Oregon and Portland Taxes

income_taxThe Oregon state government is largely supported by personal income and corporate excise taxes.  Local governments and schools are largely funded by property taxes.  Oregon is one of only five states in the nation that levies no sales or use tax.

State government receipts of personal income and corporate excise taxes are contributed to the State’s General Fund budget, the growth of which is controlled by State law.  Oregon must balance expenditures with receipts and cannot operate in deficit or maintain a surplus.  State law requires the return of unanticipated revenues to taxpayers.

Oregon has a personal income tax usually ranking in the top 10 percent of the nation. Since Oregon does not have a sales tax, the primary source of revenue is the income tax. Oregon counties and cities have the right to impose a sales tax at the local level. Four other states (Alaska, Delaware, Montana, New Hampshire) also do not have a sales tax although some Alaska cities levy a sales tax.  Over the years, Oregon voters have rejected a sales tax nine times. However, the state tax rate is 17 percent on recreational marijuana and municipalities can enact an additional tax of up to three (3) percent with the approval of voters. The good news is that 40 percent of the marijuana tax goes for education.

The State of Oregon does not impose:

  • Motor vehicle excises tax
  • Business and occupations tax
  • Direct levies on intangible property such as stocks, bonds, or securities.

Oregon Needs Tax Reform

Just about everyone hates taxes, but Oregonians seem to dislike taxes more than the average person. Before voters passing Measures 66 and 67 in 2010, the last income tax increase that voters approved was in the 1930s. They have voted nine times against a sales tax.  Oregonians may not have created the saying, “Don’t tax me. Don’t tax thee. Tax the man behind the tree” but they have adopted it as their own.

Oregon’s “kicker law,” underscores Oregon’s distaste for taxes. When times are good, the state sends kicker refunds to residents from revenue that exceeds forecasts by state economists. This prevents the state from saving for a “rainy day” when revenues are low like during a recession. In December 2007, just as the country was entering a recession, Oregon returned $1.1 billion to residents, bounty from the previous boom year, because of the kicker law. By the spring of 2009, as Oregon’s unemployment rate was on its way to becoming one of the highest in the nation, the Legislature was voting to raise taxes by $727 million.

Measure 66 increases taxes on household income above $250,000 ($125,000 for individual filers)  about three percent of the state residents will be affected by this higher tax. They also approved fees and higher taxes on corporations (Measure 67).

What many people on each side agree on is that Oregon’s tax system is flawed and that passing Measures 66 and 67 are not a long-term solution. Here are the problems:

  • One of the highest income tax rates in the nation — Oregon is usually in the top five.
  • One of five states without a sales tax. But Oregon does tax recreational marijuana at the rate of 17 percent.
  • A statewide cap on property taxes limits how much local governments can raise rates each year.
  • Oregon’s “kicker law.”

In heavily forested Oregon counties such as Jackson County, there is another wrinkle. Property taxes were historically low here in part because the counties received payments from the federal government for timber production on federal lands. Yet timber production has declined substantially, and subsequent federal subsidies have not compensated for the decline. That aid has decreased over the last few years. In 2017 the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) issued payments totaling $19.5 million to 18 counties in Oregon. The Bureau of Land Management administers 15.7 million acres of federal lands in Oregon, over one-quarter of the state’s land base. As the landlord of such a large area, the BLM plays a substantial role in Oregon’s economy and in its management of natural resources.

Trump-GOP Tax Law

The Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy (ITEP) states the following on their website. “The Trump-GOP tax law will provide most of its benefits to high-income households and foreign investors while raising taxes on many low- and middle-income Americans. The bill goes into effect in 2018, but the provisions directly affecting families and individuals expire after 2025, with the exception of one provision that would raise their taxes.”

