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Oregon Nonprofit Service We’re Just Not Annoying®

How to Start a Nonprofit in Oregon

To incorporate a nonprofit in Oregon, file nonprofit articles of incorporation with the Oregon Secretary of State. This filing officially creates your new nonprofit, but it is really just one step toward pursuing your organization’s goals. The main steps to starting an Oregon nonprofit are as follows:

  1. File Oregon nonprofit articles of incorporation
  2. Get a federal EIN tax ID from the IRS
  3. Hold your organizational meeting and adopt bylaws
  4. Register for state tax accounts, licenses, and permits
  5. Apply for federal and/or state tax exemptions
  6. Register as a charity
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Oregon nonprofit Articles of Incorporation free download. When you’re done filling out the form, submit it to your state.

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How to File Oregon Nonprofit Articles Of Incorporation

To form an Oregon nonprofit, file nonprofit Articles of Incorporation using the following steps:
Step 1 Choose a name for your new nonprofit
Step 2 Decide if you want to hire a registered agent to minimize public disclosures
Step 3 Decide what address you’d like to list publicly
Step 4 Determine if you’re starting a public benefit, mutual benefit, or religious nonprofit
Step 5 Determine if your nonprofit will have members
Step 6 Decide if your nonprofit will seek 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status from the IRS
Step 7 Appoint at least one incorporator to sign and submit your articles
Step 8 File online and pay with a credit card or mail your articles to the Corporations Division at 255 Capitol St NE, Ste 151, Salem, OR 97310-1327 and pay by check

How Long Does It Take To Start An Oregon Nonprofit?



File online yourself. Oregon will take about one day to process your articles of incorporation.



Hire Northwest to form your Oregon nonprofit, answer a few simple question in your online account, and leave the rest to our expert filers.



Print your articles and file by mail. You can expect a response from the state in around 7-10 days.

How Much Does It Cost To Incorporate An Oregon Nonprofit?

Oregon charges $50 to file nonprofit articles of incorporation. When you hire Northwest to form your nonprofit, your total cost, which includes a full year of our registered agent service, is $275 for online filing.

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How Much Does An Oregon Nonprofit Cost Each Year?

Your nonprofit will pay $100 to file its annual Business Renewal report with the Oregon Secretary of State. If your organization is a charity, it will also pay an annual revenue fee, based on its total annual revenue, when it renews its registration with the Oregon Office of the Attorney General.

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What Is The Oregon Annual Business Renewal Report?

Oregon requires nonprofit corporations to submit an annual report (called the annual business renewal) updating or confirming its corporate information on the state’s records, including your nonprofit’s name and registered agent information. You can submit your nonprofit’s annual business renewal online or by mail, there is a $50 filing fee, and the deadline is always the anniversary of your nonprofit’s incorporation.

Keep in mind that your nonprofit must submit its annual report to remain in good standing with the state, so it pays to be safe. If you’d rather not worry about missing the deadline, add our convenient Oregon Business Renewal Compliance service for an additional fee when you hire Northwest.

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Is An Oregon Nonprofit Registered Agent Required?

Yes, Oregon requires nonprofit corporations to appoint and maintain a registered agent. Your nonprofit’s registered agent is an individual or business entity that provides a reliable way for the state to contact your organization with official state documents and legal notices (if you ever get sued). This is why a registered agent must be available during normal business hours at an Oregon street address listed on your nonprofit’s articles of incorporation. You can take on the job yourself, appoint someone you know, or hire a commercial registered agent service like Northwest.

The job looks easier on the surface than it actually is. On the one hand, it’s “easy” to wait at a single, publicly-listed location for official state mail and services of process that may never come; on the other hand, you can’t travel, hold lengthy meetings, or do pretty much anything else that takes you away from your desk for any length of time. That isn’t a viable option for most people trying to manage and grow a new nonprofit.

A better option? Hire Northwest to serve as your registered agent service, and you can leave the endless waiting to us. Hiring Northwest also means you can list our Oregon street address, in place of yours, on your articles of incorporation. You’ll get less junk mail, have to deal with fewer salespeople popping up at your door, and reduce the chance that you’ll get targeted by data-sellers. If or when we receive a legal notice on behalf of your nonprofit, we’ll scan it and send it to you on the day we receive it.

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Will My Nonprofit Have Tax-Exempt Status?

Not automatically. To obtain tax-exempt status in Oregon, you must first apply for federal tax-exempt status with the IRS. You’ll submit an Application for Recognition of Exemption (IRS Forms 1023, 1024-A, or 1024 depending on the nature of your nonprofit), along with the filing fee. This is a long, detailed form that asks for a lot of information about your corporation’s history, finances, and activities. Currently, the IRS recognizes more than two dozen types of exempt organizations, but most nonprofits seek 501(c)(3) status for public charities and private foundations. If you decide to this route, make sure your articles of incorporation include the specific tax-exempt language provided by the IRS.

