Skip to content

How to Register a Business in Oregon – A Detailed Guide 2024

How to Register a Business in Oregon
(Last Updated On: May 15, 2024)

Our content is reader-supported. We may earn a commission if you make a purchase through one of our links.

 


Beginning the journey of establishing a business in Oregon can be a thrilling and rewarding endeavor. However, navigating the process of registering your business might seem daunting, particularly if you’re new to entrepreneurship. Nonetheless, armed with the appropriate guidance and resources, registering your business in Oregon can become a straightforward and stress-free task.

In this blog post, our objective is to furnish you with a comprehensive guide to facilitate the registration of your business in Oregon effortlessly. Additionally, we will offer valuable tips and point you toward resources that will streamline the process. Whether you’re initiating a new venture or formalizing an existing one, this guide will walk you through the process in seven uncomplicated steps.

Recognizing that business registration can still pose challenges, we’ve curated a list of top-notch business registration services, such as Northwest Registered Agent, to support

Get Started With Northwest Registered Agent

How to Register Your Business in Oregon in 7 Simple Steps

Registering your business in Oregon is a manageable task with the right approach. This comprehensive guide will walk you through the 7 steps needed to efficiently register your business in Oregon, ensuring a seamless start to your entrepreneurial journey in the beautiful state.

Step 1: Choose Your Business Structure

The most suitable choice for your business structure in Oregon depends on the type of business you plan to start and your expansion objectives. We have already discussed the different types of incorporated and unincorporated businesses available in Oregon. Now, let’s examine each of these options more closely and understand their functioning.

Remember that if you choose a structure that requires incorporation, such as the ones mentioned below, you will need to register your business with the Oregon Secretary of State.

Sole Proprietorship

A sole proprietorship is the simplest business structure in Oregon, where the owner and the business are legally considered the same entity. This means the owner assumes personal responsibility for the business’s debts and liabilities. Establishing a sole proprietorship is straightforward and entails minimal legal and administrative requirements. In Oregon, you’re not required to register your sole proprietorship with the state, but you may need to obtain local permits or licenses.

General Partnership

A general partnership is a business jointly owned by two or more individuals who share in the profits and losses. Each partner assumes personal liability for the business’s debts and legal obligations. In Oregon, you do not need to register a general partnership with the state, but it may be necessary to file an “Oregon Assumed Business Name” (DBA) in the county where your business operates.

Limited Partnership (LP)

In Oregon, a limited partnership consists of one or more general partners who manage the business and have unlimited personal liability, along with one or more limited partners who provide capital but have limited liability. To establish an LP in Oregon, you must file a “Certificate of Limited Partnership” with the Oregon Secretary of State.

Limited Liability Company (LLC)

An LLC is a flexible business structure that combines the liability protection of a corporation with the tax benefits and simplicity of a partnership. In Oregon, you need to file Articles of Organization with the Oregon Secretary of State and create an Operating Agreement to outline the company’s management and ownership structure.

Corporation

A corporation is a legal entity separate from its owners (shareholders) that provides limited liability protection. In Oregon, there are two types of corporations:

  • C-corporations
  • S-corporations

To establish a corporation in Oregon, you must file Articles of Incorporation with the Oregon Secretary of State, indicating whether it’s a for-profit or nonprofit corporation. Corporations involve additional formalities, such as creating bylaws, issuing stock, and conducting regular board and shareholder meetings.

Choose the business structure in Oregon that best fits your needs based on factors like liability protection, taxation, and management requirements. If needed, seek advice from a legal or business professional to assist you in making this decision.

Visit ZenBusiness Now

Step 2: Select a Unique Business Name

Oregon has specific naming rules and regulations for businesses. When naming your business in Oregon, you have three choices: registering a legal entity name, obtaining a trademark, or registering a legal name and operating under a different one. It’s important to review Oregon’s requirements to ensure compliance.

Similar to the process of incorporating your business, the naming approach you choose in Oregon will depend on your entity’s unique needs and circumstances.