To get an idea of how the bill will affect Americans at different income levels in different years, their analysis focuses on the bill’s impacts in 2019 and 2027.  The graph on their website measures the average tax change resulting from the bill as a share of income for each income group, which is a way of showing how the income of a typical family in each group would be changed. In 2019, the bottom three-fifths of Americans will receive smaller average tax cuts, as a share of income, than other groups. In 2027 the bottom three-fifths of Americans will see tax hikes, on average, while the typical households in one of the other groups will continue to receive tax cuts, albeit smaller ones.

The graphs at the ITEP site show that the tax cuts in the bill are tilted dramatically in favor of the richest Oregon residents while the tax increases fall more heavily on lower-income Oregon families. Additional data on the impacts of the GOP-Trump tax bill on Oregon Residents can be downloaded here.

To view ITEP’s full analysis on the final GOP-Trump tax bill, click here.

The Oregonian:  Oregonians Will Save Nearly $1.5 Billion Annually Under Tax Overhaul, State Analysis Finds

In an article written by Mike Rogoway in The Oregonian in January 2018 and update in early February, the writer stated, “The tax overhaul President Donald Trump signed last month will save Oregon taxpayers nearly $1.5 billion a year, according to a new state analysis. That works out to $840 per tax filer, substantially more than state forecasters estimated last fall, though savings will vary enormously from taxpayer to taxpayer. And a small percentage of Oregon taxpayers actually face a tax increase under the new tax code, according to the new analysis from the Legislative Revenue Office. Oregonians’ higher savings apparently result from last-minute changes Congress made in the legislation, increasing a tax break for a certain type of business income and preserving more deductions for state income taxes and local property taxes.”

More from the article:

Late changes in the bill also wiped out the state’s projected windfall in revenue. Oregon instead faces the prospect of a $100 million hit to state coffers in 2018, though the tax changes will raise revenues over the long run, growing to an additional $203 million by 2024.

Oregon lawmakers are already considering a legislative response to the new tax code, to maintain revenue for local services and preserve some valuable federal tax breaks for Oregonians. It’s far from clear, though, whether those changes would have the desired effect and whether lawmakers will pursue them during the short legislative session that begins next month. Chris Allanach of the Legislative Revenue Office has been studying the bill since Congress approved the final version December 20. It’s an extremely complicated measure, with 115 provisions, and will affect different taxpayers quite differently.

For example, the state estimates that 70 percent of tax filers here will enjoy a federal tax cut in 2018 under the new law. But it also raises federal taxes for 10 percent of Oregon tax filers and raises state taxes for 40 percent of filers. Congress made several late changes to the bill and substantial uncertainty remains about how some provisions will affect Oregon, especially the impact of corporate profits earned overseas returning to the U.S.

Here are preliminary findings from the Legislative Revenue Office on how the tax overhaul Congress approved last month will affect Oregon:
  • The tax changes will save Oregonians an average of $1.48 billion in federal taxes annually, and $29 million in state taxes. That works out to nearly $840 for the average Oregon tax filer. However, actual savings will vary considerably — and some people will pay more.
  • Overall, 70 percent of individual Oregon tax filers will have a decrease in federal taxes. Ten percent will pay more. The remainder will have no change (many of those had no federal tax liability.)
  • Forty percent of Oregonians will pay more in state taxes. Thirty percent will pay less, and 30 percent will have no change.
  • Savings will vary considerably by household. Big beneficiaries include people who can reclassify some of their income as pass-through income from businesses.
  • Oregon expects to lose $100 million in state revenue this year. However, over time those effects will reverse. By 2023, the tax changes will produce nearly $200 million a year in new revenue for the state.

Oregon Individual Income Taxes

The Oregon Department of Revenue has a page called “Moving to Oregon FAQ” which explains Oregon income taxes. All forms can be downloaded as blank, fillable forms, and can be completed online. Visit Forms and Instructions.

Retirees: What Income is Taxed in Oregon

Most retirement income is subject to Oregon tax when received by an Oregon resident. This is true even if you were a nonresident when you earned the income. However, you may subtract some or all of your federal pension income from Oregon income. Retirees can visit the Oregon Department of Revenue website to calculate what you would pay.

