You have a big idea, truckloads of ambition, dreams of a thriving Oregon LLC, and you’re mentally prepared to make it happen. But the Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu once said, “a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step,” and for you, that first step is filing the Articles of Organization.
With such grand plans, the last thing you might want to do is file paperwork, but completing the Articles of Organization is what authenticates your LLC, making it official in Oregon. It’s perhaps the most important step in starting your Oregon LLC. Following this guide will help take the tedium out of paperwork and get your business started quickly.
But before you dive into the Articles of Organization, you should have a few pieces of information ready to help streamline the process.
Quick Note: If you’d like to have an online service file the Articles of Organization for you or simply need to save time, hire an LLC formation service. Two popular options are LegalZoom and ZenBusiness.
Choosing an LLC Name
Before anything else, you will need to decide on an LLC name. You must include a business name on your Articles of Organization, and if the Secretary of State deems that name unacceptable or unavailable, the document will be rejected, so make sure you nail down a good name right away.
As you develop your perfect LLC name, make sure that it complies with Oregon’s requirements. This means that it must include the words “Limited Liability Company” or an abbreviation thereof, like “L.L.C.” or “LLC.” Beyond that, you can’t use a name that’s already taken, so you will need to search your business name to confirm that it’s distinguishable in the Secretary of State’s records.
Once you’ve found your perfect name, include it on your Articles of Organization to automatically register it. In the event that you’re not quite ready to file an LLC, you can place a 120-day hold on your name by submitting a name reservation request.
Choosing an Oregon Registered Agent
A registered agent is your LLC’s liaison to the state, the mediator who takes care of all your important legal, tax, and compliance documents, keeping your business in good standing. You can’t complete your Articles of Organization without including the name and address of a valid registered agent.
Your registered agent can be either an individual – provided they are an Oregon resident with a physical in-state address – or a business entity that’s authorized to do business in the state, like a registered agent service.
Quick Note: If your first choice doesn’t work out, don’t worry. You can always change your registered agent in the future.
Preparing to File Your Oregon Articles of Organization
Now for the main event: the Articles of Organization. Here’s your opportunity to get your LLC officially on record and authorized to conduct business in Oregon.
This form might be the fulcrum of the LLC formation process, but, surprisingly, it’s not lengthy or complex. It won’t take you all day to complete, and if you gather all the necessary information beforehand, you can fly through it in one sitting. Here’s everything it includes:
- LLC name
- The company’s duration
- Principal office address
- Registered agent name and address
- Address where the Corporation Division can send notices
- Whether the LLC will be managed by members or managers
- Professional services the LLC offers (if applicable)
- Name and address of each member or manager
- Name and address of one individual with direct knowledge of operations and business activities
- Organizer names, titles, and signatures
- A contact name and phone number
Unfortunately, the Articles of Organization isn’t free. It costs $100, so have your credit card or checkbook ready when you submit the form.
You’ve compiled your information and arranged your payment, now it’s time to submit your Articles of Organization. Whether you like the expediency of online filing or leaving a paper trail, there’s a filing option for you.
Navigate to the Oregon Business Registry. This is the online portal where you can complete most of your business filings. First, you must create an account. Then, once you’ve logged in, follow the instructions to complete your form.
Hard Copy Filing
Access the paper application, then complete it and mail or hand-deliver it, along with your payment, to:
Secretary of State
255 Capitol St. NE, Suite 151
Salem, OR 97310-1327
Online filing is the fastest method, but the Secretary of State continuously updates current processing times on its business page, so keep an eye on it to track your filing’s progress.
What About Foreign LLCs?
The process outlined above works for domestic LLCs (those formed in Oregon), but what if your business is expanding to Oregon from another state? If so, disregard the Articles of Organization because it’s not the form for you.
All foreign LLCs have to foreign qualify by filing an Application for Authority either online or with a hard copy. At $275, this form is more expensive than the Articles of Organization, but don’t skip it! Doing business in Oregon without first foreign qualifying can lead to fines and penalties, including your loss of the right to do business in the state.
But after successfully filing your Application for Authority, you’re free to kick off your business activities in Oregon.
Want Help Filing Your Articles of Organization?
Let’s be honest: you’ve got a lot on your plate. Filing paperwork can take time away from your other tasks, ones more focused on setting your budding LLC up for success.
The good news is that you don’t need to file the Articles of Organization yourself. But if an attorney is out of your price range, hiring an LLC creation service is a great option.
There’s no shortage of business incorporation services out there, but not all of them are equal. Each one offers different packages, costs, and processing times, so it’s important to find the right fit for your LLC.
While each service has optional upgrades and perks packages, on the most basic level, they will review your business information, prepare your formation documents, and submit them to the Oregon Secretary of State. They will complete everything outlined in this guide and notify you when your Articles of Organization has been filed. You won’t have to lift a finger.
There are other benefits too. Some services will include a year of free registered agent service when you hire them. Other services offer order tracking, notifications on future documents (like Annual Reports), assistance drafting your operating agreement, or coverage of certain LLC formation costs.
Which is the Best LLC Service?
All you need to do now is research every service extensively and make side-by-side comparisons for each option. Easy, right? Just kidding – we did all of that for you.
And from our meticulous research of reviewing and ranking the top LLC services, we’ve drawn the conclusion that IncFile and Northwest are your best overall options.
They might not have the brand recognition of LegalZoom, the industry giant, but both have amazing customer support, affordable prices, and include a year of registered agent service.