Business Licenses in Oregon

While businesses are not required to obtain general business licenses in Oregon at the state level, Oregon businesses are required to obtain a general business license from each municipality for those unincorporated areas where you operate your business.

If you operate a limited liability company (LLC), partnership, or corporation, you must register your business with Oregon’s Secretary of State using the Central Business Directory.

Frequently Asked Questions

Below are some answers to those frequently asked questions regarding business licenses in the State of Oregon.

  • What type of business license do I need?

As previously mentioned, the State of Oregon does not require a general business license at the state level. However, certain business activities may require special licenses or permits at the county or even city level. Some local permits that may be required depending on your type of business include:

  • Alarm
  • Building
  • Tax
  • Health
  • Occupational
  • Signage
  • Zoning
  • How do I find out which license my business requires?

In order to find out what specific licenses are required, you can check with the local city and county to determine what is needed. The State of Oregon has an online directory that can provide you with additional information.

  • What are some other possible requirements needed to start my business?

Some other requirements may include:

  • Registering patents, trademarks, or copyrights.
  • Purchasing wholesale for your company.
    • Checking with other departments, i.e., the Department of Environment Qualifications, depending on the type of business you are running, as well as the Americans with Disabilities Act.                                                                                                                                                                                                           
  • Do I need to register my business in Oregon?

Yes, all businesses in Oregon must be registered, including those businesses operating as DBAs, assumed names, sole proprietorship, LLC, corporation, or limited partnership. The form can be filed on the Oregon Secretary of State website or mailed to the State’s Corporation Division. The filing fee is $50.

  • What is required to obtain a city or county business license in Oregon?

You may need to fill out the following additional forms:

  • City Business License Application
  • City Exemption Request Form
  • Business Income Tax Form

Exemptions may apply, so be sure to reach out to the local municipality for additional information.

  • What do I need to fill out?

Commercial entities must fill out the business license application.

Home-based entities, generally assumed names, must fill out a business license application as well as a home occupation worksheet.

  • What about tax registration?

Tax registration is required for employers who hire employees to work for the company. An Employer Identification Number (EIN) must be assigned from the United States Internal Revenue Service. Keep in mind that those businesses operating within Oregon are required to register for additional identification numbers, licenses, or permits for different tax purposes.

Some examples of other tax requirements may include:

  • Sales and use tax
  • Unemployment insurance tax
  • Income tax withholding
  • What if I have a DBA?

A DBA (Doing Business As), also referred to as an Assumed Business Name, is a fictitious name used for a business. In the State of Oregon, a DBA is required for any individual who plans to conduct business under anything other than their real name.

  • What other requirements are there?

If you are a business owner with employees, then there are generally going to be additional registration requirements, some of which include:

  • Federal Income Tax Withholding. Employees are required to fill out an exemption certificate (W-4) for their employer. In turn, the employer is responsible for submitting the W-4 to the IRS.
  • Federal Wage and Tax Statement. This form, also referred to as a W-2, is something that employers must report to the IRS on an annual basis.
  • Employee Eligibility Verification (Form I-9)
  • Proof of eligibility to work in the U.S.
  • Immigration Regulations                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          
  • Do I have to report new hires?

Yes, all newly and re-hired employees must be declared within 20 days of hiring.

  • Are there any insurance requirements?

Oregon requires businesses to carry certain types of insurance, including:

  • Unemployment insurance
  • Disability insurance
  • Workers' compensation insurance

There are many requirements and steps to take when obtaining a business license for any type of business, whether it is a sole proprietorship, corporation, LLC, LLP, general partnership, or DBA. If you need help obtaining business licenses for your Oregon business, you can post your legal need on UpCounsel’s marketplace. UpCounsel accepts only the top 5 percent of lawyers to its site. Lawyers on UpCounsel come from law schools such as Harvard Law and Yale Law and average 14 years of legal experience, including work with or on behalf of companies like Google, Stripe, and Twilio.