Oregon does not tax your retirement income if you are a nonresident who is not domiciled in Oregon. If you are an Oregon nonresident who is still domiciled in Oregon, any Oregon-source retirement income is taxable by Oregon. This applies to most forms of retirement income taxed by Oregon, including public pension plans, corporate retirement plans, Keogh plans, simplified employee pensions (SEPs), and IRAs. 

Oregon does not tax Social Security, Veteran Administration benefits, or Railroad Retirement Board benefits. Oregon ministers get a tax break as compensation received for religious services is exempt but compensation received for independent contract services, such as weddings or funerals, is taxable.

Medical Expenses and Oregon Taxes

Oregon was the only state in the nation that allowed anyone 62 or older to combine state and federal rules to deduct the full cost of their medical expenses on their taxes. That changed in 2013 when the special session of the legislature changed the deduction to subtraction. Here are the new regs:

  • Sets subtraction cap per age eligible taxpayer based on adjusted gross income:
  • $1,800 for joint filer with less than $50,000; $1,400 for joint filer with less than $100,000; $1,000 for joint filer with less than $200,000; $0 for joint filer with more than $200,000.
  • Caps apply to single filers at half the joint filer income level.
  • Increases age eligibility over time: 63 in 2014; 64 in 2016; 65 in 2018; 66 in 2020. 

Property Taxes

bungalowThe property tax in Oregon is used for the support of local taxing districts such as public schools, cities, and counties.

The property tax applies to privately owned real estates such as land, homes, farms, stores, factories, warehouses and commercial offices.  Personal property held for the use and enjoyment of individuals is exempt from taxation.  However, personal property such as machinery, equipment, and supplies used to produce income, or with the potential of producing income, is subject to taxation.  Assessed taxable values are 100 percent of true market value.

History of Property Tax Measures

>>1990 – Measure 5:  This measure limited tax rates to $15 per $1,000 of market value. Still in effect when assessed, or taxable, values are close to market values.

>>1996 – Measure 47:  A key provision took assessed values for each property back to 1995, cut that figure by ten percent, then allowed taxable values to rise by three percent a year going forward. Allowed exceptions for tax levies approved in a November general election in even-numbered years or by half of registered voters at other times.

>>1997 – Measure 50:  Clean-up measure drafted by the Legislature that clarified and implemented Measure 47.  Exempted urban renewal taxes and Portland’s police and fire pension and disability levy from the cuts.

Visit the Oregon Property Taxes page on this site for detailed property tax information.  The Oregon state government website also has information about Oregon property taxes.

Gas/Diesel Taxes

pumpguyThe first US state tax on fuel was introduced in February 1919 in Oregon. It was a 1¢ a gallon tax. In the following decade, all of the U.S. states (48 at the time), along with the District of Columbia, introduced a gasoline tax. By 1939, an average tax of 3.8¢ a gallon of fuel was levied by the individual states. 

Below is the state tax on gas for Oregon, Washington, and California (there is also an 18.40 cents per gallon federal tax) as reported by the Tax Foundation:

  • Gas is taxed at the rate of 31.12 cents per gallon (cpg) in Oregon.
  • The gas tax in Washington state is 49.40 cpg.
  • California gas tax is 41.70 cpg.

Multnomah County (where Portland is located) had a .03 cents per gallon tax but that changed to 10.03 cpg on January 1, 2017. In November 2016 Portland voters narrowly approved a temporary 10 cpg tax on gasoline within city limits, creating the highest local gas tax in the state. The measure, which sunsets after four years, passed 51.6 percent to 48.4 percent. The tax is expected to bring in $64 million before it expires in late 2020. Of that, the city has said it plans to use 56 percent for road repairs and 44 percent for pedestrians and bicyclist safety improvements, particularly near schools.The Portland Bureau of Transportation said the city collected $19.9 million from the 10-cents-a-gallon gas tax in 2017. Washington County has a .01 cent per gallon tax.