To ensure the exclusivity of your business name, you may consider following all three routes. Alternatively, you can select one of the three options. Although not mandatory, using the same name for each registration method is generally recommended.

Let’s explore each naming option available in Oregon:

In Oregon, businesses must register a legal entity name, which serves as the state’s official identifier for the company. The entity name must be unique, ensuring that no other business shares the same name as yours.

Oregon’s naming laws include guidelines regarding company suffixes (e.g., LLC, LP, or Corp) and require the name to accurately reflect the type of business being registered. You can check name availability using the online database provided by the Oregon Secretary of State.

Trademark

In Oregon, a trademark offers intellectual property protection for a business name or logo on a national level. To protect your name or logo, it’s crucial to conduct a trademark search in the USPTO database to ensure it’s not already registered.

Once your trademark is registered, it grants exclusive rights and prevents others from using the same or similar name or logo for similar goods or services, providing nationwide protection. However, obtaining a trademark does not automatically grant unrestricted usage of the name or logo in all circumstances.

Doing Business As (DBA)

In Oregon, you have the option to register your business under an official name while operating under a different one. This is known as a Doing Business As (DBA) name. To establish a DBA, you need to file an Assumed Business Name form with the Oregon Secretary of State. While these names are subject to federal trademark laws, there is no requirement for a DBA to be unique at the state level.

By understanding and considering these naming options, you can effectively register your business name in Oregon and protect your brand identity.

Start Using ZenBusiness

Step 3: Consider Taxes and Other Costs in Oregon

Here are the taxes that Oregon LLCs are subject to:

  • Federal income tax: Oregon LLCs are not subject to federal income tax. Instead, the income or losses of the LLC are passed through to the individual members, who report them on their personal tax returns.
  • Oregon state income tax: Oregon LLCs are subject to Oregon state income tax. The tax rate is progressive, ranging from 4.75% to 9.90%.
  • Corporate excise and activity tax: Oregon LLCs that are taxed as corporations are subject to the corporate excise and activity tax (CEAT). The CEAT is a two-tiered tax that’s calculated on the LLC’s net income. The first $1 million of net income is taxed at a rate of 6.6%, and any net income above $1 million is taxed at a rate of 7.6%.
  • Local taxes: Oregon cities and counties may impose additional taxes on businesses, such as a business license tax or a payroll tax.
  • Other taxes: Oregon LLCs may also be subject to other taxes, such as sales tax, use tax, and property tax.

It’s important to note that the tax treatment of an Oregon LLC can vary depending on the specific circumstances of the LLC. For example, if the LLC has employees, it may be subject to payroll taxes. If the LLC sells goods or services, it may be subject to sales tax. If the LLC owns the property, it may be subject to property tax.

If you’re considering forming an Oregon LLC, it’s important to consult with a tax advisor to discuss your specific situation and to determine the taxes that you will be subject to.

Entrepreneurs in Oregon can simplify their registration process by utilizing online services, such as ZenBusiness, to their advantage. ZenBusiness offers comprehensive assistance to business owners, including facilitating filings with the Secretary of State, acquiring an Employer Identification Number (EIN), and establishing an operating agreement. Additionally, ongoing compliance support is available to help businesses maintain their compliance with state requirements.

Step 4: Register and Acquire Licenses and Permits in Oregon

When establishing your business in Oregon, it’s important to adhere to the necessary legal requirements by applying for the appropriate licenses and permits. Here are the key steps to follow:

Tax Registration

If your business will employ individuals in Oregon, you must register with the Department of Revenue (DOR) to obtain a state payroll account for employer withholding tax. The registration process can be conveniently completed online through the Oregon Business Registry.

EIN (Employer Identification Number)

If your business has employees or operates as a separate taxable entity, it’s essential to acquire a federal Employer Identification Number (EIN) from the IRS. Even if an EIN isn’t mandatory, obtaining one can offer various business benefits. For instance, banks often require an EIN to open accounts in the business’s name, and some business partners may request an EIN for payment processing. The application for an EIN can be submitted online without any filing fee.

