Must-Know Information About How to Register Your Business in Oregon

Must-Know Information About How to Register Your Business in Oregon

Do you know how to register your small business in Oregon? If not, you’re in luck! It’s not a complicated part of creating a business, but it is important to know what you need to do in advance to make sure you have everything you need to get the process rolling.

Decide on a Legal Structure for Your Business

First things first—it’s time to decide on a legal structure for your business. The most common legal structures for small businesses are a sole proprietorship, a partnership, a limited liability company (LLC), and a corporation. There are some variations on these structures, but those are the main categories you can choose from.

You’ll want to think about which type of business gives you the liability protection you want, as well as the tax and financial benefits you need. We recommend speaking with an accountant and an attorney before deciding on a legal structure for your business.

Pick a Name for Your Business

If you decide to go with a corporation or an LLC as your business structure, you’ll need to make sure your business name is different from other names already on file with the Oregon Secretary of State. That just takes a quick business name search on the Oregon Secretary of State’s website.

You may also want to do a trademark search at both the federal and state levels to make sure the name you want to use for your business is not the same as something that is already trademarked.

Partnerships and sole proprietorships generally use the names of the owners and do not require a unique name. If you want to operate under a different name, you’ll need to file a DBA with the state.

Register Your Business in Oregon

You can file your business formation documents either online or by mail. How you register your business in Oregon looks a little different depending on the legal structure you choose.

Partnerships and sole proprietorships do not have to register as a business at all. But corporations and LLCs are required to register with the state. Registering is how you’ll get a business identification number, which you’ll need for tax purposes.

For a Corporation: You’ll need to file Articles of Incorporation with the Oregon Secretary of State. You also need to appoint a registered agent in Oregon, and you should prepare bylaws to establish operating rules, though this is not a legal requirement and does not need to be filed.

For an LLC: You’ll need to file Articles of Incorporation with the Oregon Secretary of State and appoint a registered agent. You may want to establish an operating agreement, though this is not a legal requirement and does not need to be filed.

About Articles of Incorporation

Articles of Incorporation should include a corporate name and address, the registered agent’s name and address, information about the number of shares the corporation can issue, the names of the president and secretary, and the incorporator names and addresses. You can file this paperwork in person or by mail.

Register your business online through the Oregon Business Registry. It’s important to know that when you do, your business’s information will become public record, and for that reason, we recommend that you don’t use your home address to register the business.

See forms and a complete fee schedule for registering your business with the state here.

Licenses and Permits for Your Oregon Business

The state of Oregon doesn’t have a general business license.

However, many businesses and occupations require a license, permit, or certification. This license search can help you get started on applying for any licenses you might need in the state of Oregon.

Local jurisdictions may have their own requirements. Check with your city office to see if anything further is required for your business. You’ll also want to check that your location is zoned for your business activity or if there are any restrictions on home-based businesses. Your city or county planning office can provide this information for you.

How to Change Oregon Business Registry Information

If you need to change information about your registered business, the process depends on what you need to do.

To update your office, officer, registered agent, and address information, you can submit an online information change form (or do it via mail or fax).

To change your business name, you need to file articles of amendment with the Oregon Secretary of State’s office.

To change your business structure, you must cancel your assumed business name registration and file your new formation document. Under certain circumstances, the fee is waived.

Do you have any questions about how to register or amend your business’s information in Oregon? If you do, get in touch with your local SBDC at OregonSBDC.org. We’re here to help!