Only service station attendants can pump gas in Oregon. Visit the Oregon Department of Transportation website to learn more.

City of Portland Art Tax

In 2012 the City of Portland voter-approved of a $35 tax to pay for art teachers and programs.The Art Tax applies to Portland residents who are at least 18 and have at least $1,000 in annual income. Federal and state benefits, such as Social Security and Oregon’s public pension system, don’t qualify as taxable income. Revenue climbed to $10.5 million for the 2014 tax year, up from $7.2 million for 2013 and $7.8 million for 2012. Only about 70% of the citizens of Portland pay the tax. 

Revenue from the tax pays for arts and music teachers in Portland elementary schools and generates millions of dollars for the Regional Arts & Culture Council to make arts programs available in underserved communities. 

City of Portland Surcharge on Excessive CEO Tax

Moving to address income inequality on a local level, the Portland City Council voted in late 2016 to impose a surtax on companies whose chief executives earn more than 100 times the median pay of their rank-and-file workers. The surcharge, which Portland officials said is the first in the nation linked to chief executives’ pay, would be added to the city’s business tax for those companies that exceed the pay threshold. Currently, roughly 550 companies that generate significant income on sales in Portland pay the business tax.

Under the new rule, companies must pay an additional 10 percent in taxes if their chief executives receive compensation greater than 100 times the median pay of all their employees. Companies with pay ratios greater than 250 times the median will face a 25 percent surcharge.

Beer, Wine, Cigarette, and Marijuana Taxes

  • Oregon Beer Tax  The Oregon tax of $2.60 per 31-gallon barrel (8 cents a gallon) is one of the lowest in the nation and hasn’t been raised since 1977.  That’s less than a penny for a 12-ounce beer.  It’s in the bottom 20 percent in the nation and one-third of the national average which is 18.5 cents.  Washington state’s beer tax is 26 cents a gallon (about 2.5 cents for a 12-ounce beer) and California taxes beer at the rate of 20 cents a gallon.  Microbreweries (producers of less than 3.1 million gallons per year) account for 10 percent of the beer consumed in Oregon – the highest percentage in the nation.
  • Oregon Wine Tax  At 67 cents a gallon (13.4 cents for a fifth of wine), it ranks in the middle among states – the national average is 60 cents a gallon. It has not changed since 1983. Wine is sold in grocery stores, drug stores, wine shops, etc. Wineries also sell their product directly to the consumer.
  • Distilled Spirits  In Oregon, the state government directly controls the sales of distilled spirits. Revenue is generated from various taxes, fees, and net liquor profits. The excise tax on spirits (hard liquor) is among the highest, at $22.73 per gallon.
  • Oregon Cigarette Tax  At 1.31 cents a pack, it ranks among the top 20 states.  Washington state taxes cigarettes at $3.025 a pack and only 4-5 states have higher cigarette taxes.  In 2007, about 524,000 Oregonians  nearly one in five adults − smoke. Smoking was more common in Oregon than nationwide until 1998 but has become less common.
  • Marijuana Tax  Oregon collected a total of $108.6 million in state and local marijuana taxes between January 4, 2016, and August 31, 2017. In the first distributions of the state marijuana tax revenues since Oregon opened its legal recreational cannabis market, the state paid out $85 million for schools, public health, police and local governments in mid-October 2017. The largest share goes toward schools. The state put $9.56 million toward the Oregon Liquor Control Commission’s “start-up costs” for regulating the industry and toward the Department of Revenue’s work to collect the taxes. 

Source:  Federation of Tax Administrators

Tax Burden:  How Oregon Compares

2018 Oregon Public Finance: Basic Facts. Research Report #1-18 published by the Legislative Revenue Office

The most comprehensive way to compare Oregon’s current revenue system with other states is to examine the most recent U.S. Census Bureau statistics on state and local government finance. These data include all state and local revenue sources (and expenditures) collected on a consistent basis from all states. The most recent data are for the 2014-15 fiscal year. 

