How to Register an Oregon DBA

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In Oregon, a business operating under a fictitious name will need to register a DBA.  Learn more about what a DBA is, who needs one, and how to register.

Related: How to start a business in Oregon 

What is a DBA?

A DBA, also known as “Doing Business As,” Trade Name, Assumed Name, or Fictitious Name, is a name used by a business that is different from the legal name of the business.   This name is often referred to as an Assumed Business Name in Oregon.

When a business wants to operate under a name other than its legal name, the state of Oregon, like most states, requires the business to register their business name.  The registration requirement was designed to protect consumers from business owners hiding anonymously behind the name of a business.

What is a DBA good for?

A DBA is required for many businesses in order to legally operate and provides information on the people operating a business.  In addition to the legal requirement, a DBA offers other benefits such as proving the existence of a business, opening a bank account under a business name, registering a merchant account to accept credit cards, and others.

Who needs to register for an Oregon DBA?

The requirements and need to register an Assumed Business Name are organized under Oregon Statutes ORS 648.007.  These requirements vary depending on the type of business entity.

Sole proprietorships and general partnerships are the most common entities to register for a DBA.

The legal name of a sole proprietor or partnership can be the owner’s full first name, middle initial, and last name, which can be used without registering.  For example, if John F. Smith starts a business repairing computers operating under John F. Smith or John F. Smith Computer Repair, he doesn’t need to register.  If John decides to name his business John’s Computer Repair, he will need to register.

Corporations and Limited Liability Companies won’t typically register a fictitious name since a unique entity name is created during the formation process.  Some will file for a DBA if they have another business they want to operate under their corporate/LLC umbrella to keep the liability protection without forming another entity.

Related: Difference between a sole proprietorship and Limited Liability Company (LLC)

Oregon DBA Registration Form

Forms to file an Assumed Business Name Registration are available from the Secretary of State.

How much does a DBA cost in Oregon?

The filing fee to register a DBA in Oregon is $50.

Name filings need to be renewed every two years.

What are the steps to file a DBA in Oregon?

Step 1 – Verify Name Availability
A business may not register a name that is the same or similar to another business in Oregon.

A business name is considered unique if it does not exactly copy a registered name. One word, the order of key words, addition of numbers, creative spelling, or even a letter’s difference in a name is enough to make it unique. In addition, an assumed business name is filed by the county, so there may be a registered name that is identical in another county.

Names can be searched on the Secretary of State’s website.  Learn how to do a business name search in Oregon.

Step 2 – Fill out the Form
Information requested on the form includes:

      • Name being registered
      • What the business does
      • Principal address of the business
      • Name and mailing address of the owners
      • Counties the name is being registered to be used in

Step 3 – Submit the Form
Submit the filing fee and form.  If mailing, send to:

Secretary of State – Corporation Division
255 Capitol St. NE, Suite 151
Salem, OR 97310-1327

Are there any words you can’t use in a DBA?

DBAs can’t be registered using words related to banking or financial activities without approval from the Oregon Division of Finance and Corporate Securities. Names must also be written in the English language, but can include numbers and incidental punctuation.

Can someone steal my business name?

While registering your Trade Name will keep someone else from registering the exact same name in Oregon, it does very little from someone else operating a business under that name in other states. If stopping others from using your business name is important, you can protect it through a trademark.

Learn more about trademarking a business name.

Related: What is the difference between a trademark, copyright, and patent?

Does a DBA need an EIN?

An EIN or Employer Identification Number is a unique nine-digit number that some businesses will register for through the Internal Revenue Department (IRS). An EIN is required for partnerships, corporations, multi-member LLCs, or any business that has employees.

Sole proprietorships and single-member LLCs without employees can use the owner’s social security number to identify the business.

There is no cost to get an EIN when registering directly from the IRS.

Related: How to register for an EIN in Oregon

Questions?

If you have questions about the process, you can contact the Secretary of State at 503-986-2200.