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What Business Licenses & Permits are Needed in Oregon?

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.


Done for you license research

Take the guesswork out of figuring out what licenses and permits are required to start your business with license research packages from IncFile and CorpNet.

For as little as $99, you can save a lot of time and know your business is in compliance with local, state, and federal requirements. 


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.


Professional License

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.

Learn how to apply for an EIN

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.

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