On a total revenue basis, Oregon ranks #8 among the states. However, this measure includes insurance trust revenue and gross government enterprise revenue, both of which are not generally available for the provision of public goods and services. General revenue (excluding the insurance trust and government enterprise categories), provides a better indication of revenue available to fund public services in the current year. In this category, Oregon state and local governments received $10,154 per person during the 2014-15 fiscal year. Oregon ranked #14 among the states in this category. Own source revenue (general revenue minus transfers from the federal government) totaled $7,161 per person for a ranking of #21.

The report is over 50 pages and full of detail. It’s available to download at https://www.oregonlegislature.gov/lro/Documents/2018%20FINAL%20-1.pdf.

Tax Foundation: Oregon 16th Highest Tax Burden in the U.S. and has 3rd Highest Tax Rate

Oregonians have spent more of their incomes on taxes than Americans on average. The latest figures are from 2011 and illustrate state and local tax burdens on people nationwide. Oregonians on average paid about ten percent of their incomes in state and local taxes.

The study from the non-profit Tax Foundation found Oregon has the 16th highest tax burden in the country. New Yorkers paid the highest percentage of their incomes overall, and residents of Wyoming the lowest.

Since states have different tax structures, the study took into account all the different ways that state, city, and county governments tax their residents. That way, the Tax Foundation says its comparison was apples-to-apples.

Among states that levy a personal income tax, Oregon’s top rate ranks third highest, according to a Tax Foundation study released in April 2014.

The state’s 9.9 percent top rate is behind only California’s 13.3 percent and Hawaii’s 11 percent rates. Oregon’s 9.9 percent top rate is applied to a single filer with a taxable income greater than $125,000.

Income tax rates are complicated and variable by state. Nine states have no income tax on wages. Some use a flat rate that treats all income the same. California and Hawaii were one and two.

Federation of Tax Administrators

For 2010, Oregon tax is $3,419 per capita (rank of 36th).  At a rate of 9.8% of personal income, the state ranks 36th.  The Federation of Tax Administrators uses numbers from the U.S. Bureau of the Census and Bureau of Economic Analysis. With the new rates approved by the Legislature in 2009, Oregon now ties with Hawaii for the nation’s highest income tax rates.

Ernst & Young Total Effective Tax Rate on Business

Accounting experts Ernst & Young calculate “total effective tax rate” on Oregon’s businesses by taking into account property, receipt and sales and income taxes, cite Oregon’s as second-lowest in the U.S., at 3.8%; Washington’s is 5.8%. Delaware’s total effective tax rate is the nation’s lowest, at 3.5%, and Alaska’s the highest, at 11.6%.

U.S. Census Bureau

The State Government Tax Collections (STC) report provides a summary of taxes collected by the state for up to 25 tax categories. These tables and data files present the details on tax collections by type of tax imposed and collected by state governments. Click here to view the Census Bureau web page about STC.

Measure 66 Raises Taxes on High-Income Oregonians

Oregon voters decided in late January 2010, to raise taxes on high-income citizens by a margin of 54.3 percent to 45.8 percent. Measure 66 directly challenges HB 2649 which was signed by the governor.  Groups opposing the implementation of HB 2649 obtained enough signatures on a petition to refer the measure to the voters. The results triggered waves of relief from educators and legislative leaders, who were facing an estimated $727 million shortfall in the current two-year budget if the measures failed.

Measure 66 raises the tax on household income at and above $250,000 (and $125,000 for individual filers). It also reduces income taxes on unemployment benefits in 2009.  It provides funds currently budgeted for education, health care, public safety, other services.

