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Last Updated: 1/31/24

How to Start an LLC in Oregon

Kicking off your Oregon LLC journey? You’re in the right spot! Oregon, with its towering trees and vibrant culture, is more than just nature hikes and artisanal brews.

Establishing an LLC in Oregon isn’t a walk in one of its many lush forests, but with a bit of guidance, you’ll navigate it smoothly. To get started, there are certain legal requirements to tick off, some paperwork to fill out, and, of course, a rendezvous with the tax department. The grand finale? Registering your company with the state government, which is like your business’s official “hello” to the Beaver State.

Now here’s a quick rundown of Oregon’s LLC requirements:

  1. Name your Oregon LLC. Ensure your name reflects your business vision and complies with Oregon state naming regulations.
  2. Appoint a registered agent in Oregon. A reliable registered agent helps ensure seamless service of legal documents and helps maintain your LLC’s good standing with the Oregon Secretary of State.
  3. File Oregon Articles of Organization. This certificate is the legal document that officially registers your business.
  4. Create an operating agreement. The operating agreement establishes a clear operational framework for your business.
  5. Apply for an EIN. An EIN is essential for tax purposes and for opening a business bank account, distinguishing your business as a separate entity.

Before your Oregon LLC takes its first step, there’s some prep work. Selecting the perfect name for your LLC is key, followed by choosing a registered agent. Drafting an operating agreement and nabbing an Employer Identification Number (EIN) from the IRS are also on the to-do list.

Embarking on a business journey might seem daunting, but don’t fret! Setting up an LLC in Oregon is more predictable than its ever-changing weather.

Lastly, a heads up: Our guide here zeroes in on domestic LLCs in Oregon. For those eyeing a foreign LLC or professional LLC (PLLC), that’s a different ballgame. Stick with us, and we’ll illuminate the path to your Oregon LLC in a jiffy.

1. Name your Oregon LLC

illustration of step 1 in forming an llc in oregon

How to Name an Oregon LLC

Pick a unique name for your LLC. Choosing your company’s name is the first step to starting your Oregon LLC. Your name is how customers and clients will remember you. It will also be what draws in prospective buyers as you begin marketing.

While your name needs to be catchy and memorable, it also should fit your industry. If you’re forming an LLC with other owners (called “members”), you’ll want their input to ensure everyone agrees on a company name. Lastly, but most importantly, you need to make sure your name is compliant with Oregon’s business laws.

We recommend making a list of three to five names (or more) before conducting your Oregon business name search to see which names are available. You have to make sure that your LLC’s name doesn’t already belong to another company in Oregon. This is where the list comes in handy. Follow the instructions on our Oregon Business Entity Name Search page to learn how to search for the names on your list. If they’re already taken, cross them off. If not, narrow your list down.

Oregon Secretary of State Requirements

Next, make sure you review the additional requirements for naming your LLC in Oregon before settling on a name. From there, you’ll decide on the remaining names on your own or with the other members until you have the name that best fits your company and meets Oregon’s compliance laws.

When you have your name ready, you’ll also need to decide on an LLC designator. An LLC designator is a suffix added to your company name to denote that your business is an LLC. This means you’ll need to add a suffix like “LLC” to the end of your company name. You have three choices: spelling out “Limited Liability Company” in full or using the abbreviation “LLC” or “L.L.C.”

Once you have your designator chosen, you have the option to reserve your company’s name to ensure no one else takes it while you’re finishing the registration process. Oregon allows you to reserve a business name for 120 days for a fee.

Securing a Domain Name for Your Oregon LLC

While the above covers the basic steps for selecting an LLC name, there are some other factors you’ll want to consider. For instance, if you want to create a company website, you’ll need to find an available domain name, ideally one that matches up with your company’s name. You can do a fast domain name search to determine if your URL is free. Once you’ve found a domain name that makes sense, reach out to a professional company like ours to help you register your new domain name.

Check federal and state trademarks

The Secretary of State may accept your LLC’s name, but that doesn’t mean it’s totally in the clear. Business names can be trademarked at the federal and state levels. Check with the United States Patent and Trademark Office website to see if anything similar is already trademarked at the federal level.

State trademarks apply only within the state, but they’re easier and less expensive to get than federal trademarks. To check to see if your name has been trademarked in Oregon, Oregon.gov has a database of state trademarks you can check. While you’re there, you can also apply for a state trademark of your own.

Trademark Search: Want to register a trademark? You check the availability of your intended trademark at the United States Patent and Trademark Office and the Oregon Secretary of State Trademark search.

