How to Start an LLC in Oregon

Written by: Kevelyn Rodriguez

Last updated:

An Oregon LLC is one of the most simple, cost-effective, and quick business structures to form. Even so, navigating the formation process can seem daunting without clear guidance and an actionable plan.

In this How to Start an LLC in Oregon guide, we’ll break down everything you need to know to form your LLC, from the steps you’ll need to take to get started to maintaining your structure.

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LLC in Oregon

In order to form an LLC in Oregon, you’ll need to complete the following steps:

  1. Name Your Oregon LLC
  2. Pick an Oregon Registered Agent
  3. Submit Your LLC’s Articles of Organization
  4. Create an Oregon LLC Operating Agreement
  5. Get an EIN
  6. File Your BOI Report

In the sections below, we’ve broken down each of these steps in more detail.

Step 1: Name Your Oregon LLC

The first thing you’ll need to do before getting started is picking the right name for your LLC. This is important because your business’s name will need to represent your brand accurately, as well as be as memorable as possible.

In Oregon, all LLC names need to abide by the following statutory guidelines in order to be accepted by the Secretary of State:

  1. Entity Identifier: The name of your limited liability company must include the phrase “limited liability company” or one of its abbreviations: “L.L.C.” or “LLC”.
  2. Uniqueness: Your LLC’s name must be unique and distinguishable from all other names already registered with the Oregon Business Registry. There are several factors that are considered when determining whether a name is unique:
  • Differences in the business structure designation (e.g., “LLC”, “Inc.”, “Corporation”, etc) do not make a business name unique.
  • Variations involving punctuation marks or special characters (e.g., “!”, “&”, “+”, etc.) do not make a business name unique.
  • Minor changes — such as making a word plural or adding an “s” to make it possessive — do not make a business name unique.
  • Differences in the spacing between words do not make an LLC name unique.
  • The presence, absence, or variation in articles (e.g., “a”, “an”, “the”, etc), prepositions (e.g., “in”, “on”, “at”, etc), and conjunctions (e.g.,”and”, “or”, “but”, etc) are not sufficient to make a name unique.

Even if a name is available, it might still infringe on trademarks and/or existing business rights, particularly if it is phonetically similar to a known brand.

This is why — in addition to verifying your prospective name’s availability with the Oregon Secretary of State’s Business Name Search tool — you should also conduct a thorough trademark search.

Keep in mind that even though picking an LLC name in itself has no cost, there are certain fees that can be associated with the overall process.

Reserve an LLC Name

If you’re not yet ready to launch your business and still need a little more time, you can choose to reserve your desired LLC name for later by submitting an Application for Name Reservation with the Secretary of State Corporation Division ($100 fee). This will keep anyone from being able to take the name you plan to use for 120 days.

If you need any longer than this, you’ll have to submit a renewal for an additional 120 days once the initial period ends.

Register a DBA Name

Another potential cost associated with naming your LLC is a “doing business as” (or DBA) name — known as an assumed business name in Oregon.

This is essentially a nickname that you can choose to register for your business to operate under.

Registering a DBA name can be done by filing an Assumed Business Name New Registration with the Secretary of State and paying a $50 fee.

Note: DBA names in Oregon remain valid for a period of two years.

Buy a Domain Name

Finally, you’ll want to focus on securing a good domain name (which is your website’s URL address) for your business. For this, try to focus on choosing one that’s easy for customers to remember, relevant to your business, and accurately reflects your brand.

After confirming the domain name you want to use is actually available, you can purchase it through a trusted registrar.

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Step 2: Pick a Registered Agent

The next step you’ll need to take toward forming your LLC is to pick a registered agent. 

This is an individual or business entity that accepts legal correspondence on behalf of your business, such as service of process, notice of lawsuits, and official government communications; you’re required to continuously maintain one as long as your LLC is active.

Your registered agent can be an individual or business entity, but will need to satisfy the following requirements:

  • The registered agent must be located at a physical street address in Oregon — this address cannot be a PO Box or a mail forwarding service location.
  • The registered agent must be available at the registered office during normal business hours to accept legal documents.
  • The individual or business entity chosen as the registered agent must have consented to serve in this role.
  • The LLC’s registered office must be a location in which service of process can be physically served to the registered agent.

