How to Get Business Licenses in Oregon | A Comprehensive Guide

Steve Bennett
Business Formation Expert  |   Fact Checked by Editorial Team
Last updated: 
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Oregon Business License

Starting a new business is an exciting venture, but it’s essential to understand the various licenses required to operate legally within Oregon. Forming an LLC in Oregon requires licenses, as different industries and locations have specific regulations. This article will provide a comprehensive guide to Oregon Business Licenses, helping you navigate the process and ensure your new venture complies with all necessary requirements. By understanding the permitting landscape in Oregon, you can ensure that your business is fully prepared to succeed while avoiding potential legal pitfalls.

Webinarcare Editorial Team will help you easily obtain a business license in Oregon. You must be guided by all the factors gathered in this article.

What is a Business License in Oregon?

A business license is a legal authorization, permit, or document that allows a business to operate within a specific jurisdiction, such as a city, county, or state. Oregon business licenses are issued by Oregon Secretary of State and ensure businesses comply with applicable laws, regulations, and standards in their respective industries.

A business license protects public health, safety, and welfare by ensuring businesses operate responsibly and lawfully. Acquiring a business license often involves registering the business, paying applicable fees, and meeting specific requirements or qualifications for the type of business.

Business licenses can vary greatly depending on the location and nature of the business. Some common types of business licenses include:

1. General Business License: This is a basic license required for most businesses to operate within a specific jurisdiction, such as a city or county.

2. Professional and Occupational Licenses: These licenses are specific to certain industries or professions, such as healthcare, construction, real estate, or cosmetology, and are typically issued by state licensing boards or agencies.

You must have a professional and occupational license to form Oregon General Partnership and offer your service. 

Here are some examples of Professional and Occupational Licenses:

  • Medical License: Physicians, surgeons, and other healthcare professionals must obtain a medical license to practice medicine in a specific state. The Oregon medical board issues this license after verifying the applicant’s education, training, and examination results.
  • Realtor License: To become a realtor in Oregon, you must obtain a real estate license to buy, sell, or lease properties on behalf of clients. Oregon has its own real estate commission or board responsible for issuing licenses and regulating the industry.
  • Contractor License: General contractors, electricians, plumbers, and other construction professionals must often have a contractor license to work in Oregon. 
  • Cosmetology License: Professionals in the beauty industry, such as hairstylists, estheticians, and nail technicians, must obtain a cosmetology license to provide services. Oregon Boards of Cosmetology oversee licensing and regulations for this industry.
  • Certified Public Accountant (CPA) License: Accountants who wish to become a CPA in Oregon must designate and provide specific services, such as auditing financial statements and obtaining a CPA license from Oregon’s Board of Accountancy.
  • Architect License: Architects must obtain a license to practice architecture in Oregon. This typically involves meeting education and experience requirements and passing the Architect Registration Examination (ARE).
  • Attorney License: Oregon Business Attorneys must obtain a license to practice law in a particular jurisdiction, typically by passing the state’s bar examination and meeting other requirements set by the Oregon bar association.

3. Health and Safety Permits: Oregon businesses involved in food service, hospitality, or other industries directly impacting public health and safety may require specific permits from local health departments or regulatory agencies.

4. Environmental Permits: Oregon businesses that involve activities that may impact the environment, such as waste disposal, air or water emissions, or hazardous materials handling, may require permits from local, state, or federal environmental agencies.

5. Sales Tax License: Oregon businesses that sell goods or services may be required to collect sales tax from customers and remit it to the appropriate tax authority. A sales tax license is typically required to collect and remit sales tax legally.

Oregon business owners must research the specific licensing requirements for their business in their jurisdiction and obtain all necessary licenses and permits to operate legally and avoid potential fines, penalties, or legal troubles.

Requirements For Getting Business Licenses in Oregon

If you start an LLC or any other type of business, you must wait until your Oregon business registration is complete. Once you have completed the necessary steps to register your business in Oregon, you must be prepared with the required documents to apply for business licenses.