It’s also a good idea to do some independent research to see if anyone else has laid claim to your desired business name. You can conduct internet searches or even consult a trademark attorney.

Getting an Assumed Name for Your LLC in Oregon

In addition, you might be interested in securing a DBA name. A DBA (“doing business as”) name, also known as an “assumed name” in Oregon, is an alternate name you can use for your business. You’ll need to register an assumed name if you plan to do business under any name other than your LLC’s legal name.

To secure a DBA in Oregon, you’ll go back through the name search to ensure the name you’ll use is available. If it is, you’ll fill out a new Assumed Name Registration form. There’s a filing fee for this, and the filing is good for two years. Our DBA service can take care of this for you.

2. Appoint a registered agent in Oregon

illustration of step 2 in forming an llc in oregon

Designate a registered agent. Once you have your company name decided, you’ll next want to find a registered agent for your Oregon LLC. A registered agent is an individual or business entity that receives important legal documents (such as service of process) as well as correspondence from the Oregon Secretary of State on behalf of your LLC.

Every LLC in Oregon is required to designate a registered agent for their company. Your Oregon registered agent can be an individual or business entity, as long as they meet state requirements. 

If the agent is an individual, they must be an Oregon resident who’s at least 18 years old. If the agent is a business entity, it must be authorized to transact business in Oregon. In either case, the agent must be available during normal business hours (typically 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. local time) at a designated physical street address so that they can receive service of process in person. The address can’t be a P.O. box or something similar.

Should you become your own registered agent?

Can you be your own Oregon registered agent? Technically, yes. Some companies decide to have an owner serve as their registered agent, but this isn’t always a good idea. Since the government will be reaching out to this agent with important legal documents (potentially including service of process), you likely won’t want to have this happen at your office, where you’ll be meeting with clients during normal business hours.

Registered Agent Services

Many LLCs opt to hire professional registered agent services for this purpose. Here are a couple reasons why you might want to utilize a professional registered agent service rather than acting as your own registered agent:

  • Freedom to leave the office, as the registered agent must be present at the office during all normal business hours.
  • If you’re designated as your LLC’s registered agent, and your office address changes, you’ll be required to refile forms and pay additional filing fees. If you work with a registered agent service, you can change your office address as much as you need to without refiling registered agent paperwork.

Consider ZenBusiness as your registered agent

Our registered agent service can give you peace of mind. Professional registered agent services will pass along all of your legal documents and paperwork to help ensure you remain in good standing.

3. File Oregon Articles of Organization

illustration of step 3 in forming an llc in oregon

File your LLC paperwork with the state. Now that you have your official company name and a registered agent, you’re well on your way to starting an LLC in Oregon. You’re ready to register your LLC with the state of Oregon. You’ll do this by submitting your Articles of Organization through the Oregon Secretary of State website.

Filing official government documents like this can be intimidating for many people, which is why we’re here. With our business formation plans, our team of professionals handles the filing for you to make sure it’s done quickly and correctly the first time. But, although we can handle this for you, we’ll show you how the process works below.

What should be included in the Articles of Organization?

You’ll need the below information handy to complete the Articles of Organization form:

  • Your LLC’s name. Enter your LLC’s official name, including the LLC designator you selected.
  • Your LLC duration. Check “perpetual” if you do not have an end date in mind. Otherwise, specify the date when the LLC will dissolve.
  • Your LLC’s principal office address. Enter the primary operating address for your LLC. This could be your office address or residential address.
  • Your registered agent’s name and address. Enter your registered agent’s full legal name and operating address (located in Oregon). 
  • Address where the division may mail notices.  This is the address where renewal notices will be mailed. Other types of mail will also be delivered to this publicly available address.
  • Your LLC management structure. Enter whether the member(s) will manage your LLC or if appointed or hired manager(s) will run the business.
  • Professional licensed services. If your LLC will be providing a licensed professional service under ORS 58.015 (5), you’ll need to describe it here.
  • Benefit company selection. Check this box if you’re forming a Benefit company.
  • Indemnification:  Checking this box means that you want to indemnify your members, managers, employees, and agents for liability and related expenses under ORS 63.160 – 63.170. Basically, this provides for additional legal protection for them. If you need clarification, consult an attorney.
  • List of LLC members and managers. Enter the names and addresses of all of the LLC’s members (owners) and any managers as they apply to your company.
  • Select an individual with direct knowledge. Enter the name and address of one member or manager who will have direct knowledge and understanding of the company’s operations.
  • Organizer signatures. This is where you and any other owners will sign.

