How to Register a Business Licence in the State of Oregon

By Nicki Howell

  • Overview

    The State of Oregon requires that all individuals participating in business activities apply for a business license. And if you plan on doing business under a name that isn't your own, you will need to register for a "Doing Business As" name with the Oregon Secretary of State. Fortunately, the State of Oregon's Corporate Office provides extensive resources to assist those launching a new business. Here's a guide to applying for and registering your business name in the State of Oregon.
    • Step 1

      Apply for your business license. The state of Oregon requires those participating in business activities to obtain a business license with their city's business department. Large cities such as Portland allow individuals to print off application forms online and mail in with the appropriate fee, usually about $50. If you visit your City Hall department, you can also pick up a hard copy of the business license application.
    • Step 2

      Register your business name. If you are operating under a business name other then your own, you will need to register your name with the Oregon Secretary of State. You can search available business names and register your business name online (see Resources).


    • Step 3

      Renew your business license annually. Your city will send you renewal information annually. The cost for renewing a license is usually about $50; the same fee you paid initially. It's important to return the paperwork immediately to avoid penalties or late fees for allowing your business license to lapse.
    • Step 4

      Determine if you will apply for a tax identification number. The State of Oregon doesn't require you to have a tax identification number unless you have employees. However, if you are a sole proprietor and prefer not to use your Social Security Number, consider getting a tax ID number. You can apply online for free (see Resources).
    • Step 5

      Check with the Department of Environmental Quality. If your business will be producing carbon emissions or other potentially harmful bi-products, Oregon may have additional restrictions on doing business. Check with Oregon's Corporate Division for requirements (see Resources).
    • Skill: Moderate
    • Tip: Consider county and city zoning restrictions. If you plan on doing business out of a home office, check with your county for additional zoning requirements.
    • Warning:
    • Business license applications can take a couple weeks to process. If you haven't heard back after 1 to 2 weeks, contact your city for a status update.

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