  • Name of your company
  • Phone number and company address
  • Employee Identification Number (EIN)
  • Your company’s legal structure (Corporation, Partnership, or LLC)
  • Your business strategy, which includes revenues and costs

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How to Get a Business License in Oregon

To get a business license, you must follow the guidelines below, including determining if your Oregon business requires a license or permit, identifying the appropriate licensing agencies, researching license and permit requirements, completing and submitting license applications, and maintaining license and permit requirements.

Step 1: Determine The Required License or Permit

The first step in obtaining a business license is determining if your business needs one. Some businesses may not require a license or permit, while others may need multiple licenses depending on their industry and location. Some businesses typically require some form of licensing or permit:

  • Professional services, such as medical, legal, and accounting
  • Food establishments, including restaurants, bars, and catering businesses
  • Retail businesses, including stores, shops, and online retailers
  • Construction and contracting companies
  • Manufacturing and industrial businesses

State Licenses

The licenses that you must get first are the licenses within the state. Oregon state licenses require individuals or businesses to engage in certain activities or professions legally. The state government issues these licenses and serves as proof that the license holder has met certain qualifications and standards set by the state. The types of licenses vary depending on the profession or activity, including but not limited to healthcare professionals, contractors, real estate agents, and drivers.

State licenses assure the public that the license holder has undergone the necessary training and education to perform their duties safely and competently.

Federal Licenses

Federal licenses in Oregon are granted by federal agencies and are required for certain activities and industries that fall under federal jurisdiction. These licenses ensure compliance with federal laws and regulations and are necessary for individuals or businesses engaged in the following services.

  • Agriculture: License issued by The U.S. Department of Agriculture
  • Aviation: License issued by The Federal Aviation Administration
  • Alcohol & Tobacco: License issued by The Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau
  • Ammunition, Explosive, & Firearms: License issued by The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives.
  • Commercial Fisheries: License issued by The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Fisheries Service
  • Mining & Drilling: License issued by The Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement
  • Nuclear Energy: License issued by The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission
  • Radio & Television (Broadcast): License issued by The Federal Communications Commission
  • Transportation by Sea: License issued by The Federal Maritime Commission
  • Wildlife & Fisheries: License issued by The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Obtaining a federal license in Oregon involves meeting specific criteria and adhering to federal laws and regulations, which can vary depending on the activity or industry.

City-Based License

City-based licenses in Oregon are granted by local municipalities and are required for certain activities or businesses operating within the city limits. These licenses ensure businesses comply with local regulations and ordinances and typically cover business operations, health and safety, zoning, and permits.

City-based licenses vary depending on the location and the nature of the business, but examples may include restaurant licenses, liquor licenses, taxi licenses, and street vendor licenses. Obtaining a city-based license in Oregon involves submitting an application, paying the necessary fees, and meeting specific requirements set by the local government.

Home-Based License

Home-based licenses in Oregon are required for individuals or businesses that operate from their residential property. These licenses regulate and permit activities conducted within a residential setting, such as home-based businesses or rental properties. Home-based licenses ensure these activities comply with local regulations, building codes, zoning requirements, and health and safety standards.

The specific requirements for obtaining a home-based license in Oregon can vary depending on the type of activity and the local municipality but typically involve submitting an application, paying any necessary fees, and meeting specific criteria set by the local government.

Professional License

Professional licenses in Oregon are mandatory for individuals pursuing specific careers or professions that require specialized knowledge, skills, and expertise. The state government grants these licenses and serves to regulate and ensure the competency and ethical practice of professionals in fields such as law, medicine, engineering, teaching, and accounting.

To obtain a professional license in Oregon, individuals must meet education, experience, and examination requirements specific to their profession. These licenses assure the public that they receive services from qualified professionals and protect consumers from potential harm or malpractice.

