How to Get a Small Business License in Oregon

Learn the steps required to obtain a business license in Oregon.

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The Beaver State's pioneer past is reflected in its modern efforts to attract new businesses, including a variety of online resources on how to get a small business license in Oregon. The Secretary of State's, Corporation Division runs Oregon's Business Information Center, an information clearinghouse that offers general business, registration, and agency contact information along with access to online forms for creating or expanding nonprofit and commercial ventures. The Secretary of State's, Corporation Division also publishes an online guide, How to Start a Business in Oregon, with step-by-step guidance on and useful checklists for beginning your new business. In addition, Small Business Development Centers (SBDC) located throughout Oregon can further aid small business start-ups with helpful planning advice, mentors, training, and resources. Small business owners may also wish to contact the University of Oregon School of Law 's Small Business Clinic for free legal consultations. Some basic tips on how to get a small business license in Oregon are listed below.

  • General Business Licenses. In Oregon, your new business must obtain a general business license from each city or county for unincorporated areas where you operate your business. You may want to contact your local city or county administrative offices or check their websites for licensing information and forms. On a state level, Oregon does not require a general business license. However, certain types of business entities, such as limited liability companies, partnerships, and corporations, must register with the Secretary of State's, Corporation Division using its Central Business Directory. By answering a few questions about your business and planned locations, the state's online survey tool, Business Wizard, can help your new business to navigate Oregon's licensing, permitting, and other governmental requirements by generating a list of agency referrals and forms customized for your business or nonprofit development needs.
  • Specialized Licensing for Regulated Occupations and Industries. Aside from a general business license, specific occupations and industries are required to obtain specialized licenses, certifications, and permits. The state has developed an official Oregon License Directory to provide information and links to forms on relevant state licenses as well as participating city and county licensing authorities. This comprehensive directory contains a searchable database of over 1,100 specialized licenses, permits, and certifications. Using the directory, you can determine your licensing eligibility, how to register for your license, what licensing agency to contact, as well as find online application and renewal licensing forms. A list of links to some of the most common or popular specialized licenses are found on the home page of the Oregon License Directory for faster assistance. The public can also use the directory to look up the licensing status of existing businesses.
  • Assumed Business Name Registration. In some instances, you may need to file an Assumed Business Name or “doing business as” registration. If you as an individual or other business entity decide to conduct business using a name other than your “real and true” name, then you must apply for an Assumed Business Name. For example, a sole proprietor's real and true name is that individual's first, middle, and last name. If you operate your business under another name, then you must file for an Assumed Business Name. Conveniently, this filing with the Secretary of State's, Corporation Division can be accomplished online through its Central Business Directory. Businesses can renew these registrations at the state's Business Registry Web Renewal portal.

July 2013

Updated by: , J.D.

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