Easy Steps To Protect Your Oregon Nonprofit and Keep Your Nonprofit Compliant

If you are starting a 501(c)(3) nonprofit in Oregon, you have come to the right place. After following the easy steps for Oregon nonprofit formation, follow this guide to help keep your Oregon nonprofit compliant and protected.

In this guide we cover:

  1. How to Protect Your Oregon Nonprofit
  2. How to Keep Your Oregon Nonprofit Compliant
A man shaking another person's hand.

How to Protect Your Oregon Nonprofit

Get Business Insurance

As with any other business, there may be risks involved in running the nonprofit. Getting insurance for your nonprofit allows you to focus on your passion while minimizing your liability.

Here are some of the common types of insurance you may want to consider for your organization:

  • General Liability Coverage
  • Directors and Officers Coverage
  • Social Service Professional Coverage

Your coverage needs will vary based on your organization and the work you do.

Properly Sign Legal Documents

There will be times when you will be signing a document on behalf of your nonprofit. It is important that these times are easily distinguishable from when you are signing a document as an individual. If a document isn’t properly signed, you might suddenly find yourself personally responsible for something the organization should have been liable for.

To avoid such confusion we recommend you and all the members of your organization follow the following format:

  • The official name of your nonprofit
  • Your signature
  • Your full legal name
  • Your position in the organization

How to Keep Your Oregon Nonprofit Compliant

Maintain An Oregon Registered Agent

Nonprofits that have incorporated are required to maintain a registered agent with an office address in Oregon. If the agent or the office address changes, you must file an Information Change with the Secretary of State to effect a change to the Articles of Incorporation. This form can be mailed to the address found below:

Oregon Secretary of State
Corporate Division
255 Capitol Street NE, Suite 151
Salem, OR 97310-1327

For more information, you can call the Secretary of State at (503) 986-2200 or visit them at their website.

File Required Periodic Reports

The Secretary of State requires all nonprofits to file an annual report online each year by their anniversary date.

For more information, you can call the Secretary of State at (503) 986-2200 or visit them at their website.

Determine Oregon Business Permits and Licenses

  1. Depending on the activities your nonprofit engages in, you may need to obtain a specific license for your corporation. The Oregon Business Xpress License Directory can help you determine if you need to apply for separate licenses for your organization.
  2. If your organization will be conducting charitable gaming activities, you must apply for a charitable gaming license through the Oregon Department of Justice. Full details on these requirements can be found on their website.

For more information, you can call the Oregon Department of Justice at (971) 673-1880, visit them at their website, or visit their office at the address below:

Charitable Activities Section
Oregon Department of Justice
1515 SW 5th Avenue
Suite 410
Portland, OR 97201-5451


If your nonprofit is a charity, it will need to register as a charitable organization with the Oregon Department of Justice using form RF-C. This form can be mailed to the address found below:

Charitable Activities Section
Oregon Department of Justice
100 SW Market St
Portland, OR 97201-5702

For more information, you can call the Oregon Department of Justice at (971) 673-1880 or visit them at their website.


If your organization will have employees you must register with the Oregon Employment Department.

You can easily register by completing the Combined Employer Registration Form on paper or online. Paper forms can be mailed to the address found below:

Oregon Employment Department
875 Union Street NE, Room 107
Salem, OR 97311

For more information, you can call the Employment Department at (503) 945-8091.

Public Inspection Rules for all 501(c)(3) Organizations

All organizations that have been granted the 501(c)(3) status are required to disclose the following documents to the public when requested:

  • Annual returns for 3 years after the due date (this includes returns like Form 990, 990-EZ, 990-PF, and any Forms 990-T)
  • All Form 990 Schedules (except portions of Schedule B), attachments and supporting documents.
  • Application of exemption and all supporting documents such as Form 1023
  • The official paperwork from the IRS that shows that your organization has tax-exempt status.

The following do NOT need to be shared with the public

  • Portions of schedule B of Form 990/990-EZ that identify the contributors. (You only need to disclose the amount contributed and the nature of the contributions)
  • Any unfavorable rulings such as an earlier denial of tax-exempt status.
  • Any information the IRS has said you can withhold. This may include things like sensitive patents and trade secrets.


How long do I have to produce these documents if requested?

Ideally within the same day. If your organization doesn’t have an office or maintains limited hours during parts of the year, the information should be made available within two weeks.

Do I need to provide copies of the documents?

If someone asks for copies in person or in writing you must provide them with copies.

Can I charge for copies?

You can charge a reasonable amount for making copies of the documents requested.

NOTE: It may be easiest to have the documents available on your website so that anyone who requests copies can be sent to the site. This allows you to stay compliant without having to spend a lot of time dealing with document requests.

Annual Returns for Tax-Exempt Organizations

Most tax-exempt nonprofit organizations are required to file an annual return with the IRS (Check the list of exceptions).

Which form you should use to file the annual returns depends on the annual gross receipt amounts for your organization.

"Gross receipt" is defined by the IRS as “the total amounts the organization received from all sources during its annual accounting period, without subtracting any costs or expenses”

  • For gross receipts ≤$50,000 --- File 990-N
  • Gross receipts <$200,000 and total assets <$500,000 --- File 990- EZ
  • Gross receipts >$200,000 or Total assets >$500,000 --- File 990

For any questions, you can call the IRS at

  • (800) 829-3676 (Form-related questions)
  • (800) 829-1040 (General information)

When is form 990 due?

You have a little over 4 months after your taxable year comes to an end to file Form 990. It is due on the 15th day of the 5th month. So if your taxable year ends on Dec 31st, your form 990 is due on May 15th.

NOTE: If your organization fails to file form 990 for 3 consecutive years, it will automatically lose its tax-exempt status.

Report Unrelated Business Income

If your Oregon organization has a gross income of ≥$1000 from a trade or business that is not related to the stated purpose of the organization, then it must file Form 990-T to pay tax on that income.