Businesses

About the ta​x

On May 16, 2019, Governor Kate Brown signed House Bill 3427 into law.

The legislation accomplishes the following:

  • Establishes a "Fund for Student Success" that is separate and distinct from the state's general fund.
  • Adopts a new Corporate Activity Tax (CAT) imposed on all types of business entities.

The CAT is in addition to the state's current corporate income tax. Revenue from the CAT will be transferred to the Fund for Student Success and will be used for education spending. 

If you would like to sign up for additional information as it becomes available, please subscribe to our mailing list.​

​​Frequently asked questions

​​A: The new Corporate Activity Tax (CAT) is imposed on businesses for the privilege of doing business in this state. The CAT is not a transactional tax, such as a retail sales tax, or an income tax. Oregon’s CAT is measured on a business’s commercial activity–the total amount a business realizes from transactions and activity in Oregon. Certain items are excluded from the definition of commercial activity and, therefore, will not be subject to the CAT. In addition, Oregon’s CAT allows a 35% subtraction for certain business expenses.

The CAT is applied to Oregon taxable commercial activity in excess of $1 million. The tax is computed as $250 plus 0.57% of Oregon commercial activity of more than $1 million. Only taxpayers with more than $1 million of taxable Oregon commercial activity will have a payment obligation.

The Department of Revenue has begun developing administrative rules for the new CAT program. We encourage all stakeholders to provide feedback. Please send any comments to cat.help.dor@oregon.gov.

If you would like to receive updates on the CAT, please subscribe to our mailing list using the form on this webpage.

A: The CAT is applicable to tax years beginning January 1, 2020. The CAT is an annual calendar year tax. Businesses that use an alternate fiscal year must still file and pay based on the calendar year.

A: Commercial activity is the total amount realized by a company from the transactions and activity in the regular course of their business in Oregon, without deduction for expenses incurred by the business​. Commercial activity is realized according to the method of accounting used for federal income tax purposes.

While commercial activity includes most business receipts, receipts from certain items are excluded and are not subject to the CAT. For example, the following items are excluded:

  • Receipts from the sale of motor vehicle fuel.
  • Receipts from the wholesale and retail sales of groceries.
  • Sales of items or services that are delivered outside of Oregon.
  • Receipts from a farmer’s sales to an agricultural cooperative described in Section 1381 of the Internal Revenue Code.
  • Property, money, or other amounts received by an agent on behalf of another in excess of the agent’s fee or commission.
  • Receipts from transactions between members of the same unitary group.
  • Distributive income received from a pass-through entity.

These are only a few of the items not subject to CAT. The CAT legislation has a list of items that are excluded. See Section 50 of HB 2164 (2019).

​A: Any business, or unitary group of businesses, doing business in Oregon may have responsibilities under the CAT. This includes all business entity types, such as C and S corporations, partnerships, sole proprietorships, and other entities.

The CAT sets four thresholds to determine whether a business or unitary group has CAT responsibilities. These thresholds are based on the amount of commercial activity the business or unitary group earns in Oregon over the course of the year.

​Threshold ​Amount ​Explanation
Excluded–No Requirement​ Less than $750,000​ ​Business or unitary group with less than $750,000 of Oregon commercial activity are excluded from all CAT requirements.
​​Registration Threshold $750,000+​ ​Business or unitary group with Oregon commercial activity in excess of $750,000 must register for the CAT.
Filing Threshold $1 Million​ ​Business or unitary group with Oregon commercial activity of $1 million must file a return.
Tax Payment Threshold​ ​More than $1 Million Business or unitary group with taxable Oregon commercial activity in excess of $1 million must file a return and pay tax.​

If you are unsure whether your business is part of a unitary group, please see our Unitary Group FAQ.

A: ​The CAT legislation excludes certain types of business entities from any CAT liability, unless such business has unrelated business taxable income under federal law. Exempted entities include but are not limited to:

A: ​The CAT is an annual calendar year tax. CAT returns are due each year on April 15. Generally, estimated payments are due April 30, July 31, October 31, and January 31 for the preceding quarter.