Long-Term Capital Gain Tax: Oregon 6th Highest in USA/OECD Countries

In October 2013 the Motley Fool website examined long-term capital gains taxes or taxes that are assessed on individuals or business for profits earned on the sale of investments or through the disposition of property. For this data, they relied on a study conducted by The Tax Foundation that includes all member countries of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, as well as all 50 U.S. states, broken down by their state long-term capital gains tax and adding in federal taxes as well. By doing this, you can get a more realistic view of which ten states and countries (between the U.S. and OECD) are the most stringent when it comes to capital gains taxes.

Only three countries − Denmark, France, and Finland — fall among the top ten highest long-term capital gains rates, with seven U.S. states making up the difference. Comparatively speaking, the average capital gains tax in the U.S. (27.9%) when taking into account all 50 states is 70% higher than the average capital gains tax rate of all OECD countries (16.4%). In fact, 21 OECD countries are boasting a lower capital gains tax rate than the lowest rate you’ll find in any state in the nation.

Oregon made the list coming in at sixth place.

City of Portland Taxes

The Tax Foundation released a report in the summer of 2010 on taxes for metropolitan areas.  They rank Portland 106 (out of 107 areas) for the state, county, and local tax rates in cities with a population of 200,000 ranked by a total rate as of July 1, 2010.

The combined sales tax rate varied from zero to 10 percent in the 107 U.S. cities with a population above 200,000. Those cities account for around 62 million residents or one-fifth of the U.S. population.

Birmingham and Montgomery, Alabama, have the dubious honor of levying the highest combined sales tax rate, 10%; Anchorage, Alaska, and Portland, Oregon, are the only large cities that levy a zero sales tax at all levels of state and local government.

The county-level rates vary from 5% in New Orleans and Baton Rouge, Louisiana, to 0% in 28 of the 107 cities. The city-level tax has about the same rate of fluctuation, from 5.266% in St. Louis, Missouri, to 0% in 57 of the 107 cities.

ITEP:  All Tax Systems are Regressive

Every two years, the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy (ITEP) publishes a study called Who Pays? A Distributional Analysis of the Tax Systems in All 50 States. The fifth edition was released in January 2015. The report “assess[es] the fairness of state and local tax systems by measuring the state and local taxes that will be paid in 2015 by different income groups as a share of their incomes.” The report’s key measure is the effective tax rate faced by various income groups when we consider state and local property, sales, excise, individual income, and corporate income taxes. Somewhat surprisingly, ITEP finds that every single state tax system is regressive, taxing lower income individuals more than they tax the wealthy.


The Retirement Living Information Center website has information about taxes in all of the states.  The site provides access to an array of resource materials, including reports on great places to retire, tax information on each state, monthly reports on new retirement communities, an online newsletter, books and online publications, a guide to state aging agencies, access to information about special products and services, and links to online stores.  Their web page entitled, “Taxes by State” has information about taxes for all the states.

The Oregon Center for Public Policy is a private, non-profit research organization working to provide timely, credible, and understandable research, analysis, and information on public policies that affect low to moderate income Oregonians, the majority of Oregonians.

Oregon Corporate Taxes and Business Climate

The  Tax Foundation ranked Oregon 11th in the Tax Foundation’s State Business Tax Climate Index in their 2016 report. The Index compares the states in five areas of taxation that impact business: corporate taxes, individual income taxes, sales taxes, unemployment insurance taxes, and taxes on property, including residential and commercial property. The nonprofit research group, which praises lower taxes, released a report in mid-November 2015 that gives Oregon high marks for its relatively low property taxes on business and its lack of a sales tax. Oregon received worse marks for its corporate and personal income taxes, the latter of which are among the highest in the country.  To read the report you have to make a donation to the Tax Foundation. You can read the State Business Tax Climate Index without making a donation.