Regulatory Licenses and Permits

These encompass a range of areas such as health and safety, environmental compliance, building and construction regulations, as well as specific industries or services. To obtain state-issued regulatory licenses and permits, you can utilize the Secretary of State’s (SOS) searchable online license directory, which includes an extensive list of over a thousand licenses.

 Additionally, for information on local licenses and permits, it’s advisable to consult the websites of the relevant cities or counties where your business will operate.

Professional and Occupational Licenses 

These licenses pertain to individuals working in specific fields. In addition to the aforementioned resources for regulatory licenses, you can also refer to the licenses section of the state website for further details on professional licensing requirements.

By diligently fulfilling these licensing and permit obligations, you can ensure compliance with legal regulations while establishing and operating your business in Oregon.

Get Your Business Licenses with Bizee

Step 5: Open a Bank Account For Your Business in Oregon

Once you have obtained your EIN, you can proceed to open a business bank account in Oregon.

In Oregon, compliance with LLPs, LLCs, and corporate regulations necessitates the establishment of a business bank account. However, sole proprietors and unincorporated partnerships are not obligated to maintain separate personal and business bank accounts.

The process of opening a business account in Oregon is straightforward, involving a visit to your local bank and the completion of the required paperwork. It’s advisable to compare the rates and benefits offered by different banks before making a final decision.

Regardless of whether you operate as a sole proprietor or unincorporated partnership in Oregon, having a dedicated business bank account is a prudent choice to maintain financial separation between your personal and business finances. If you choose to incorporate your business later on, this will help you avoid future hassles.

Get Your Business with ZenBusiness

Step 6: Protect Your Intellectual Property in Oregon

Depending on the nature of your business in Oregon, it’s crucial to safeguard your valuable intellectual property (IP).

For instance, most businesses strive to prevent others from copying and using their name and logo. Depending on whether your business involves selling goods or providing services, you may also want to protect the design of your products or the creative works (e.g., writing, designs, or music) you produce.

In Oregon, there are several ways to accomplish this, and initiating the necessary applications promptly is beneficial to prevent unauthorized use of your IP.

File a Trademark with Bizee

Trademark

In Oregon, a trademark refers to a recognizable symbol, phrase, word, or design that distinguishes a product or service from others in the market.

To ensure legal protection, trademarks must be registered with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). The registration process typically takes four to six months to complete. Once registered, the trademark is protected nationwide, and legal action can be taken against unauthorized usage.

Businesses in Oregon can protect their trademarks by registering them with the USPTO. This not only safeguards their brand and reputation but also provides legal recourse against unauthorized use of the trademark.

In Oregon, original works of authorship, such as literary, dramatic, musical, artistic, and certain other intellectual works, are protected by copyright law. This includes written content, software, web content, films, sound recordings, images, and other forms of creative expression.

When you create a new work in Oregon, copyright protection is automatically granted to you as the creator of the work. As the owner of exclusive rights to distribute, reproduce, create derivative works, and sell intellectual property, you have the legal authority to control the use of your work.

However, you may choose to register your copyright with the U.S. Copyright Office for additional legal protection and evidence of ownership. Registering your copyright in Oregon can help protect your work against infringement and provide a way to enforce your rights in court if necessary.

Patent

If you invent a new product or piece of machinery in Oregon, it’s important to secure a patent. A patent grants the holder exclusive rights over the item and prevents others from making, selling, or importing the patented item for a specified period.

The patent process is complex and can take up to five years to complete, so it’s advisable to start early if you have a unique invention that requires protection. Patent applications are submitted to the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).

By protecting your intellectual property in Oregon, you can safeguard your brand, products, and creations, ensuring that your business maintains a competitive edge and continues to thrive.

File a Trademark with Bizee

Step 7: Set Up Your Payment Infrastructure in Oregon

To ensure that your Oregon-based business can start serving customers as soon as it’s registered, it’s important to set up a user-friendly and hassle-free payment system.

There are several payment processing services available that offer intuitive interfaces and seamless integration with your website or point-of-sale (POS) system. Popular options such as Square, Stripe, and PayPal provide flexible solutions that can be easily customized to align with your business goals.