How to File Your Paperwork

There’s a $100 fee for filing fee this form. You can submit the form directly online (Oregon encourages online filings) or mail it to the address below:

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

If you have us handle filing your Articles of Organization, once the Oregon Secretary of State approves your LLC, your paperwork will be available from your ZenBusiness dashboard, where you can keep it and other important paperwork digitally organized.

Once you get your physical paperwork back from the state approving your new LLC, you’ll want to keep it in a safe location along with your other important documents, such as your operating agreement, member certificates, contracts, compliance checklists, transfer ledger, etc. We offer a customized business kit to help you keep these important documents organized and looking professional.

How to Amend Your Articles of Organization

If any of the original information in your Articles needs to be changed or updated, such as adding new members or changing your registered agent, your business is required to inform the state about the changes.

You would report these changes by filing Articles of Amendment with the Oregon Secretary of State Corporation Division and paying a fee. For some guidance, see our page on amending your Oregon Articles of Organization.

Do you need help amending your Articles of Organization? We have an amendment filing service that can handle it for you, as well as our Worry-Free Compliance service, which includes two amendment filings every year.

4. Create an operating agreement

illustration of step 4 in forming an llc in oregon

Draft an LLC operating agreement. At this point, you’re ready to start creating your LLC’s operating agreement. This agreement is not required by law, but it’s strongly encouraged for all businesses. Your LLC’s operating agreement will clearly lay out how your LLC is managed and the different operational procedures to be followed. These agreements are particularly important for LLCs with multiple members, as you can create the way that voting structures and financial profits are managed.

If you’re the only member of your company, an Oregon LLC operating agreement might seem unnecessary, but it can be very important. This document will help protect your business if you’re ever incapacitated or unable to manage your LLC. This will allow your company to continue operating as you’ve outlined. Without this agreement letting your wishes be known, your company will default to being run according to state law, which could be a poor management strategy for your LLC.

Here are some other reasons why you should consider drafting an Oregon LLC operating agreement:

  • An LLC operating agreement can further delineate your company and personal finances, so your personal assets are less likely to be on the hook for company liabilities or debts.
  • An operating agreement can make it easier to resolve or prevent conflict since management structures and voting guidelines will be clearly outlined within this document.
  • An operating agreement makes your company’s operational practices clear to all new members, investors, and managers, so they’ll know how your company is run before agreeing to join.

Although filing your operating agreement is not a state requirement, it’s important to have copies available in case they’re ever needed.

Feeling unsure as to how to create an operating agreement for your LLC? We offer a customizable template to help get you started.

5. Apply for an EIN

illustration of step 5 in forming an llc in oregon

Get an Employer Identification Number (EIN). Once your operating agreement is complete, you’re ready to move on to the fifth and final step — registering for an EIN and checking to see if your company needs any special permits or licenses.

To get started, you’ll need to register your LLC with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) by requesting an Employer Identification Number (EIN). Your company’s EIN is equivalent to a Social Security number, but for businesses. With your EIN, you can file your taxes, set up a business bank account for your company, and hire employees.

If you only have one member in your LLC and no employees, you may not have to register for an EIN, although you might want to. Having an EIN can offer benefits, such as making it easier to separate your company’s taxes and assets from your personal taxes and assets.

You can get your LLC’s EIN through the IRS website, by mail, or by fax, but if you’re unfond of dealing with that particular government agency, we can get it for you. Our EIN service is quick and eliminates the hassle. We can also help you get an EIN for an existing business.

After Forming an LLC in Oregon

After successfully forming your LLC in Oregon, your work isn’t quite finished. It’s crucial to complete several key steps to help ensure your business is fully operational and compliant with state laws.

Getting Business Licenses and Permits

After you register with the IRS, find out if there are any special permits or licenses needed to operate your LLC in Oregon. A general business license is not required in this state, but your industry or county may require one. There could also be additional licensing your LLC requires on the local, state, or federal level, so you’ll need to do some careful research to find out what you need.

If you don’t have the time or inclination to do all this research, or if you just want the peace of mind to know that your LLC has all the business licenses and permits it’s legally required to have, our business license report service can do the work for you.

Setting Up an Accounting System

An effective accounting system is essential for managing your LLC’s finances. It helps in tracking expenses, managing budgets, and even preparing for tax season. 

There are lots of tools available to cover this step, from the simple spreadsheet to robust accounting software or even hiring a professional. ZenBusiness Money can also streamline this process for you. What matters most is that you have a system in place and stick to it.

