Oregon Secretary of State

Nonprofit Services

​​​​​​​Nonprofit organizations must register with the Secretary of State. The Department of Justice regulates charitable activities in Oregon. You may also need to register with them.

Getting Started

Before registering, use the Business Name Availability Check and Business Name Search to confirm your name is available.

Choose one of the three nonprofit types:  Mutual Benefit, Public Benefit, or Religious.  Among many other factors, this is a basic starting point.

Visit Starting a Business​ for guidance that applies for all new business entities, and take advantage of the resources under “Getting Support” below.

Nonprofits must register and renew annually with the Corporation Division. To register, use the Articles of Incorporation form or register online

The Department of Justice regulates charitable activities in Oregon, so Public Benefit nonprofits also must register with them.

Many cities and a few counties require licensing for operating in their area. Contact your city or county for “business license” requirements; start with their website.

Internal Revenue Service forms and information: 

​​​The Oregon Department of Revenue has tax informat​ion for nonprofit and tax-exempt organizations​. If you will have employees, be sure to get set up for payroll tax withholding.

If you operate in the Tri-County Metropolitan Transportation District (TriMet) or the Lane County Transit District, you will need to file and pay for transportation taxes.​ See mass transit payroll/excise tax​ from the Department of Revenue.​​​

  • If you will have employees, use the Oregon Employer's Guide​ for Unemployment insurance and Workers' Compensation requirements. 
  • State licensing boards may require certain types of insurance for specific professions. Consult your licensing and permitting board.

Other Insurance Resources

Small Business Administration’s Tips for Business Insurance​

NAIC Insurance for Small Business


Getting Support

​​The Nonprofit Association of Oregon​ is the s​tatewide membership organization providing nonprofit sector support.​

​The Nonprofit Institute at Portland State University​ works to meet the needs of nonprofits.​​

​​Complete your own nonprofit research requests​, free of charge.

​​​The Better Business B​ureau, Wise Giving Alliance offers guidance on making informed giving decisions, tips publications and the quarterly Better Business Bureau Wise Giving Guide​​.​

​BoardSource​​ is dedicated t​o building stronger nonprofit boards of directors.​

​Find informa​tion for and about nonprofit organizations at Propel Nonprofits.

​​Nonprofit o​rganizations are both a recipient of Small Business Administration​ (SBA)​ services and a partner with the SBA in serving the small business community.​

The People’s Nonprofit Accelerator​ (The Accelerator), formerly Willamette Valley Development Professionals (WVDO), provides affordable and accessible, education and training for the nonprofit sector seeking support in fundraising, executive leadership, board development, and personnel management.​


Guides for Charities from ​DOJ

Starting a Charity in Oregon 

A Guide for Board Members

Statutes and Rules Governing Nonprofits​​​

Annual reporting requirements for charities​

Closing and Dissolving a Charity​

Start a Busines​s Video Series

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Step-by-step guide for starting a business

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