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8 Steps to Starting a Business in Malheur County

Step 1 – Do Your Research

Business Xpress is a cooperative effort of state agencies designed as a first step for starting a business in Oregon. An online Business Wizard provides customized referrals with information regarding government or organization contacts for your business. The How to Start a Business in Oregon guide provides a checklist to guide you through the process of registering your business.


Resource Links

Oregon Business Xpress

Oregon Business Wizard

How to Start a Business in Oregon Guide (PDF)



Step 2 – Create a Business Plan

It helps to begin with a plan. A business plan is a blueprint of every aspect of your business. Sales, marketing, advertising, promotion, and location are just some of the aspects of creating a plan. The Small Business Administration (SBA) offers a free, step-by-step program to help you.


Resource Links

SBA Build Your Business Plan Program



Step 3 – Select Your Business Name and Structure

Choose a Business Name - When you are ready to select a business name or assumed business name, check the Business Registry Database for name availability. Please note: sole proprietors may conduct business under their name or choose to use an assumed business name.


Choose a Business Structure - There are several ways to structure a business and varying registration requirements for each. Each type of business structure has advantages and disadvantages. You can operate a business: by yourself – sole proprietorship, with another person – general partnership, and as a separate legal entity – corporations, limited liability company, limited liability partnership or limited partnership.


Qualified tax consultants and an attorney can help you identify the optimal business structure for your particular business. 


Resource Links

Business Registry Database

Business Structures & Descriptions



Step 4 – Register Your Business

The Oregon Secretary of State’s Corporation Division is the place to register your corporation, nonprofit corporation, assumed business, limited liability company, limited liability partnership, Oregon trademark or service mark. Go to the Forms and Fees page to file a business online or download form to print and mail. 


Resource Links

Oregon Secretary of State’s Corporation Division

Oregon Secretary of State’s Corporation Division Forms and Fees


Step 5 – Learn About Your Tax Obligations

Understanding your tax obligations is important for any business. The Business Information Center provides information about Oregon and federal income taxes.  A business owner would also want to visit with the local county assessor’s office to learn more about requirement for reporting personal property. Most businesses will need to apply to the IRS for a Federal Employer Identification Number (EIN). You can apply online through the IRS.  


Resource Links

Business Information Center

Oregon Department of Revenue: Business Taxes

IRS: Employer Identification Numbers



Step 6 – Check What Licenses, Permits or Certification You Need

Many occupations and business activities require licenses, permits or certification from state agencies or boards. The State of Oregon offers a searchable online License Director, a comprehensive directory of over 1,100 licenses, permits, and certifications. The Business Information Center also provides information on state license requirements. Construction and landscape contractors need to register with the Construction Contractors Board or Landscape Contractors Board.  


Resource Links

Oregon License Directory



Step 7 – Learn About Other Requirements 

Protect your idea. Learn about registering patents, copyrights, trademarks and service marks with the state of Oregon and the federal government. Check with the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ). Some business activities will require you to contact DEQ. Determine whether you comply with the Americans with Disabilities At (ADA). Many businesses are subject to this federal law with prohibits discrimination against disable persons.  


Resource Links

Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ)

Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)



Step 8 – Meet Ongoing Registration Requirements 

Keep your reporting and registration obligations current. Businesses registered with the Oregon Secretary of State Corporation Division must file annual reports and renew their registration information. They will mail payment coupons approximately 45 days before your renewal due date.


Many occupational or business licenses require annual renewal. Check with the licensing agency for requirements. The referral list provides contact information for government agencies arranged by subject or topic.


Nonprofit organizations engaging in charitable activities need to file annual reports with the Oregon Department of Justice (DOJ), Charitable Services Section and with the IRS. Check information for Nonprofit Organizations.   

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