Opening a Business Bank Account

Once you’ve secured an EIN, you’ll be able to open a business bank account. Having separate accounts for your business and your personal banking is critical for sorting out your finances at tax time and helps you avoid commingling funds. Commingling funds can not only make your taxes more difficult, but it could also be used against you if someone takes you to court to challenge whether you and your LLC are truly separate entities (that is, they want to sue you for not just your business assets, but also your personal assets).

We offer a discounted bank account for your new business. This allows for unlimited transactions, online banking, a debit card, and more. When you want to authorize others in your business to use the account, we offer a banking resolution template to simplify the process.

For further help managing your new business’s finances, try ZenBusiness Money. It can help you create invoices, receive payments, transfer money, and manage clients all in one place.

Staying Informed About Legal Requirements

Staying updated on legal requirements, including tax laws and employment regulations, is vital for your LLC’s ongoing compliance. In this guide, we’ve covered the basic current requirements to start an LLC in Oregon. But they’re subject to change at any time, and it’s your responsibility to adapt accordingly. 

Regularly review state guidelines to stay informed. You might also find it helpful to consult with an attorney or CPA on a regular basis to check that you’re compliant.

Cost to Start an LLC in Oregon

Starting any business will entail some startup costs. Here are some of the most common costs you should expect with your Oregon LLC. 

  • Articles of Organization: $100 (plus any expedited processing fees)
  • Registered Agent Service Fee: Varies by provider, but usually ranges between $100-$300 per year
  • Annual Report Filing Fee: $100 (plus late fees if applicable)

These costs can vary, so it’s recommended to check current fees with the Oregon Secretary of State. Plus, there’s a very good chance you’ll have some unique costs, like getting permits or hiring an attorney for advice.

Oregon Small Business Resources

If you ever find yourself looking for a helping hand, there are quite a few resources available to you. Oregon offers several resources for small businesses. Here are just a few of them.

These resources can be invaluable for guidance and support as you establish and grow your LLC in Oregon. And, of course, this isn’t an exhaustive list; there are other resources, like professional networks, industry groups, and more.

Popular Oregon Cities for Businesses

When considering great cities and locations to start a business in Oregon, it’s important to factor in aspects such as the local economy, access to resources, business-friendly policies, and the target market. Based on these criteria, here are some notable cities and locations in Oregon that are conducive to starting a business:

  • Portland: As the largest city in Oregon, Portland offers a diverse market, a vibrant culture, and a strong focus on innovation and sustainability. The city is known for its supportive environment for startups and small businesses, particularly in the tech, creative, and green energy sectors.
  • Bend: Known for its entrepreneurial spirit, Bend is a hub for outdoor recreation and tourism-related businesses. The city also has a growing tech scene and offers a high quality of life, which can be a draw for attracting talent.
  • Eugene: Home to the University of Oregon, Eugene provides a youthful and educated workforce. The city is ideal for businesses in education, sports, and the arts. It’s also known for its environmental focus and support for green businesses.
  • Salem: As the state capital, Salem offers proximity to government resources and a stable economy. The city has a diverse economic base, including agriculture, manufacturing, and public sector employment, which can offer varied business opportunities.
  • Beaverton: Located near Portland, Beaverton is home to numerous technology companies and startups. The city is known for its strong economy, business-friendly environment, and high quality of life.

We can help

At ZenBusiness, we believe every aspiring entrepreneur should have the tools and support necessary to create a business, which is why we’ve made it easy with our free LLC formation service. We handle the complexities of starting an LLC in Oregon, while you focus on your business.

Along with LLC formation, we provide worry-free compliance services and more to keep your business in good standing. With expert support on hand every step of the way, we can help you run and grow your business effortlessly.

So, whether you’re opening a hair salon in Eugene or a bed and breakfast in Portland, join the hundreds of thousands of businesses we’ve helped create.

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Oregon LLC FAQs

  • The state fees for forming an LLC in Oregon can range from $100 to $200, depending on factors such as whether you choose to reserve your business name. Note that fees change over time, so check the Oregon Secretary of State website for the most recent fee schedule.

    You’ll also need to be aware that you’re expected to file an annual report in Oregon, with some basic information about your LLC each year. You can file this report directly online. You’ll need to pay a filing fee, which also renews your LLC’s registration.

