Starting a business in Oregon will mean potentially registering with a number of federal, state, and local agencies. Let’s take a look at common licenses and permits a business will register for in Oregon.
Before applying for any licenses, the business structure will first need to be established. Learn more about the differences between the sole proprietorship, general partnership, corporation, and Limited Liability Company (LLC).
Related: Comparison of Business Entities
Learn more about forming an LLC in Oregon
Also see: Steps to starting a business in Oregon
General Business License
There is no general state of Oregon business license, however, many cities require businesses to be licensed in order to operate. Rules for business registration vary depending on location and what the business does. Below are a few cities that have licensing requirements.
Portland – All businesses doing business in Portland must register for the City of Portland’s Business License Tax and the Multnomah County Business Income Tax.
Doing business is defined as:
- Your business has a retail location in Portland
- Your business performs services in Portland and/or Multnomah County
- Your business maintains a stock of goods in city limits
- Your business has residential or commercial rental property in Portland and/or Multnomah County
- You are self-employed and work in Portland and/or Multnomah County
There is no cost to register for the business license, however, taxes will be collected annually.
Eugene – Only a few types of businesses will need to register with the City of Eugene. They include payday lenders, public passenger vehicle companies, and tobacco retailers.
Salem – A business license in Salem is needed for businesses such as vehicle transportation companies like taxis, limos, Uber, etc., tree trimmers, second-hand dealers, and a few others.
Gresham – All businesses operating in the City limits of Gresham need a business license. This includes commercial businesses, home-based businesses, and independent contractors. Business registration is required for any company operating within the corporate limits of the city. Additionally, certain businesses such as billiard halls, food service establishments, tattoo artists, ice cream trucks, and more have to register with the Office of the City Clerk.
Hillsboro – The City of Hillsboro requires all businesses to be licensed in order to operate in the City.
Hillsboro business license fees start at $105.
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Building & Zoning Permits
Zoning – Depending on the location of the business, it’s important to verify whether the business needs an occupancy permit or has specific zoning regulations to follow. Depending on city requirements, home-based businesses may need to apply for a home occupation permit.
Building Permit – A building permit may be needed from the city or county building and planning department if there is any construction or renovations to a facility.
Signage Permit – Some municipalities require a permit before adding signage.
Oregon Business Identification Number
Any in-state or out-of-state business with employees working in Oregon or corporations with or without employees must obtain a Business Identification Number from the Oregon Department of Revenue.
A variety of professions in the state are regulated and need to be registered before offering certain services. A few common professions that require licensing in Oregon include; food-related businesses, accountants, electricians, barbers, and many more. Additional information, fees, and Oregon licensing requirements for professions are available from the Oregon Department of Consumer & Business Services.
Employer Identification Number (EIN)
Many businesses will register with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) for an EIN (also referred to as a FEIN, Federal Employer Identification Number, or Federal Tax ID Number). The EIN is the business equivalent of a Social Security Number for an individual. Corporations, Limited Liability Companies, Partnerships, and Sole Proprietorships with employees will all need to register for one. Sole Proprietorships without employees can use the owner’s Social Security Number.
There is no cost for an EIN, and it only takes a few minutes to get.
Assumed Name Registration
While not a business license, it’s common for Sole Proprietorships and Partnerships operating under a name that is different from the full name of the owner(s) to register for an Assumed Name (also known as a Doing Business As or DBA) with the Oregon Secretary of State’s Office.
These are just some of the most common business licenses a new business will need to register before starting. Before starting your business, be sure to check with City Hall, County Clerk, Chamber of Commerce, and/or Economic Developer in your area to get more information regarding business licensing.
We own a Short Term Rental home that’s set up as a LLC in Manzanita Oregon. On 8/01/2023 the city is increasing the business license fee to $850 annually. It is currently $250 annually. Any other type of business in Manzanita pays $125 annual business license fee.
Is the a limitation in Oregon as to how much a business license can increase annually?
Hi Joel – Sorry to hear this. That’s a huge jump and unfortunately, the city can set the rates to whatever they feel is appropriate. Your best best is to gather other business owners and speak up at the next city council meeting, in addition to getting some public support by getting the story out to the local publications. You may also want to reach out to the Chamber of Commerce and maybe even a local attorney to also help push the issue.
I hope you are able to get this reduced!