Step 2: Identify the Oregon Licensing Agencies

Once you’ve determined that your business requires a license or permit, you must identify the appropriate Oregon agencies responsible for issuing these documents. In Oregon, numerous agencies oversee licensing and permitting, including:

  • Oregon Secretary of State: This office is responsible for issuing licenses for many professional services, including legal, medical, and accounting.
  • Oregon Department of Health: Food establishments, healthcare providers, and other businesses related to health and safety may require licenses from this department.
  • Oregon Department of Revenue: If your business sells goods, you may need a sales tax license or permit from this department.
  • Oregon Department of Labor: Businesses that involve construction or contracting may need licenses from this department.
  • Local City or County Governments: Depending on your business’s location, you may also need to obtain licenses or permits from your local government.

Step 3: Research License and Permit Requirements

After identifying the appropriate agencies, research the specific requirements for each license or permit your business needs. This may involve reviewing the Oregon agency’s website, contacting their office directly, or consulting a legal or business professional. Some common requirements for obtaining a business license or permit include:

  • Completing an application form
  • Providing proof of insurance or bonding
  • Passing background checks or inspections
  • Paying application fees

Some licenses or permits may have ongoing requirements, such as annual renewals, inspections, or reporting.

Step 4: Complete and Submit License Applications

Once you’ve gathered all the necessary information and documents, complete the application forms for each required license or permit. Be sure to carefully follow the instructions provided by each Oregon agency, as incomplete or incorrect applications can lead to delays or denials.

In addition to the application forms, you may also need to submit supporting documentation, such as:

Proof of Business Registration

You can find it on the Oregon Secretary of State’s website. There should be a search feature specifically for businesses. This will often be labeled “Oregon Secretary of State Business Name Search“. In the search feature, enter the name of the business you are looking for, and once it appears, you will now have proof of your business registration.

Employer Identification Number (EIN)

Aside from opening a bank account, you must have an Employer Identification Number in Oregon to file and submit for a business license. An EIN, also known as a Federal Tax Identification Number, is used by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to identify your business for tax purposes. You’ll need an EIN to open a business bank account, file taxes, and hire employees. 

The application of an EIN in Oregon can be through the following:

  • Apply Online- The online EIN application is the preferred method for customers to apply for and obtain an EIN.
  • Apply by Fax- Taxpayers can fax the completed Form SS-4 application to the appropriate fax number), after ensuring that the Form SS-4 contains all of the required information.
  • Apply by Mail- The EIN application Form SS-4 can be filed via mail. The processing time frame to receive the mail is four weeks.
  • Apply by Telephone-International Applicants – International applicants may call 267-941-1099 (not a toll-free number) from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. (Eastern Time) Monday through Friday to obtain their EIN.

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Proof of Insurance, Bonding, or Worker’s Compensation Coverage

To have a business license, you need proof of insurance, bonding, or worker’s compensation. You need to obtain a certificate or policy document as additional documents for your proof of insurance. Also, there is a database of businesses with worker’s compensation coverage or require businesses to register their insurance or bonding information. Visit your Oregon Department of Labor, Department of Insurance, or another relevant agency website for information about the business’s coverage.

Professional Certifications or Licenses

As I have mentioned, if you will form a general partnership and offer your service, you must have professional certifications or licenses. 

Submit your completed applications and the Oregon business license fee, which ranges from $50 – $300. The processing times for license and permit applications can vary, so plan accordingly and allow ample time for approval.

Step 5: Maintain License and Permit Compliance

Once you’ve obtained the necessary licenses and permits for your Oregon business, it’s essential to maintain compliance with all requirements. This may include:

  • Keep your Oregon licenses and permits current by renewing them on time, typically annually.
  • Reporting any changes to your business, such as a changing Oregon LLC address. You may amend your Oregon Articles of Organization if you change anything in your Oregon business.
  • Maintaining proper insurance, bonding, or worker’s compensation coverage.
  • Complying with any inspection, reporting, or record-keeping requirements.

