Do I need to register my business in Oregon? Oregon is booming with diverse industries as entrepreneurs and business owners are opening shop. There are many organizations and resources available to help entrepreneurs start their own business.

Starting a Business in Oregon

The first step to starting a business in Oregon is having a business plan and doing the appropriate research. When planning on starting a business in Oregon, you can contact the closest Small Business Development Center for assistance.

Choosing a business name is key, which is why registering it should be at the top of your list. You have to make sure no other business in the State of Oregon registered their business with your chosen name. If the name is not yet registered with the Oregon Secretary of State, it will be granted to the first person applying for it.

The next step is business registration which includes business tax numbers, insurance, permits, licensing, hiring, and employer obligations. All necessary forms, checklists, and information are found in the Business Portal at Business Oregon.

After that, all you need to do it find financing and grow your business. In terms of financing, you may receive assistance offered by Business Oregon.

Do some research to see how to make the most of your business. For example, consider entering foreign markets, work with non-profit organizations or grow sustainably with the Grow Oregon program.

Assumed Business Name

To ensure that your selected assumed business name is protected, you need to use it on a daily basis to defend it. Registration means using the name in business, but actively defending it means that other businesses won't steal your name.

You'll want to use this name on any letterheads, business cards, advertisements, directory listings, products, and signs, whether its an individual assumed business name, or an incorporated business, as stated by Northwest Corporate Law.

Incorporated businesses sometimes register multiple assumed business names, all of which are made public. However, if your business is incorporated, the true name of your business will be the exact name listed in the Articles section filed with the Oregon Secretary of State. This is the name you will use on all contracts, agreements, orders, accounts, and checks from that point forward.

Oregon Certificate of Authority

Before doing business in Oregon, companies must be registered with the Oregon Secretary of State, even if they are already registered in another state, according to Harbor Compliance. This certificate of authority is required to avoid penalty or fines, and is often requested at banks, by vendors, and by licensing agencies.

You'll need a certificate of authority when:

  • Opening a new office/location in a foreign state
  • Hiring a resident of that state
  • Starting a new contract or job in a foreign state
  • Meeting vendor or bank requirements
  • Applying for necessary licenses

When applying for an Oregon Certificate of Authority, prepare to pay state fees. Here are the approximate processing times and fees:

  1. Limited Liability Company (Expedite): 1-2 business days, $430; (Non-Expedite): 2 weeks, $280
  2. Corporation (Expedite): 1-2 business days, $430; (Non-Expedite): 2 weeks, $280
  3. Nonprofit Corporation (Expedite): 1-2 business days, $205; (Non-Expedite): 2 weeks, $55

To receive your Oregon Certificate of Authority, you must submit an Application for Certificate of Authority, along with required certificates (copies accepted). You must appoint a registered agent and provide their physical address so he/she can receive all notices in regards to your business. Follow all instructions carefully to avoid rejections.

Oregon Licenses, Permits and Registration

Your local government may require specific permits and licenses since each municipality has its own regulations. Common licenses and permits include Alarm Permit, Building Permit, Business License and/or Tax Permit, Health Permit, Occupational Permit, Signage Permit, and Zoning Permit.

Even home based businesses require a Home Occupation Permit from the Planning Department.

What Are the Insurance Requirements?

All State of Oregon businesses require insurance, and more information can be found in the Business Insurance Guide.

This includes:

  • Disability insurance for workers with a non-work related injury or illness. Oregon employers are not required to offer this insurance.
  • Unemployment insurance for eligible workers
  • Worker's Compensation for employees injured on the job

Employer Requirements

Then, there are taxes to take care of. As required by the IRS, employment tax records must be kept for four years.

All employees must be granted W-4 or W-2 forms upon employment, and the employer is responsible for submitting these forms to the IRS each year.

In addition to federal taxes, the state of Oregon has its own taxes. Visit your local state tax agency for more information.

If you need help with registering your business in Oregon, 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.