Oregon Cleaning Business Start-up Laws

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This article provides three key state business startup requirements for self-employed sole proprietors and general partners who run residential house cleaning businesses. Information from the Secretary of State, the Oregon Department of Revenue and selected city and county government sources were used to research this article.

Be aware that sole proprietor and general partner startup requirements in this state are always changing. Some requirements even vary from county to county.  It is important that you call or visit your local county or city government to find out local requirements for residential house cleaning businesses and home-based businesses. This article is not intended to be exhaustive or a substitute for qualified legal or tax advice.

Business Name Registration

Sole proprietors and general partners who want a business name that does not include the owner(s) “real and true” names (for example, Janice K. Smith’s Cleaning Service or Martha P. Harris and Thomas James Graham’s Maid Service) need to find out whether the name they want to use is available in the State of Oregon. A business that includes the owners “real and true name(s), does not have to register an Assumed Business Name with the state. In Oregon, “real and true names” include a first name, middle initial or name and last name.

Start with a statewide corporate business name search to avoid legal problems and customer confusion.

Then do an online search for names similar to the one you plan to use. For example, if you want to use the name, Crystal Clean Maid Service, do simple Google searches for “Crystal Clean Maid Service+Oregon” plus Crystal Clean Maid Service+your county” and “Crystal Clean Maid Service+your town or city”. Search beyond the first page of results. Go at least five pages deep into the search results to see if the name you want or similar names are being used in your state, county or city.

Register for an Assumed Business Name online through the Oregon Secretary of State’s Secure Access System.

In the state of Oregon, registering an Assumed Business Name or DBA (“doing business as” name) does not guarantee a business sole rights to the use of that name. Other businesses in the county and state may also register the same assumed name. Registered businesses are expected to legally defend their trade names.

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Business License Registration

Sole proprietors and general partners must be registered with the State of Oregon if they are using an Assumed Business Name. State registration allows the public to identify the business owner(s). Residential house cleaning businesses should also check with their local city or county clerk’s office for licensing requirements.   Find an Oregon county clerk.

Oregon provides an online business and tax registration portal known as the Oregon Business Express.  The Oregon Business Express includes the Oregon Business Wizard. Answering questions on the Wizard pages lead to a results page that supplies addresses, phone numbers and links to city, county, state and federal government agencies new businesses need to get started.

In Oregon, a general partnership is created when two or more owners form an oral or written agreement to start a business together. It is advisable for general partners to file an Assumed Business Name or DBA with the state. A written partnership agreement drawn up by a lawyer is important for both or all partners. Partnership agreements do not have to be filed with the state.

Sole proprietors and general partners may apply for an Employer Identification Number (EIN) from the IRS even if they do not plan to hire employees. Getting an EIN may make it easier to open a bank account and reduce your risk of identity theft. You can apply for an EIN online. In addition, some business registration forms will require a NAICS business classification number for the house cleaning industry.

Business Tax Registration

Sole proprietors and general partners who do not plan to hire employees right away do not have to register with the Oregon Department of Revenue or file for a Business Identification Number (BIN).  Get more information on starting a business in Oregon.

Oregon does not have a state-wide sales or use tax. Residential housecleaning services are not taxable in Oregon. House cleaning services do not have to collect and send sales taxes to the Department of Revenue.

Note: Sole proprietors and general partners in certain Oregon counties have to file and pay Transit Self-employment Taxes on earnings of more than $400.00 per year.

Sole proprietors and general partners pay tax on business income to the state of Oregon through their personal state tax return. Sole proprietors and general partners are responsible for paying estimated self-employment income taxes in Oregon (on Form OR-40-V) similar to the way self employment taxes are paid to the federal government. Get more information about estimated tax requirements by calling the Oregon Department of Revenue at (503) 378-4988 or (800) 356-4222.

Oregon general partnerships that file a Federal partnership information Form 1065, may need to file state income tax Form OR-65. Oregon partnerships also owe the state a Partnership Minimum Tax of $150.00 each year. Get more information from a CPA or qualified tax preparer to find out if your partnership must file those returns.

Selected Oregon City Licenses

Beaverton Business License: https://www.beavertonoregon.gov/353/Business-Licenses

Bend Business License: https://www.bendoregon.gov/government/departments/community-development/online-permit-center/business-registration-licensing/business-registration-program

Eugene Business License: The city of Eugene does not require a business license for housecleaning services.

Gresham Business License: https://greshamoregon.gov/Business-Licenses/

Hillsboro Business License: https://www.hillsboro-oregon.gov/departments/finance/business-licenses

Medford Business License: http://www.ci.medford.or.us/SectionIndex.asp?SectionID=582

Portland Business License: https://www.portlandoregon.gov/bds/49397

Salem Business License: The city of Salem does not require a business license for housecleaning services.

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