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Additional Considerations

In addition to the steps outlined above, there are a few additional considerations to keep in mind when navigating the Oregon business licensing process:

  • Licenses and permits are often industry-specific, so research your business type’s requirements.
  • Some businesses may need licenses or permits from multiple agencies at the state and local levels. Be sure to research and comply with all necessary requirements to avoid complications.
  • If your business operates in multiple locations or across state lines, you may need to obtain licenses or permits for each jurisdiction in which you operate. You can form Oregon Foreign LLC
  • Stay informed about licensing and permitting requirements changes, as regulations can change over time.

FAQs

What is a business license in Oregon?
A business license in Oregon is a permit that allows an individual or company to legally operate a business within the state.
Who needs a business license in Oregon?
Anyone conducting business in Oregon, whether it’s a resident or non-resident, must obtain a business license.
How do I apply for a business license in Oregon?
You can apply online or in-person with the Oregon Secretary of State for your business license.
Do I need a separate license to sell online in Oregon?
Yes, you need to get a business operating license regardless of where you sell online from in Oregon.
How much does a business license cost in Oregon?
The fees and costs for obtaining a business license in Oregon can vary. You can check with the Secretary of State or other relevant regulatory bodies for more information.
Are there different types of business licenses I need to have in Oregon?
Depending on the type of business you have or industry you operate in, you may need specific business licenses in addition to your general operating license.
How often do I need to renew my Oregon business license?
Your Oregon business license must be renewed annually.
How long does it take to obtain a business license in Oregon?
The time it takes to obtain a business license in Oregon varies on the type of business, regulation complexity and your application method.
Can I operate my business in Oregon without a license while waiting for approval?
No. You can’t legally operate your business without a valid business license in Oregon.
Can I operate a home-based business with an Oregon business license?
Yes. You can obtain a business license to operate a home-based business provided that all other applicable zoning and regulatory criteria have been met.
Do I need a business license if my business is registered as an LLC or Corporation?
Yes, it’s requirement is separate from entity registration under ORS.
Can out-of-state businesses operate in Oregon without obtaining an Oregon business license?
No. all businesses operating in Oregon must hold valid Oregon business licenses and comply with all business laws impacted by their activities.
How can I check the status of my Oregon business application?
You can check the status of your Oregon business license application through the Secretary of State Business Registry.
What happens if I operate a business in Oregon without a valid business license?
Operating a business in Oregon without a valid license is illegal and you may face a fine and other legal penalties.
What is a trade name in Oregon, and how do I register one?
A trade name in Oregon is a name in which a business operates under. To register for a trade name, you must submit an application along with the requisite fees.
Who do I notify when changing address or contact information?
Updating your relevant business information has to communicate to both OR SOS and any transaction-specific regulator if changed.
Do I need to pay taxes after obtaining a business license in Oregon?
Yes, you’ll need to pay state, local, and federal, taxes.
Can I use a P.O box for my business address or tag an Oregon physical address for licensing?
You need a physical location with a street, city, and zip or postal code to register for and maintain a business license.
How can I check whether a specific business name is available?
You can search your business name’s status in the online registry of business names and other State databases.
If I sell a product exclusively online, do I still need a business license to sell in Oregon?
Yes. You still need a business license in Oregon, no matter the type of business model, online store-front counts too, unlike categorized places.
Who will I work with if I have any questions throughout the application process?
If you have any questions through the process can contact the Secretary of State, along with Oregon tax, registration department, and domain-specific regulatory bodies.
How can I get assistance filing for a business license?
You can contact the Secretary of State using relevant emails, phone calls for scheduling.
Can I do Fee payment covering business identities together?
Yes, with appropriate amount recasting to create statutory reserves.
Are sales tax differs between different business types?
Yes.
Can I sell retail items I’ve made without a business license in Oregon?
No. Oregon law mandated valid registration for every retail location.
What are the fines and penalties for not registering my business?
Operating an unlicensed business in Oregon, you might have to face court proceedings along with a penalty of up to $5000.