Measure 97  Oregonians face a major reckoning this November (2016) about the services and programs they’d like to have and the taxes they’re willing to pay to have them. Measure 97, on the November 8 ballot, would raise some $3 billion a year in new revenue by raising taxes on large corporations’ gross receipts. That’s enough money to swell the state’s budget by roughly a third. The measure has sparked one of the most expensive election fights Oregon has ever seen. The Oregonian in their October 9, 2016, edition has an article that explains the measure.

Council on State Taxation:  Oregon Provides Best Value

The Council on State Taxation, which includes multi-state and national corporations, reported in April 2010 that Oregon provided the best “value” to businesses from the taxes they paid during 2009. Oregon’s state and local business taxes tied with North Carolina and Delaware for the country’s lowest last year, according to the group. The council based its study on 2009 tax receipts. The “value” is based on Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago economists’ calculations as to how much state money goes to education and other services. Such measures determine how the state spending benefits businesses.

Measure 67 Raises Taxes on Corporations

Oregon voters bucked decades of anti-tax and anti-Salem sentiment in late January 2010, raising taxes on corporations (along with the wealthy via Measure 66). The tax measures passed easily by 53.5 percent to 46.5 percent ratio. Measure 67 sets higher minimum taxes on corporations and increases the tax rate on upper-level profits. The measure directly challenges HB 3405 which was signed by the governor in 2009.  Business groups obtained sufficient signatures to put the measure on a special ballot so Oregon voters would decide the fate of HB 3405. It changed the 78-year-old $10 corporate minimum tax to a sliding scale starting at $150 in taxes and based on sales.

Business groups opposed Measure 67 but they were outspent by unions for teachers and public employees − they outspent business groups by two million dollars.

The overwhelming majority of Oregon businesses don’t pay income taxes to the state. Even the bulk of larger “C corporations” pay just $10 alternative minimum tax, until that tax was raised in 2009 (HB 3405). It’s not that they’re all losing money; most are taking advantage of write-offs and other tax breaks. Portland General Electric, in the days when it was owned by Enron, sometimes paid the $10 minimum tax, despite getting a guaranteed rate of profit from state utility regulators.

Among the 33,593 C corporations, which tend to be larger businesses, state economists estimate that 60 percent would pay a $150 minimum tax under Measure 67, up from the former $10. Most of the rest of the C Corporations would pay a new minimum tax based on 0.1 percent of in-state sales of more than $500,000. That tax was capped at $100,000.

About 5 percent of C corporations will pay a higher corporate income tax, taxed at a 7.9 percent rate instead of the former 6.6 percent rate. That increase ends after three years, except for companies with more than $10 million in profits.

Council on State Taxation

Oregon raised 30 percent of its state taxes from business in 2008, considerably less than the national average of nearly 40 percent, according to the Council on State Taxation, a nonprofit corporate trade association. Only four states derived a lower share of their taxes from business.

Forbes Magazine Ranks Oregon Sixth Best in Nation in 2010

Oregon ranks sixth best in the nation as a place for business and careers, according to Forbes Magazine, which raised the state’s rank despite new taxes from ballot measures 66 and 67. Oregon’s position in the annual ranking climbed from 10th a year ago. Forbes ranked Oregon’s labor supply fourth in the nation and its growth prospects 12th.

Utah topped the rankings, followed by Virginia, North Carolina, Colorado, and Washington. Maine placed last.

Portland’s Tax Advantage over Washington

Greater Portland companies have another tax advantage on either side of the Columbia. Oregon has no sales tax, which can be a boon for companies making big equipment purchases. And Washington has no state income tax, a selling point for prospective employees. 


Live in Washington State and Work in Oregon

Washington State does NOT have an income tax.  But if you live in the state of Washington and work in Oregon, all income for services performed in Oregon is taxed by Oregon.  The same is true if you live in Oregon and work in Washington – you will pay Oregon taxes on the income you earned in Washington.  Read more at the Oregon Department of Revenue about this topic.

