes on those sales

  • Make purchases and incur expenses

  • Perform other transactions

Legal entities must comply with the regulations of jurisdictions, in which they register. Europe now allows for companies to register in one member country and do business in all member countries, and the US allows for companies to register in one state and do business in all states. To support local reporting requirements, legal reporting units are created and registered.

You are required to publish specific and periodic disclosures of your legal entities' operations based on different jurisdictions' requirements. Certain annual or more frequent accounting reports are referred to as statutory or external reporting. These reports must be filed with specified national and regulatory authorities. For example, in the United States (US), your publicly owned entities (corporations) are required to file quarterly and annual reports, as well as other periodic reports, with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), which enforces statutory reporting requirements for public corporations.

Individual entities privately held or held by public companies don't have to file separately. In other countries, your individual entities do have to file in their own name, as well as at the public group level. Disclosure requirements are diverse. For example, your local entities may have to file locally to comply with local regulations in a local currency, as well as being included in your enterprise's reporting requirements in different currency.

A legal entity can represent all or part of your enterprise's management framework. For example, if you operate in a large country such as the United Kingdom or Germany, you might incorporate each division in the country as a separate legal entity. In a smaller country, for example Austria, you might use a single legal entity to host all of your business operations across divisions.

Oracle Fusion Applications support the modeling of your legal entities. If you make purchases from or sell to other legal entities, define these other legal entities in your customer and supplier registers. These registers are part of the Oracle Fusion Trading Community Architecture.

When your legal entities are trading with each other, represent them as legal entities and as customers and suppliers in your customer and supplier registers. Use legal entity relationships to determine which transactions are intercompany and require intercompany accounting. Your legal entities can be identified as legal employers and therefore, are available for use in Human Capital Management (HCM) applications.

Several decisions you should consider when you create legal entities.

  • The importance of using legal entity on transactions

  • Legal entity and its relationship to business units

  • Legal entity and its relationship to divisions

  • Legal entity and its relationship to ledgers

  • Legal entity and its relationship to balancing segments

  • Legal entity and its relationship to consolidation rules

  • Legal entity and its relationship to intercompany transactions

  • Legal entity and its relationship to worker assignments and legal employer

  • Legal entity and payroll reporting

  • Legal reporting units

The Importance of Using Legal Entities on Transactions

All of the assets of the enterprise are owned by individual legal entities. Oracle Fusion Financials allow your users to enter legal entities on transactions that represent a movement in value or obligation.

For example, a sales order creates an obligation on the legal entity that books the order and promises to deliver the goods on the acknowledged date. The creation also creates an obligation on the purchaser to receive and pay for those goods. Contract law in most countries contains statutes that state damages can be sought for both:

  • Actual losses, putting the injured party in the same state as if they had not entered into the contract.

  • What is called loss of bargain, or the profit that would have made on a transaction.

In another example, if you revalued your inventory in a warehouse to account for raw material price increases, the revaluation and revaluation reserves must be reflected in your legal entity's accounts. In Oracle Fusion Applications, your inventory within an inventory organization is managed by a single business unit and belongs to one legal entity.

Legal Entity and Its Relationship to Business Units

A business unit can process transactions on behalf of many legal entities. Frequently, a business unit is part of a single legal entity. In most cases, the legal entity is explicit on your transactions. For example, a payables invoice has an explicit legal entity field. Your accounts payables department can process supplier invoices on behalf of one or many business units.

In some cases, your legal entity is inferred from your business unit that's processing the transaction. For example, Business Unit ACM UK has a default legal entity of InFusion UK Ltd. When a purchase order is placed in ACM UK, the legal entity InFusion UK Ltd is legally obligated to the supplier. Oracle Fusion Procurement, Oracle Fusion Project Portfolio Management, and Oracle Fusion Supply Chain applications rely on deriving the legal entity information from the business unit.

Legal Entity and Its Relationship to Divisions

The division is an area of management responsibility that can correspond to a collection of legal entities. If wanted, you can aggregate the results for your divisions by legal entity or by combining parts of other legal entities. Define date-effective hierarchies for your cost center or legal entity segment in your chart of accounts to facilitate the aggregation and reporting by division. Divisions and legal entities are independent concepts.

Legal Entity and Its Relationship to Ledgers

One of your major responsibilities is to file financial statements for your legal entities. Map legal entities to specific ledgers using the Oracle Fusion General Ledger Accounting Configuration Manager. Within a ledger, you can optionally map a legal entity to one or more balancing segment values.