When will I get the license when I’ve applied online?
Licensing certificate mailed to you with a temporary respite waiting for it specifically as per your contact information submitted by you.
Can I open an Oregon business as a minor?
Yes but concerned parent/ward permission requires to gain control majority interest in the same.
Can my employees obtain business licenses for a company with me as the proprietor?
Employees designated importance, function, responsibility, or supervising positions can apply for included activity categories.
How do I know if I need a business license in Oregon?
You can check with the Oregon Secretary of State to determine whether your business requires a license.
Can I operate a business in Oregon without a license?
No, it is illegal to operate a business in Oregon without a license.
Will I need to renew my business license in Oregon?
Yes, you will need to renew your business license in Oregon on an annual basis.
How long does it take to get a business license in Oregon?
The processing time for a business license in Oregon can vary depending on the type of business.
Can I apply for a business license online in Oregon?
Yes, you can apply for a business license in Oregon online through the Oregon Secretary of State’s website.
Do I need a business plan to obtain a business license in Oregon?
No, you do not need a business plan to obtain a business license in Oregon.
What is the Business Entity Search for Oregon?
The Business Entity Search is an online tool provided by the Oregon Secretary of State that allows you to search for businesses registered in the state.
How do I check the status of my business license application in Oregon?
You can check the status of your business license application in Oregon by contacting the Secretary of State’s office.
Can I operate multiple businesses under one license in Oregon?
No, each individual business you operate in Oregon will require its own license.
What happens if I operate a business without a license in Oregon?
You could be fined or face legal penalties for operating a business without a license in Oregon.
How do I change the name of my business on my Oregon business license?
You can request a name change for your business license in Oregon by contacting the Secretary of State’s office.
What is an Oregon business registry number?
The Oregon business registry number is a unique identification number assigned to your business by the state.
Do I need a separate license to sell products online in Oregon?
No, you do not need a separate license to sell products online in Oregon, but you may need to collect sales tax.
Can I transfer my Oregon business license to another owner?
No, business licenses in Oregon are non-transferrable.
What types of businesses require specialized licenses in Oregon?
Some businesses, such as restaurants or construction companies, may require specialized licenses in addition to a general business license in Oregon.
Will I need to obtain a federal tax ID number to get a business license in Oregon?
You may need to obtain a federal tax ID number to get a business license in Oregon depending on the type of business you operate.
How do I know if my business is required to collect sales tax in Oregon?
You can check with the Oregon Department of Revenue to determine whether your business is required to collect sales tax.
How often do I need to file sales tax returns in Oregon?
Sales tax returns in Oregon are due on a quarterly basis, but the due date may vary depending on your business.
Can I obtain a temporary business license in Oregon?
Yes, temporary business licenses are available in Oregon for certain types of businesses or activities.
What is a registered agent in Oregon?
A registered agent is a person or business designated to receive legal documents on behalf of your business in Oregon.
Can I be my own registered agent in Oregon?
Yes, you can be your own registered agent in Oregon, but you must have a physical address in the state to use as your registered office.
If I am an LLC in Oregon, do I need to file annual reports?
Yes, LLCs in Oregon are required to file annual reports.
What type of insurance do I need as a business owner in Oregon?
The type of insurance you need as a business owner in Oregon will depend on your industry and other factors. Consult with an insurance professional to determine your business insurance needs.
Will I need to obtain any special permits to operate a business in Oregon?
Depending on the type of business you operate, you may need to obtain special permits or licenses in addition to a general business license in Oregon.
How can I find more information about obtaining a business license in Oregon?
You can contact the Oregon Secretary of State’s office or visit their website for more information about obtaining a business license in the state.

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Conclusion

Obtaining the necessary licenses and permits is crucial in starting a new business in Oregon. Following the steps outlined in this guide and consulting with the appropriate agencies or professionals, you can ensure that your business complies with all state and local requirements. This will protect your business from legal issues and help establish your reputation as a responsible and trustworthy business operator.

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