Why Start an OR Corporation?
The state of Oregon offers a range of incentive and business finance programs, giving businesses in Oregon a leg up. Your corporation may be able to take advantage of these incentives, provided it meets qualifying criteria.
For example, the Oregon Royalty Fund (ORF) is an alternate financing solution for projects that are not yet bankable but are more like angel or venture capital deals. The ORF allows businesses to pay a monthly royalty payment as a percentage of sales to accommodate growing companies that do not yet qualify for traditional financing.
For many entrepreneurs looking to start a larger business, an OR incorporation may be the best choice. As a corporation, your business is able to buy and trade stock, and when it comes to excess profits, corporations offer more flexibility than a limited liability company (LLC). A corporation is allowed to pass income and losses to its shareholders, who report taxes on an individual tax return at ordinary levels.
Is an LLC Better Than a Corporation?
It all depends on your goals. For smaller businesses, limited liability companies are typically a better option. An LLC is easier to set up and receives many of the same benefits as corporations, but with less regulation.
Learn more about forming an Oregon LLC so you can decide which business entity is right for you.
Benefits of Forming a Oregon C Corporation
Benefits of Forming a Oregon S Corporation
It offers several advantages similar to those provided by a C Corp including, but not limited to:
- Options for creating, transferring and selling stock, though not as many as a C Corp
- The capacity for up to 100 shareholders
- Simpler rules than those that apply to C Corporations
- Easy transfer of ownership simply by selling your stock
- The possibility of saving money by allowing you to pay less self-employment tax
In this guide, you’ll find information on naming your corporation, getting a Registered Agent, the fees you’ll need to pay, business taxes and much more. We also cover what you'll need to register your corporation and how you'll interact with the Secretary of State in Oregon.
Start a Business in Oregon Checklist
To help you along the way, use our Starting a Business checklist to keep track of everything you need to do to get your business up and running.
How to Form an OR Corporation Yourself in 6 Steps
Step 1 - Choose a Unique Business Name and Complete a State Business Search
Step 2 - Provide an Official Business Address for Your Corporation
Step 3 - Assign a Registered Agent
Step 4 - File Your Articles of Incorporation with the Oregon Secretary of State
Step 5 - Get an Employer Identification Number (EIN) from the Internal Revenue Service
Step 6 - Write Your Bylaws
Choose a Unique Business Name and Complete a State Business Search
Every Oregon business must have a unique name that isn't already being used by another business in the state. If you’re finding it difficult coming up with a name, try using our Business Name Generator to gather ideas. You'll need to follow a few naming rules, which you can read about in detail on the Oregon Corporation Names page.
Once you’ve decided on a name, you’ll need to make sure it’s available in Oregon. To see whether another company in the state is using your desired business name, use our tool to do an Oregon entity search.
You can also carry out a name search on the state's website.
Provide an Official Business Address for Your Corporation
All Oregon corporations must have a designated address. It could be your home address (if you’re running the company from your place of residence), a building where your office is located or any physical address of your choice. The address can be outside the state of Oregon and can be a P.O. Box.
You may also be able to use a virtual mailbox for your business address. Incfile can provide you with an Oregon virtual mailbox where we'll receive your mail, scan it and upload it for your online review. This can be especially helpful if you run a home-based business and don't want your home address published as part of your business public record.
Assign a Registered Agent
A Registered Agent is someone who receives official correspondence and is responsible for filing reports with the Oregon Secretary of State. Every Oregon corporation is required to have a Registered Agent.
You can assign a manager in your business, fill the position yourself or use a Registered Agent service. If your Registered Agent in Oregon is a person, they must have a physical street address in Oregon and must be available during business hours to receive important documentation on behalf of your company. You'll appoint your Registered Agent when you file your Articles of Incorporation with the Secretary of State and formally create your corporation.
All of Incfile’s business formation packages include Registered Agent service. It’s free for the first year and just $119 per year after that. You can also access a digital dashboard to view any document we've received on your behalf.
File Your Articles of Incorporation with the Oregon Secretary of State
Once you've gathered all the information for your corporation, you’ll need to file your Articles of Incorporation with the Secretary of State. This will officially create your business.
Here’s what is typically included:
- Name of corporation
- Principal address of corporation
- Registered Agent's name and address
- The corporation’s capital structure (number of shares to be issued)
- Whether the corporation will be a Professional Corporation
- Name(s) and address(es) of incorporator(s)
- Names and addresses of initial president and initial secretary
- Signature(s) of incorporator(s)
Your Articles of Incorporation can be filed online via the state's digital portal. You can also mail the form to the Office of the Secretary of State, or Incfile can file it on your behalf.
File by Mail
Oregon Business Registry
A Service of the Oregon Secretary of State
255 Capitol St NE, Salem, OR 97310
You only need to file your Articles of Incorporation in Oregon once, but once a year thereafter, you'll also need to file an annual report with the Secretary of State in OR. Incfile can remind you about this every year, or we can do it for you if you have us handle the paperwork.
What are the fees and requirements to incorporate in Oregon?
On or before the anniversary of corporation's date of incorporation.
Get an Employer Identification Number (EIN) from the Internal Revenue Service
You'll need an EIN to identify your business to the IRS. You'll use this number for filing and paying taxes, submitting payroll information and payments for your employees and opening a business bank account. You can obtain one directly from the IRS, or Incfile can get one for you as part of the OR corporation creation process.
A set of rules that govern how a corporation will be run, bylaws detail how many directors the corporation will have, whether the board of directors will have annual meetings and what the voting requirements will be, among other things.
Some states legally require companies to create bylaws, and the state of Oregon is one of them. You aren't legally required to file your bylaws with the Secretary of State, but you should keep them with your other business records.
It's always a good idea to write and follow bylaws to protect your business from any future changes and events.
Types of OR Corporations
BOCC Chapter 058, § 58.015 also lists a few of the professions permitted to form a Professional Corporation in Oregon, which include, but may not be limited to:
- Landscape Architects
- Nurse Practitioners
Check with the Secretary of State to confirm whether your business should and can be a Professional Corporation.
Helpful Resources from the State of Oregon
More Information in This Guide
You’ll find plenty more insight and guidance on the other pages of this guide, including:
How to search the state business registry and find the right name. Includes information on naming rules, assumed business names, reserving names for OR corporations and more.
How to appoint, change and search for Registered Agents. Also includes the duties they fulfill and the rules they’re required to follow.
Details the various fees you’ll need to pay and the state and federal requirements you’ll need to meet. Includes details about Employer Identification Numbers (EINs), state and federal business licenses, annual reports and more.
Covers the various taxes you’ll have to pay to the state and federal governments. Includes details about state taxes such as income and franchise, and federal taxes such as income and self-employment.