Disregarded Entity

A disregarded entity, a tax classification in the US for single-owner businesses, simplifies tax reporting while offering limited liability protection, making it an attractive option for entrepreneurs. Does it have an equivalent in other countries? Find out here. 

What is a Disregarded Entity?

A disregarded entity is a business entity with a single owner that is not recognised as separate from its owner for tax purposes. This means that the entity's income, expenses, and other tax items are reported on the owner's tax return, and the entity itself does not file a separate tax return. This is where it gets its name from - the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) basically “disregards” the business entity for tax purposes because the taxes are counted in the owner’s personal income tax. 

Characteristics of a Disregarded Entity

Essentially, a disregarded entity has the following characteristics:

  • It is owned by one person, with no distinction between the owner and the business for tax purposes.
  • It has pass-through taxation, where income, deductions, and credits flow directly to the owner's personal tax return.
  • It offers limited liability protection, separating personal and business assets.

What are Its Equivalents in Other Countries

Considering the above mentioned characteristics, do other countries also have a disregarded entity for tax purposes? While there’s no exact structure, other countries have something similar. Here’s how they compare:


In the United Kingdom, the closest equivalent to a disregarded entity is a sole trader and a single-member limited company

A sole trader is an individual who runs an unincorporated business and is personally responsible for its debts. The income from the business is taxed as personal income. 

A single-member limited company, while legally distinct, can have simplified tax reporting if it qualifies for certain small business schemes. For example, there’s no need to pay taxes on dividends paid to a shareholder (who is also the director) if they are below £2,000. However, remember that unlike a disregarded entity in the US, the owner of a limited company pays taxes for both company profits and personal income, resulting in double taxation.  


Australia offers the concept of a sole trader, similar to the UK's sole trader. This structure allows an individual to run a business without forming a separate legal entity. All income and expenses are reported on the individual’s personal tax return. 

There’s no LLC in Australia, but there is Proprietary Limited (Pty Ltd), which can also be organised with a single-member, who serves as the director. Pty Ltd also faces double taxation: the company pays tax on income and the director lodges their individual tax return. 

New Zealand

In New Zealand, the sole trader structure is also prevalent. Sole traders report business income on their personal tax returns, similar to a disregarded entity in the U.S. 

New Zealand also adapts the concept of single-member LLC, since it’s common for the founder to also be the director and shareholder. However,  it doesn’t have pass-through taxation. 


Singapore’s equivalent to a disregarded entity is a sole proprietorship. This is a business owned and run by one person, and there is no distinction between the owner and the business for tax purposes. The income from the business is taxed at the personal income tax rate of the owner. 

Singapore also allows for limited liability partnerships (LLPs), where the business is not treated as a separate entity. As such, the partners are only taxed on their share of income from the LLP


In the Philippines, a sole proprietorship is akin to a disregarded entity. The business and the owner are considered the same entity for tax purposes, meaning the income is reported on the owner's personal tax return. This structure is straightforward but does not provide the legal separation that corporations or partnerships might offer.

What are the Advantages of a Disregarded Entity?

The advantages of a disregarded entity, and its equivalents in other countries, revolve around tax simplicity, flexibility, and legal protections. Here are some of the key benefits:

  1. Simplified Tax Reporting: One of the most significant advantages is the ease of tax filing. Whether it’s a disregarded entity in the US or sole proprietorship or company in other countries, tax filing is usually simpler because there’s only one member. 
  2. Avoidance of Double Taxation: Unlike corporations, disregarded entities do not face double taxation. The profits are only taxed once at the owner's personal income tax rate, rather than being taxed at both the corporate and personal levels. This, however, does not apply in cases of single-member LLCs in other countries
  3. Legal Protections: Despite the tax simplicity, disregarded entities, particularly single-member LLCs in the U.S., can provide limited liability protection. This means that the owner’s personal assets are protected from business debts and liabilities. However, this does not apply to sole proprietors
  4. Flexibility: The structure allows for flexibility in management and operation. There are fewer formalities and regulations compared to corporations, making it easier to manage day-to-day business activities.
  5. Cost-Effective: Setting up and maintaining a disregarded entity or sole proprietorship is generally less costly compared to corporations. There are fewer regulatory requirements and lower administrative costs.

In conclusion, while the specifics may vary, the concept of a disregarded entity and its equivalents offer significant advantages in terms of tax simplicity, legal protections, and operational flexibility across different jurisdictions.

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