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What is a Legal Entity Identifier?

In a legal or contractual setting, a Legal Entity Identifier is a code that uniquely identifies an organization. It is unique for each entity for identification and authentication purposes. A corporation needs an LEI if it undergoes financial transactions regularly. If a government agency wants to issue tax documents or licenses to people and companies, they need this number to ensure that only this entity can receive them.

A Legal Entity Identifier or legal identifier is a distinctive set of numbers to identify the owner of a business. It can be used for tax purposes and will help you file your taxes accurately if you have income from an activity that creates a legal identifier. This 20-digit unique number is similar to a barcode that allows locating entities involved in financial transactions. Generally, insurance providers, credit unions, banks, lenders, mutual funds, and brokerages must get this number.

 Having a legal identifier can help you avoid penalties

A legal identifier is a unique code that identifies your business entity. The code is well-structured data about an entity to prove its authorization over a business and its transactions, leading to clarity in the global marketplace. The Organization of Standardization creates it.

It reflects the transparency of your business

Based in Basel, Switzerland, the Global Legal Entity Identifier Foundation (GLEIF) monitors the code for its global standardization. LEI¬† is an identifier assigned to each legal entity by the Controller of Record. A legal entity includes individuals and entities of any type and does not have an individual’s permanent residence or domicile. This code is needed for businesses by the financial supervisors to have more transparency in the financial markets.

It is essential to have your legal identifier updated annually

Once you acquire your particular alpha-numeric digit as a code, you need to renew it yearly to avoid it becoming inactive. The lapsed number means you will not be able to participate in any current or future financial transactions or trades until the number is renewed. A nonfunctioning code will cause compliance issues and problems. For example, one needs to show their LEI information under Securities Financing Transactions Regulation (SFTR) and Central Securities Depositories.

The updating process is pretty straightforward. Your legal identifier must be updated annually to ease reporting income or assets, buying or leasing property, making donations, entering into a partnership agreement with someone else, or starting a new business.

The IRS requires all entities (known as “legal entities”) to maintain their unique identification number. You can take help from trusted third-party sites which assist in updating the code. Through a simple registration procedure, the local service providers in your area can allow you to acquire your code promptly. These service providers help in the application process of getting the code as well.


Initially, legal entity identifiers were used as identification numbers on paperwork filed with state governments. Later, it was extended to cover registration information for businesses and partnerships. Today, it is widely used by corporations, non-profits, financial institutions, and other organizations. It is important to note that any transaction exceeding 50 crores necessitates this code.