Legal Entity and Its Relationship to Balancing Segments

Oracle Fusion General Ledger supports up to three balancing segments. Best practices recommend one segment represents your legal entity to ease your requirement to account for your operations to regulatory agencies, tax authorities, and investors. Accounting for your operations means you must produce a balanced trial balance sheet by legal entity. If you account for many legal entities in a single ledger, you must:

  1. Identify the legal entities within the ledger.

  2. Balance transactions that cross legal entity boundaries through intercompany transactions.

  3. Decide which balancing segments correspond to each legal entity and assign them in Oracle Fusion General Ledger Accounting Configuration Manager. Once you assign one balancing segment value in a ledger, then all your balancing segment values must be assigned. This recommended best practice facilitates reporting on assets, liabilities, and income by legal entity.

Represent your legal entities by at least one balancing segment value. You may represent it by two or three balancing segment values if more granular reporting is required. For example, if your legal entity operates in multiple jurisdictions in Europe, you might define balancing segment values and map them to legal reporting units. You can represent a legal entity with more than one balancing segment value. Do not use a single balancing segment value to represent more than one legal entity.

In Oracle Fusion General Ledger, there are three balancing segments. You can use separate balancing segments to represent your divisions or strategic business units to enable management reporting at the balance sheet level for each. This solution is used to empower your business unit and divisional managers to track and assume responsibility for their asset utilization or return on investment. Using multiple balancing segments is also useful when you know at the time of implementation that you're disposing of a part of a legal entity and want to isolate the assets and liabilities for that entity.

Implementing multiple balancing segments requires every journal entry that isn't balanced by division or business unit, to generate balancing lines. You can't change to multiple balancing segments after you begin using the ledger because your historical data isn't balanced by the new balancing segments. Restating historical data must be done at that point.

If your enterprise regularly spins off businesses or holds managers accountable for utilization of assets, identify the business with a balancing segment value. If you account for each legal entity in a separate ledger, no requirement exists to identify the legal entity with a balancing segment value.

While transactions that cross balancing segments don't necessarily cross legal entity boundaries, all transactions that cross legal entity boundaries must cross balancing segments. If you make an acquisition or are preparing to dispose of a portion of your enterprise, you may want to account for that part of the enterprise in its own balancing segment even if the portion isn't a separate legal entity. If you don't map legal entities sharing the same ledger to balancing segments, you can't distinguish them using intercompany functionality or track individual equity.

Legal Entity and Its Relationship to Consolidation Rules

In Oracle Fusion Applications you can map legal entities to balancing segments and then define consolidation rules using your balancing segments. You are creating a relationship between the definition of your legal entities and their role in your consolidation.

Legal Entity and Its Relationship to Intercompany Transactions

Use Oracle Fusion Intercompany feature to create intercompany entries automatically across your balancing segments. Intercompany processing updates legal ownership within the enterprise's groups of legal entities. Invoices or journals are created as needed. To limit the number of trading pairs for your enterprise, set up intercompany organizations and assign then to your authorized legal entities. Define processing options and intercompany accounts to use when creating intercompany transactions and to assist in consolidation elimination entries. These accounts are derived and automatically entered on your intercompany transactions based on legal entities assigned to your intercompany organizations.

Intracompany trading, in which legal ownership isn't changed but other organizational responsibilities are, is also supported. For example, you can track assets and liabilities that move between your departments within your legal entities by creating departmental level intercompany organizations.

Tip: In the Oracle Fusion Supply Chain applications, you can model intercompany relationships using business units, from which legal entities are derived.

Legal Entity and Its Relationship to Worker Assignments and Legal Employer

Legal entities that employ people are called legal employers in the Oracle Fusion Legal Entity Configurator. You must enter legal employers on worker assignments in Oracle Fusion HCM.

Legal Entity and Payroll Reporting

Your legal entities are required to pay payroll tax and social insurance such as social security on your payroll. In Oracle Fusion Applications, you can register payroll statutory units to pay and report on payroll tax and social insurance for your legal entities. As the legal employer, you might be required to pay payroll tax, not only at the national level, but also at the local level. You meet this obligation by establishing your legal entity as a place of work within the jurisdiction of a local authority. Set up legal reporting units to represent the part of your enterprise with a specific legal reporting obligation. You can also mark these legal reporting units as tax reporting units, if the legal entity must pay taxes as a result of establishing a place of business within the jurisdiction.