Keep in mind that you can choose to act as your registered agent (e.g., if you’re looking to save money, etc.). 

Having said that, this is generally not recommended for several reasons, including the fact that your personal name, address, and contact information will become publicly available. 

A registered agent service is also relatively inexpensive, and can give business owners a certain “peace of mind” when it comes to ensuring that someone will always be physically present during regular business hours in order to receive service of process (if need be). 

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If you’re ready to get started, you can form your LLC with Northwest Registered Agent and get a free registered agent service for your first year (normally costs $125).

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Note: To have a look at some of our other top recommendations, you can also check out our Best Registered Agent Service of 2024 guide.

Step 3: Submit Your LLC’s Articles of Organization

In Oregon, the Articles of Organization is the filing document that you’ll need to submit with the Secretary of State in order to officially register your LLC.

Completing this document requires specific information, including:

  • Business Name: You will need to include your LLC’s name, written using the English alphabet.
  • Duration: You will need to indicate whether your LLC is perpetual or has a specific dissolution date.
  • Principal Office: You will have to provide a physical location; this cannot be a PO Box, commercial mail receiving agency, mail forwarding business, or virtual office.
  • Registered Agent: You will need to designate an individual or registered business with a physical Oregon street address who has agreed to accept legal documents on behalf of your LLC.
  • Registered Agent’s Publicly Available Address: You will have to provide an Oregon street address where legal papers can be personally delivered. This cannot be a PO Box, commercial mail receiving agency, mail forwarding business, or virtual office.
  • Address for Mailing Notices: You will need to separately specify an address for the Oregon Secretary of State to mail renewals and other such notices.
  • Management Structure: You will need to specify whether your LLC will follow a member-managed or a manager-managed structure.
  • Professional Service Description: If applicable, you will need to describe the licensed professional services the LLC will provide, referencing ORS 58.015(5).
  • Optional Provisions: You may include any additional provisions; if extensive, you can choose to attach a separate, additional page.
  • Indemnification: You may elect to include indemnification provisions in accordance with ORS 63.160 – 63.170.
  • Names and Addresses of Organizers: You will need to include the business or mailing addresses of each person involved in forming the LLC.
  • List of Members and/or Managers: You will need to provide the names and addresses of all members and/or managers of the LLC.
  • Execution/Signature: Each organizer will need to sign your LLC’s Articles of Organization. 

You can file your LLC’s Articles of Organization either online through the Oregon Secretary of State’s business portal or by downloading this form and mailing it to the following address:

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

Regardless of your submission method, you will need to pay a $100 processing fee.

Note: If you are registering a foreign LLC, you will need to fill out and submit an Application for Authority to Transact Business form and pay a $275 filing fee instead.

Step 4: Create an Oregon LLC Operating Agreement

Once this is completed, the next step you’ll need to take is to create an operating agreement.

This is an internal document that clearly outlines the ownership and management structure of your company in order to reduce potential future conflict.

While this document isn’t legally mandated in Oregon, all LLCs are recommended to have one as it can help maintain both: smooth operations and your LLC’s corporate veil.

A number of companies provide drafting services for operating agreements online, typically for a fee of around a few hundred dollars. However, it’s quite easy to sort this out by yourself if you want to save money, and you can even find a number of free templates online to help with this.

Step 5: Get an EIN

Even though it’s not a legal requirement (unless your LLC has employees or multiple members), all Oregon LLCs should apply for an Employer Identification Number (EIN).

This is a free, nine-digit number used by the IRS to identify your business and keep track of its tax reporting — much like a Social Security Number (SSN) for individuals.

You’ll need an EIN to be able to:

  • Hire employees
  • Open a business bank account
  • Apply for some business licenses/permits
  • Establish a line of credit

On top of this, using an EIN instead of a Social Security Number (SSN) helps to protect your personal information and safeguard your anonymity as the business owner of your LLC.

You can quickly apply for an EIN for your LLC online through the IRS website. You’re also able to submit a paper application using Form SS-4 either via fax to (855) 641-6935, or by mailing it to the following address:

Internal Revenue Service
Attn: EIN Operation
Cincinnati, OH 45999

Note: Don’t worry if you don’t already have an SSN, it’s not necessary to have one in order to apply for an EIN — instead, you can just leave Section 7b of the application blank and call the IRS on (267) 941-1099.