Automobile Registration

license_mov2pdxResidents are required to register their vehicle as soon as they establish residency. The fee is $77 for one year for a passenger car registration. License plates are $23 a year. Multnomah County has assessed a fee in addition to your state registration fee to fund construction of a new Sellwood Bridge. Vehicles in Multnomah County with registration expiring on or after September 1, 2010, will be assessed an additional fee of $19 per year or $38 for a two-year renewal. There are state Driver and Motor Vehicle Services branch offices throughout the metropolitan area.

Vehicles in the metropolitan area are also required to pass an exhaust emissions test before licenses are granted. The fee is $37 for two years. Vehicle emission test centers are located throughout the metropolitan area. A VIN (physical examination of your vehicle to determine whether the vehicle identification number matches those on the title or primary ownership document) inspection is also required for out-of-state vehicles being titled in Oregon.

Oregon Driver’s License

Oregon Driver’s License   A driver license must be obtained as soon as residency in the state has been established. With a valid, unexpired license from another state and a good driving record, only the written and vision tests are required.

Oregon lawmakers in early 2008 blocked illegal immigrants from getting driver’s licenses, transforming some of the nation’s most lenient licensing rules into the state’s harshest sanctions against undocumented workers.

Here are the new rules:

>>Either show your Social Security card or write in on the application.  The Department of Motor personnel will verify your Social Security number on their computers while you wait.

>>You must show proof of identity with one of these documents:  U.S. birth certificate, driver’s license either from Oregon or another state, U.S. passport, or U.S. military ID.  Foreign birth certificates and consular ID cards — popular with many illegal immigrants — no longer are accepted as proof of identification.

>>The bill gives the state explicit authority to check a driver’s legal status. It also grants DMV discretion to issue temporary licenses to some people.

People who were never issued a Social Security number must sign a statement saying so and must offer up other identification such as a U.S. passport. If you don’t have a Social Security number and you are a legal immigrant or visitor, you will need one of these documents:  Immigrant visa, ID document issued by U. S. Department of Homeland Security, or a U.S. foreign passport.

Fees will increase to help pay for the changes, estimated to cost about $2 million this budget period and $1.8 million in 2009-11.  An original regular Class C driver’s license costs $60, renewal $40, new ID card $44.50, renewal of the card $40.50.  A license is valid for eight years except for temporary visitors which are shorter.

Oregon College Saving Program

In January of 2001 Oregonians may begin to invest in the Oregon College Savings Plan. This state-sponsored plan meets the federal qualifications for special tax status as a Qualified Tuition Savings Program (QTSP).

Oregon residents can deduct up to $2,310 for a single taxpayer and $4,620 for couples filing jointly. Contributions made until April 15th qualify for a deduction for the previous year. 

Also, you can carry forward a contribution greater than $2,300 ($4,600 for couples) for the next four years (2015-2018). So, a couple can contribute $23,000 now, claim a $4,600 subtraction on their 2015 return, and then claim subtractions for $4,620 in 2016 and then claim similar subtraction amounts in 2017, 2018 and 2019. See page 72 of the Oregon Individual Income Tax Guide (also known as Publication 17-and-a-half) for another example.

Oregon state law allows someone — even out of state — to contribute to an account you own while you claim the subtraction from taxable income. But both of you can’t claim a subtraction for the same contribution.

From the Oregon College Saving website, “The tax plan signed into law on December 22, 2017, by President Trump includes provisions related to 529 college savings plans. Effective January 1, 2018, qualified withdrawals for federal tax purposes have been expanded to include up to $10,000 in tuition per student in connection with enrollment or attendance at public, private, or religious elementary or secondary schools. Only the federal tax treatment for qualified distributions was changed by the federal tax plan. At this time, states are reviewing the impact of the federal tax change to determine whether they require changes to state legislation. Additional updates pertaining to the state tax treatment for K-12 withdrawals are forthcoming. We recommend you consult a qualified tax advisor about your own personal situation.”

For more information or to enroll see Oregon College Savings or call 1-86-OR-Savings (866-772-8464).