Do you own a business operating in the state of Oregon? If so, you may need to acquire licenses and permits to ensure that your company operates in a compliant fashion.

But how do you determine which permits and licenses you need (if any), and where do you acquire them? In this guide to Oregon business licenses and permits, we’ll answer all the tough questions about this process.

Are There Federal Licenses That My Business Needs?

First off, let’s discuss the matter of federal licenses and permits. There are many business activities that are regulated by various federal agencies, from agriculture to transportation and logistics. We recommend taking a look at the U.S. Small Business Administration’s guide to federal licenses and permits to make sure you’ve got your bases covered.

In addition, most businesses should acquire a federal tax ID number, also known as an EIN (employer identification number). This is essentially a social security number for your business, and it enables you to hire employees, pay business taxes, open business bank accounts, and more. You can acquire an EIN from the IRS for free.

What State-Level Licenses and Permits Apply in Oregon?

According to the Oregon Secretary of State’s website, “the state of Oregon doesn’t have a general business license. However, many occupations and business activities require special licenses, permits or certifications from state agencies or boards.”

Oregon makes it easy to find one of over 1,000 different business licenses in the state via the Business Express License Directory. Additionally, businesses can learn more about the licensing requirements for specific industries and commercial activities using the Business Information Center’s Business Wizard.

Which Tax Registrations are Required for Oregon Businesses?

In addition to occupational licenses and permits, there are a number of state-level tax registrations, which are based on the industry you operate in and which business structure your company uses.

Every limited liability company in the state is required to register with the Oregon Department of Revenue, though LLCs are generally treated as “pass-through entities” when it comes to income tax. In Oregon, corporations are required to register and pay corporate income tax.

There are also many industry-specific tax requirements in Oregon, from taxes on cigarettes and tobacco products to timber taxes. You can learn more about these tax requirements on the Department of Revenue website.

Are There Local Licenses, Permits, or Registrations in Oregon?

The answer to this question obviously depends on where in Oregon you’re operating your business, but there are indeed quite a few licenses, permits, and tax registrations required by Oregon localities.

According to the Secretary of State’s website, “cities and counties may require a license for businesses operating in their jurisdictions. If your business is located within the city limits, check city offices to see if a local business license is required. If there is no specific listing for business licenses in your directory, the city hall information number is an appropriate initial contact.” You can learn more about contacting your local city hall at this link.

Additionally, some cities in Oregon, like PortlandEugeneSalem, and Gresham provide business resource websites that can help businesses meet local licensing requirements.

If we were to break down the exact rules and regulations regarding permitting in every locality in the state of Oregon, this article would become excessively lengthy. With that in mind, we’ll simply say that every business owner should check with their local government to determine whether there are licenses, permits, or tax registrations required to operate in compliant fashion.

Can I Hire Someone to Research Licenses and Permits for My Business?

If this process sounds like a bit of a hassle, that’s because it certainly can be. If you would rather hire a reputable business services provider to handle this for you, that is always an option.

ZenBusiness can research the necessary licenses and permits for your company on the federal, state, county, and municipal levels. We’ll then send you the applications you need to acquire these permits and licenses, meaning all you need to do is fill them out and mail them in. Plus, if you need help with company formation, we can help with that filing as well.


There is no one-size-fits-all answer for the question of which licenses and permits your business might require to operate in the state of Oregon. Instead, it’s important that you know how to access the resources to determine which permits your company needs to operate in a compliant fashion.

We hope this article helped you to do just that, and we wish you good fortune in your business future!

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