Step 6: File a BOI Report

Starting January 2024, the vast majority of LLC owners will be required to file a Beneficial Ownership Information (BOI) Report with the US Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN).

This is part of an initiative by the U.S. government to stop individuals and entities engaging in illegal or unethical activities from being able to conceal this using “opaque ownership structures”, like shell companies, to hide their true identities.

Existing LLCs will be able to file this report anytime between January 1, 2024, and January 1, 2025, while new LLCs will have up to 90 days after the date they were initially formed to do so (30 days for LLCs formed after the start of 2025).

Keep in mind that failure to file your LLC’s BOI report on time can result in exorbitantly high fines (i.e., $591 per day) or even jail time (up to two years).

Note: Not every LLC owner is required to file a BOI report. For example, companies with more than 20 full-time employees, accounting firms, and banks are exempt. For a full list of filing exemptions, you can have a look at FinCEN’s website.

How to Maintain Your Oregon LLC

In order to keep operating legally in the state of Oregon, you’ll need to file an annual report with the Secretary of State.

Don’t worry if you’re not sure how to complete this step, as we’ve detailed all the information you’ll need to know in the sections below.

Submit an Annual Report

You will need to file an Annual Report with the Secretary of State’s Corporation Division in order to maintain your Oregon LLC’s good standing with the state.

This report includes information such as your LLC’s name, registered agent’s details, and member information, and can be submitted online via the Oregon Business Registry portal.

You will need to pay a $100 processing fee when submitting your LLC’s annual report.

Note: It should be noted that the annual report is due every year before the anniversary of your LLC’s initial registration date (i.e., if you registered your LLC on February 29, you’ll have to submit your form every consequent year by this date.).

Oregon vs Other States

Oregon distinguishes itself as a favorable location for business due to its streamlined regulatory environment and lack of state sales tax, which can lower operating costs in comparison to several other states.

Moreover, the state’s formation and maintenance costs are on par with national averages, making it a financially viable option for many entrepreneurs.

Regardless, keep in mind that the best state to form your LLC is almost always the state that you will be operating in; this is because otherwise you’ll likely be required to register as a foreign LLC in your home state, meaning that you’ll need to pay registration and maintenance fees twice.

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Oregon Secretary of State Contact Information

Mailing Address:

Oregon Secretary of State
Corporations Division
Public Service Building
255 Capitol St. NE, Suite 151
Salem OR 97310
Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Contact Information:
Phone: (503) 986-2200

How to Start an LLC in Oregon FAQ

What is needed to start an LLC in Oregon?

To start an LLC in Oregon, you’ll need to choose a unique name, appoint a registered agent with a physical Oregon address, and submit your LLC’s Articles of Organization with the Secretary of State.

For more information on this topic, you can check out our guide on How to Start an LLC in Oregon.

How long does it take to get an LLC approved in Oregon?

In Oregon, the approval time for an LLC varies depending on the submission method used.

Online applications submitted through the Oregon Secretary of State’s business portal are usually approved within the same — or the next — business day.

On the other hand, applications submitted via mail typically require up to 10 business days in order to be processed.

How much does it cost to start an LLC in Oregon?

Starting an LLC in Oregon requires a minimum of $100 to be paid, which covers the processing fee for your LLC’s Articles of Organization.

Having said that, keep in mind that your total cost could be higher — especially if you choose to hire a registered agent service or an LLC formation service.

For a more detailed breakdown, you can have a look at our Oregon LLC Cost guide.

Do I need an operating agreement for my LLC in Oregon?

While not legally required in Oregon, creating an operating agreement is highly recommended.

This is because it can help clarify the operational structure and management roles within your LLC, averting potential misunderstandings in the future.

For more information on LLC formation, you can have a look at our state specific How To Start An LLC article.

How do I protect my business assets with an LLC in Oregon?

Forming an LLC in Oregon provides a legal structure that separates your personal liabilities from your business assets.

Having said that, you can choose to purchase business insurance in order to also protect the assets of your LLC (e.g., as a result of negligence, etc).

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