If your nonprofit manages to obtain federal tax-exempt status, it will be exempt from paying the state’s corporate income tax, and Oregon already doesn’t have a state sales tax. Learn more at Northwest’s guide to Oregon tax exemptions.

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Do I Need A Tax ID Number (EIN) For An Oregon nonprofit?

Yes, your nonprofit will need a federal employer identification number (FEIN or EIN) if you wish to apply for federal tax-exempt status, open a bank account in your nonprofit’s name, and otherwise present your organization as a legitimate nonprofit corporation. After the state approves your articles of incorporation, you can apply for an EIN at the IRS website, by fax, or by phone.

Rather not deal with the IRS? You’re in luck. Northwest offers a convenient EIN service, for an additional fee, which you can easily add on at checkout.

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Does An Oregon Corporation Need A Business License?

Oregon doesn’t issue a general business license, but the state requires licenses for all sorts of activities. You can find out which (if any) of your nonprofit’s activities require a state license at Oregon’s Business Xpress License Directory, and different cities and counties often have licensing requirements of their own.

Do I Have To Register My Nonprofit As A Charity In Oregon?

If your nonprofit intends to solicit charitable contributions in Oregon (or if it otherwise operates as a charity), it will likely need to register as an Oregon charity with the Oregon Department of Justice. This involves submitting Form RF-C (Registration for Charitable Organizations) and renewing your registration each year. Make sure to register before doing any charitable work in the state.

There is no initial registration fee, but you’ll pay annual renewal fees based on your nonprofit’s annual gross revenue:

Total Revenue Revenue Fee

$0 – $24,999

$25,000 – $49,000 $50
$50,000 – $99,000 $90
$100,000 – $249,999 $150
$250,000 – $499,000 $200
$500,000 – $999,999 $300
$1,000,000 or more $400

Can I Register An Out Of State Nonprofit In Oregon?

Yes, if your out-of-state nonprofit wishes to expand to Oregon, you’ll need to file an Application for Authority with the Oregon Secretary of State. Visit Northwest’s guide to Oregon foreign nonprofits to learn more about the fees, forms, and deadlines for registering an out-of-state nonprofit.

Does An Oregon Nonprofit Need Bylaws?

Oregon requires all nonprofit corporations to adopt bylaws, which are basically your corporation’s internal rules. Your nonprofit should adopt bylaws at its organizational meeting—your first official meeting after incorporating with the state—along with electing or appointing directors and officers and settling any other business necessary to get things started. If your nonprofit intends to seek 501(c)(3) federal tax-exempt status from the IRS, make sure to adopt your bylaws before submitting the Application for Recognition of Exemption.

Your nonprofit’s bylaws need to be strict enough keep your nonprofit’s activities lawful, to clearly define the rights and responsibilities of your directors, officers, and members, to provide clear procedures for handling problems and disputes (such as how to remove an officer), and to otherwise manage your nonprofit’s day-to-day business. But your bylaws also need to be loose enough to allow your organization room to change and grow. Sound like a challenge? It is. That’s why Northwest provides our clients with an adaptable template for writing nonprofit bylaws, as well as numerous other free nonprofit forms, to help get you started.

Oregon Nonprofit Articles Of Incorporation Requirements

Name of Corporation

Your nonprofit’s name must be distinguishable from other business entities on record with the Oregon Secretary of State, and the name can’t suggest a purpose other than that listed in your articles of incorporation or allowed by state law. The name also cannot contain the words “cooperative” or “limited partnership.”

Registered Agent and Registered Office

Include the name and Oregon street address of your nonprofit’s registered agent. When you hire Northwest, our information goes here.

Mailing Address

List a mailing address for your nonprofit, and keep in mind that this address will go into the public record. When you hire Northwest, you can list the address of our Oregon office.

Type of Corporation

Identify your nonprofit as a religious, public benefit, or mutual benefit corporation. A religious corporation is organized for religious purposes; a public benefit corporation is organized for charitable purposes (or to otherwise exclusively benefit the public); and a mutual benefit corporation is organized to benefit its members.


Indicate if your nonprofit will have members. A member is basically a person with the right to vote in the election of your nonprofit’s directors.

Distribution of Assets

Indicate how your nonprofit will distribute its assets if it ever shuts down. This provision is particularly important for public benefit corporations seeking 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status with the IRS. 501(c)(3) organizations must permanently dedicated their assets to one or more exempt purpose, and their articles of incorporation must contain a dissolution of assets provision using specific tax-exempt language provided by the IRS.

Optional Provisions

Include attachments, if necessary, to add additional provisions governing your nonprofit, so long as they are consistent with Oregon state law. Note that nonprofits seeking 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status should include a statement of purpose, as well as additional special provisions, using the tax-exempt language required by the IRS.


Include the names and addresses of your nonprofit’s incorporators (at least one). An incorporator doesn’t need to be an officer, director, or member of your organization. When you hire Northwest to form your nonprofit, we’ll be your incorporator.

Corporate Compliance
by Local Corporate Guides®