These payment processors allow you to accept a wide range of payment methods, including credit and debit cards, ACH transfers, digital wallets like Apple Pay and Google Pay, and many more. By selecting a reliable payment processing service, you can provide your customers with the convenience of paying using their preferred methods through a secure platform, ensuring a smooth transaction experience for both you and your clients.

In addition to choosing a payment processor, it’s also important to ensure compliance with Oregon’s sales tax regulations. This involves obtaining an Oregon Sales Tax Permit from the Oregon Department of Revenue, enabling you to collect sales tax on taxable goods and services.

Once your payment infrastructure is in place, your Oregon-based business will be well-prepared to serve customers efficiently and securely, enabling you to generate revenue effectively.

By following these steps, you’ll be on your way to establishing a legally compliant business in Oregon.

Visit ZenBusiness Now

Top 5 Business Registration Services for Oregon Entrepreneurs

Entrepreneurs and small business owners in Oregon have access to a variety of business registration services tailored to their needs. These services offer solutions to help businesses establish themselves and comply with state and federal regulations. Here are some of the top business registration services available for Oregon entrepreneurs:

ZenBusiness

Zenbusiness logo

ZenBusiness is an online business registration service that specializes in business formation, registered agent services, annual report filing, and more. They offer affordable pricing and packages that include personalized support and resources to help businesses stay compliant and grow. With a user-friendly website and a streamlined process, ZenBusiness makes it easy for Oregon entrepreneurs to register their businesses.

Try Out ZenBusiness

Swyft Filings 

Swyft Filings logo

Swyft Filings is a popular business registration service that provides fast and easy business formation, including LLC formation, incorporation, and compliance. They offer personalized support and resources to guide businesses through the registration process and ensure compliance with state and federal regulations. Swyft Filings has a user-friendly website and affordable pricing, simplifying the registration process for Oregon entrepreneurs.

Start Using Swyft Filings

Tailor Brands

Tailor Brands is an online branding and design service that helps businesses create a professional and cohesive brand identity. They offer branding packages that include logo design, business card design, and social media branding. Additionally, Tailor Brands provides a suite of design tools and resources for businesses to create and customize their own branded assets. While not a traditional business registration service, Tailor Brands can assist Oregon entrepreneurs in establishing an attractive brand image to appeal to customers.

Try Tailor Brands Now

Northwest Registered Agent

Northwest Registered Agent is an online LLc registration service that specializes in registered agent services, compliance management, and document filing. Known for their quality and exceptional customer service, they offer personalized support to help businesses stay compliant with state and federal regulations. Northwest Registered Agent provides a range of business formation services for LLCs, corporations, and nonprofits, catering to the specific needs of Oregon entrepreneurs.

Get Started With Northwest Registered Agent

Bizee (Previously Incfile)

Bizee is an online business registration service that offers fast and affordable business formation services. Their packages include registered agent services, compliance management, and document filing. bizee user-friendly and streamlined platform ensures an easy and hassle-free business registration process for Oregon entrepreneurs. They also provide ongoing support and resources to help businesses stay compliant and grow.

Visit Bizee Now

By researching and comparing these business registration services, Oregon entrepreneurs can find the best option to meet their specific needs and simplify the registration process.

Business Registration Laws in Oregon

In Oregon, the process of registering a business involves several steps and requirements. Here are the key aspects of business registration laws in Oregon:

  • Business Structure: In Oregon, you can choose from various business structures, including sole proprietorships, partnerships, Limited Liability Companies (LLCs), and corporations. Each structure has its own requirements and implications for liability, taxation, and governance.
  • Registering a Business Name: If you plan to operate your business under a name other than your own legal name (for sole proprietorships) or the names of the owners (for partnerships), you must register a “Doing Business As” (DBA) name with the Oregon Secretary of State. This process ensures that your business name is unique and not already in use by another entity.
  • Oregon Secretary of State: The Oregon Secretary of State is responsible for business registration in the state. Their website provides detailed information, resources, and forms for registering a business. You can visit their website to find the necessary forms and filing instructions.
  • Oregon Business Registry: The Oregon Business Registry is a centralized online system where you can register your business with the state. It allows you to register a new business, renew existing registrations, and manage your business information. The registry consolidates several registrations, such as registering for taxes and obtaining licenses and permits.
  • Tax Registration: Most businesses in Oregon are required to register for taxes with the Oregon Department of Revenue. You may need to obtain an Oregon Tax Identification Number or other tax-related permits or licenses, depending on the nature of your business.
  • Professional Licenses: Certain professions and occupations in Oregon require specific licenses or certifications. If your business falls into a regulated profession or occupation, you may need to obtain the necessary licenses or certifications before conducting business legally.
  • Local Requirements: Depending on your location within Oregon, there may be additional local requirements, such as obtaining a business license or permit from the city or county where your business is located. It’s essential to check with the local government offices to determine any specific obligations.

It’s crucial to keep in mind that the registration process may vary depending on your specific business activities and circumstances. It’s advisable to consult with a legal professional or the Oregon Secretary of State’s office to ensure compliance with the most current laws and regulations.

Alternative Business Registration Methods in Oregon

In Oregon, the traditional method of registering a business is through the Oregon Secretary of State’s office. However, there are alternative business registration methods available as well. Here are a few options:

Online Registration 

The Oregon Secretary of State’s office offers an online registration system called “Oregon Business Registry.” This allows you to register your business online and complete the necessary forms electronically. It’s a convenient and efficient way to register your business.

Business Attorney or CPA 

If you prefer personalized assistance, you can hire a business attorney or a certified public accountant (CPA) who is familiar with Oregon business registration requirements. They can guide you through the registration process, ensure compliance with all regulations, and help you make informed decisions about your business structure.

Business Incubators or Accelerators

If you’re starting a tech or innovation-focused business, you may consider joining a business incubator or accelerator program. These programs provide resources, mentorship, and networking opportunities to help startups succeed. Some of these programs may assist with the business registration process as part of their support.

It’s important to note that regardless of the method you choose, you should ensure compliance with all legal and regulatory requirements for registering your business in Oregon. Consider consulting with a professional to understand the specific needs and obligations related to your business type and structure.

Benefits of Registering Your Business in Oregon

Try out ZenBusiness

Registering your business in Oregon offers several benefits. Here are some key advantages:

  • Legal Recognition: Registering your business in Oregon ensures that it’s legally recognized and operates within the framework of the law. This provides credibility and legitimacy to your business, making it easier to establish relationships with customers, suppliers, and financial institutions.
  • Limited Liability Protection: By registering your business as a corporation or a Limited Liability Company (LLC), you can separate your assets from those of the business. This limited liability protection safeguards your assets from business debts and legal liabilities, reducing your financial risk.
  • Access to Business Loans and Funding: Registered businesses have better access to loans, financing options, and investment opportunities. Banks and financial institutions often require legal business registration as a prerequisite for providing loans and credit lines. Investors also prefer to work with registered businesses, as it provides them with a sense of security and professionalism.
  • Tax Benefits: Oregon offers various tax benefits for businesses. The state has no sales tax, which can be advantageous if your business primarily deals with retail sales. Additionally, Oregon has a lower corporate income tax rate compared to many other states, potentially reducing your tax burden.
  • Business Name Protection: Registering your business in Oregon ensures that no other entity can operate under the same name within the state. This protects your business’s brand identity and helps you build a strong reputation without worrying about someone else using a similar name.
  • Enhanced Credibility and Trust: Being a registered business in Oregon enhances your credibility and instills trust among customers, partners, and suppliers. Registration demonstrates your commitment to professionalism and compliance with state regulations, giving stakeholders confidence in your operations.
  • Perpetual Existence: Registering your business as a corporation or LLC in Oregon allows for perpetual existence. This means that the business can continue to operate even if the original owners sell their interests or pass away. This offers stability and continuity, attracting investors and potential buyers.
  • Access to Government Contracts: Many government agencies and organizations require businesses to be registered to bid on contracts. By registering your business in Oregon, you can participate in government procurement opportunities, which can be lucrative and provide long-term stability for your business.