Each of your legal entities has at least one legal reporting unit. Some legal reporting units can also be referred to as establishments. You can define either domestic or foreign establishments. Define legal reporting units by physical location, such as sales offices. For example, set up legal reporting units to represent your company and its offices for tax reporting.

Planning Legal Reporting Units

Plan and define your legal reporting units at both the local and national levels if you operate within the administrative boundaries of a jurisdiction that's more granular than country. For example, your legal entity establishes operations in a country that requires reporting of employment and sales taxes locally as well as nationally. Therefore, you need more than one legally registered location to meet this legal entity's reporting requirements in each area. Additionally, legal entities in Europe operate across national boundaries, and require you to set up legal reporting units for the purposes of local registration in each country. There can be multiple registrations associated with a legal reporting unit. However, only one identifying registration can be defined by the legal authority used for the legal entity or legal reporting unit and associated with the legal reporting unit.

This example illustrates how to set up an enterprise based on a global company operating mainly in the US and the UK with a single primary industry.


InFusion Corporation is a multinational enterprise in the high technology industry with product lines that include all the components that are required to build and maintain air quality monitoring systems for homes and businesses. Its primary locations are in the US and the UK, but it has smaller outlets in France, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

Enterprise Details

In the US, InFusion employs 400 people and has company revenue of 120 million US dollars. Outside the US, InFusion employs 200 people and has revenue of 60 million US dollars.


InFusion requires three divisions.

  • The US division covers the US locations.

  • The Europe division covers UK and France.

  • Saudi Arabia and the UAE are covered by the Middle East division.

InFusion requires legal entities with legal employers, payroll statutory units, tax reporting units, and legislative data groups for the US, UK, France, Saudi Arabia, and UAE, to employ and pay its workers in those countries.

InFusion requires a number of departments across the enterprise for each area of business, such as sales and marketing, and a number of cost centers to track and report on the costs of those departments.

InFusion has general managers responsible for business units within each country. Those business units may share reference data. Some reference data can be defined within a reference data set that multiple business units may subscribe to. Business units are also required for financial purposes. Financial transactions are always processed within a business unit.

Resulting Enterprise Configuration

Based on this analysis, InFusion requires an enterprise with multiple divisions, ledgers, legal employers, payroll statutory units, tax reporting units, legislative data groups, departments, cost centers, and business units.

This figure illustrates the enterprise configuration that results from the analysis of InFusion Corporation.

The figure shows the InFusion Enterprise Configuration,
including the three divisions, tax reporting units, legal entities,
legislative data groups, business units, cost centers, and sales departments.

FAQs for Legal Entities

Payroll statutory units are legal entities that are responsible for paying workers, including the payment of payroll tax and social insurance. A payroll statutory unit can pay and report on payroll tax and social insurance on behalf of one or many legal entities, depending on the structure of your enterprise. For example, if you're a multinational, multiple company enterprise, then you register a payroll statutory unit in each country where you employ and pay people. You can optionally register a consolidated payroll statutory unit to pay and report on workers across multiple legal employers within the same country. You associate a legislative data group with a payroll statutory unit to provide the correct payroll information for workers.

A legal employer is a legal entity that employs workers. You define a legal entity as a legal employer in the Oracle Fusion Legal Entity Configurator.

The legal employer is captured at the work relationship level, and all assignments within that relationship are automatically with that legal employer. Legal employer information for worker assignments is also used for reporting purposes.

Use a tax reporting unit to group workers for the purpose of tax and social insurance reporting. A tax reporting unit is the Oracle Fusion Human Capital Management (HCM) version of the legal reporting unit in Oracle Fusion Applications.

To create a tax reporting unit, you use the Oracle Fusion Legal Entity Configurator to define a legal entity as a payroll statutory unit. When you identify a legal entity as a payroll statutory unit, the application transfers the legal reporting units that are associated with that legal entity to Oracle Fusion HCM as tax reporting units. You can then access the tax reporting unit using the Manage Legal Reporting Unit HCM Information task.

If you identify a legal entity as a legal employer, and not as a payroll statutory unit, you must enter a parent payroll statutory unit. The resulting legal reporting units are transferred to Oracle Fusion HCM as tax reporting units, but as children of the parent payroll statutory unit that you entered, and not the legal entity that you identified as a legal employer.