  • LLCs are popular business structures — particularly for small businesses and first-time business owners. There’s a good reason for this. LLCs offer legal and tax benefits while providing a flexible management style. Here are the main reasons business owners opt to form an LLC:

    • They want to separate their business finances from personal assets. An LLC makes it easier to keep your business and personal profits, debts, and liabilities separate.
    • They want more flexibility in how their company is managed. Corporations have strict rules and regulations to adhere to, but LLCs have fewer requirements, allowing you to run your business the way you see fit.
    • They don’t want to deal with many reporting requirements. LLCs have fewer reporting requirements than corporations, making them easier to manage.
    • They don’t want to be taxed twice. LLCs provide an exemption from double taxation by only requiring owners to pay federal income taxes on LLC profits when filing their individual taxes, rather than requiring this tax on both individual and company tax filings.
  • While you already know that you’re protected from double taxation when running an Oregon LLC, you’ll want to be aware of a few additional tax requirements. You’ll need to decide how your LLC should be taxed, and we recommend talking to an experienced accountant if you have any questions. Let’s take a quick look at all of the Oregon tax requirements for LLCs:

    • Self-employment tax: If you’re an owner of the LLC, the IRS will consider you self-employed. This means you’ll be expected to pay into Social Security and Medicare, otherwise known as self-employment taxes.
    • For LLCs that choose to be taxed as a corporation: LLCs that opt to be taxed as a C corporation will need to fill out an 8832 tax form via the IRS website. To file as an S corporation, you’ll need Form 2553.
    • For LLCs that want to avoid tax penalties: No matter how you choose to be taxed, you will have to pay taxes on your income. These taxes will be due when you file each year, but to avoid hefty fees, it’s important to make estimated quarterly payments throughout the year, for both state and federal taxes. You can submit your Oregon taxes and federal taxes online. If you have employees, you’ll be required to withhold taxes from their paychecks. This means you’ll need to set up a withholding account with the Oregon Department of Revenue to pay this money to the IRS.
    • For LLCs that sell goods: Many states require you to obtain a sales tax license and account; however, there is no general sales tax in Oregon, so you can skip this step.
  • If you file your Articles of Organization for Oregon online, your request will typically take 24 hours to be confirmed. If you file by mail, the process can take longer.

  • No, you are not required to file an operating agreement to form your Oregon LLC, but it is recommended that you create one to help protect your company.

  • Most LLC owners have their business taxed the default way, which is as a sole proprietorship (for single-member LLCs) or a partnership (for multi-member LLCs). This method only requires partners to pay federal taxes on their percentage of the profits on their personal tax returns. The LLC itself is not taxed on profits.

    Some LLCs opt to be taxed as corporations instead. Some LLC members choose to classify their businesses as an S corporation or a C corporation, which can be advantageous in some cases. In particular, many Oklahoma LLCs elect to be taxed as S corporations because it could potentially save the members money on self-employment taxes. You can learn more on our “What Is an S Corp?” page.

    It’s important to understand the distinctions of being taxed as a corporation. We strongly encourage you to talk to an accountant or tax specialist if you have any questions.

  • No. In Oregon, you can’t form a Series LLC. A Series LLC refers to a group of LLCs that fall under one parent LLC. Most states don’t allow you to form Series LLCs.
  • Oregon doesn’t require a general business license to operate an LLC. You may need a special permit or license depending on your location or industry.

    You’ll need to make sure your LLC has all the licenses and permits it’s required to have by law. Unfortunately, because licensing varies by industry and location and can occur on the federal, state, and local levels, there’s no central place to check to see if you have all the licenses and permits you need. You’ll have to do some research.

    If you don’t have the time or inclination to do all this research, or if you just want the peace of mind to know that your business has all the licenses and permits it’s legally required to have, our business license report service can do the work for you.

  • If you decide to dissolve your LLC, you’ll need to consult your operating agreement and fill out an Oregon Articles of Dissolution form. There is a filing fee for this.

    For more information, visit our Oregon business dissolution guide.

  • If you already have an LLC in a different state and want to do business in Oregon, you don’t need to form a new LLC in the state. Instead, you must register your foreign LLC with the Oregon Secretary of State by filing for and obtaining a Certificate of Authority.

Disclaimer: The content on this page is for information purposes only and does not constitute legal, tax, or accounting advice. If you have specific questions about any of these topics, seek the counsel of a licensed professional.

ZenBusiness is a financial technology company and is not a bank. Banking services provided by Thread Bank; Member FDIC. The ZenBusiness Visa® Debit Card is issued by Thread Bank pursuant to a license from Visa U.S.A. Inc. and may be used everywhere Visa debit cards are accepted. Your funds are FDIC insured up to $250,000 through Thread Bank; Member FDIC.

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Written by Team ZenBusiness

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