Remember, the specific benefits and requirements may vary based on the type of business entity you choose and the nature of your operations. It’s advisable to consult with a qualified attorney or accountant who can provide personalized advice based on your business’s unique circumstances.

Is Business Registration Required in Oregon? Find Out Here

Absolutely, in Oregon, it’s generally necessary for businesses to register with the state. The specific registration requirements differ based on the type of business entity, the nature of operations, and other relevant factors. Some common registration types include obtaining a Tax Permit, registering an Oregon Limited Liability Company (LLC) or Corporation, and acquiring professional licenses or permits for specific industries.

It’s crucial to conduct comprehensive research on the specific registration obligations for your business to ensure adherence and prevent possible legal and financial consequences.

How to Register Your Business in Oregon – Frequently Asked Questions

What Do I Need to Register a Business in Oregon?

To register a business in Oregon, you will need to select a business name, establish the legal structure, and file the required documents with the Oregon Secretary of State. The precise requirements will vary depending on the nature of your business, but typically, you will need to submit Articles of Organization, designate a registered agent, and secure any relevant licenses or permits.

How Much Does It Cost to Register a Company in Oregon?

The expenses involved in registering a company in Oregon vary based on the legal structure of your business and the specific filing you’re pursuing. For instance, the filing fee for an LLC’s Articles of Organization in Oregon is $100, while for a corporation, it’s $100 as well. It’s important to note that there may be additional fees for other filings and permits that your business might require.

Can a Foreigner Start a Business in Oregon?

Foreign entrepreneurs have the opportunity to start businesses in Oregon, subject to meeting the necessary legal criteria. Foreign business owners need to ensure compliance with visa or work permit regulations, and they should also consider registering their businesses with the appropriate state and federal agencies as required.

Do I Need to Register My Online Business in Oregon?

If you’re engaged in an online business in Oregon, it may be necessary to register your business with the state, depending on the type of business you have and the nature of your online activities. Sole proprietorships and partnerships might not require registration, while corporations and LLCs are likely to have this obligation. 

Additionally, you may need to obtain specific permits and licenses, such as a sales tax permit from the Oregon Department of Revenue. 

To determine the exact requirements for your business in Oregon, it’s advisable to seek the guidance of a qualified attorney or accountant. They can provide valuable assistance in navigating the complex rules and regulations that govern businesses in the state, ensuring that you comply with all relevant laws and regulations.

Visit ZenBusiness Now 

Bottom Line on How to Register Your Business in Oregon


Registering your business in Oregon is essential for adhering to state laws and regulations. Although it might seem overwhelming, by adhering to the necessary guidelines and meeting the required criteria, you can lay a solid foundation for your enterprise.

Ensuring your business name and legal structure align with the Oregon Secretary of State’s requirements, completing essential paperwork, and securing any industry-specific licenses and permits pertinent to your location are vital steps. Simplify this process and ensure compliance with all mandates by utilizing a business registration service such as Northwest Registered Agent.

Devoting time to properly registering your business in Oregon can prevent future legal and financial complications, positioning you for success.

Use Northwest Registered Agent To Start a Business

Read about how to register a business in any US state:

About the author

Dr. Gabriel O'Neill, Esq., a distinguished legal scholar with a business law degree and a Doctor of Juridical Science, is a leading expert in business registration and diverse business departments. Renowned for his academic excellence and practical insights, Dr. O'Neill guides businesses through legal complexities, offering invaluable expertise in compliance, corporate governance, and registration processes.

As an accomplished author, his forthcoming book is anticipated to be a comprehensive guide for navigating the dynamic intersection of law and business, providing clarity and practical wisdom for entrepreneurs and legal professionals alike. With a commitment to legal excellence, Dr. Gabriel O'Neill, Esq., is a trusted authority dedicated to empowering businesses within the ever-evolving legal landscape.