​ ​ ​Important Filing Dates
Filing or Payment Requirement​ ​Period Dates Due Date
1st Quarter Estimated Payment​ January – March ​ April 30
2nd Quarter Estimated Payment​ April – June​ July 31
​3rd Quarter Estimated Payment ​July – September October 31
​4th Quarter Estimated Payment ​October – December January 31
Annual Return ​ January – December ​ April 15

A: Registration is due within 30 days of meeting the $750,000 registration threshold. A penalty of $100 per month may be assessed for failing to register, up to $1,000 per calendar year. 

A: No two businesses are exactly alike. The facts and circumstances of each business is unique, but every business will need the same information to determine its liability under the Corporate Activity Tax. There are two examples meant to provide general guidance on how to calculate a business’s CAT liability. If you have additional questions, please send them to the CAT policy team at cat.help.dor@oregon.gov.

A: ​You must use the same accounting method you use for your federal income tax return.

A: A unitary group is a group of entities that form a unitary business enterprise in which members share or exchange value. A unitary group of entities is united by more than 50% common ownership.

In addition, a unitary business enterprise exists if at least one of the following conditions is met:

  • Centralized management or a common executive force;
  • Centralized administrative services or functions resulting in economies of scale; or
  • Flow of goods, capital resources or services demonstrating functional integration.

Members of a unitary group may be in the same general line of business, such as manufacturing, wholesaling or retailing. Or, members may be in multiple lines of business that constitute steps in a vertically integrated process, such as the steps involved in the production of natural resources, which might include exploration, mining, refining, and marketing.

Unitary groups must register, file, and pay as a single taxpayer.

A: Visit our website at https://www.oregon.gov/DOR/. Click on the "Business" link, then the "Corporate Activity Tax" in the "Information" column on the next page. We have a mailing list registration for future updates. Also, you can email your questions to Cat.help.dor@oregon.gov.

​​A: A taxpayer expecting more than $5,000 of Corporate Activity Tax liability for the calendar year must make estimated payments. CAT liability of $5,000 for the year corresponds with taxable commercial activity equal to $1,833,245. Taxable commercial activity is Oregon-source commercial activity less the subtraction allowed for a percentage of eligible costs. Estimated payments are due April 30, July 31, October 31, and January 31 for the preceding calendar quarter. A taxpayer expecting $5,000 or less of CAT liability for a calendar year doesn't need to make estimated payments but still must file an annual return and pay CAT liability no later than April 15 of the following calendar year.
A: For purposes of the CAT, a person has nexus with Oregon to the extent the person can be required under the U.S. Constitution to remit the tax imposed by the CAT. The department will not apply a bright line nexus test for the CAT.
A: For purposes of the CAT, a person is an agent if the person acts on behalf of and subject to the control of another person (a principal). A determination of whether a person is acting as an agent is based on a consideration of the facts and circumstances surrounding the relationship between the agent and the principal. A contract purporting to establish an agent-principal relationship is just one relevant fact to consider when determining if an agent-principal relationship exists.

A: A taxpayer is required to include the value of property transferred into Oregon within a year of purchase outside Oregon if the purchase outside Oregon and transfer into Oregon was intended, in whole or in part, to avoid the CAT. Omitting the value of property purchased outside of Oregon and transferred into Oregon within one year of purchase will be considered a representation by the taxpayer that there was no intent to avoid the CAT. This is subject to review by the department.

Otherwise, the taxpayer should include as commercial activity on its CAT return the value of property transferred into Oregon within a year of the purchase outside Oregon.

A: Yes. The first CAT returns are due April 15, 2021. An extension of up to six months will be allowed to file a CAT return. An extension will be granted on the basis of good cause, which is defined as circumstances beyond a taxpayer’s control or if the taxpayer lacks the information needed to file an accurate CAT return. The extension of time to file should be requested in the form prescribed by the department on or before the due date of the return.

The extension form and instructions will be forthcoming.

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A: Motor vehicle dealers sell or transfer vehicles to other motor vehicle dealers for a variety of reasons. Receipts from the sale or transfer of a motor vehicle between two vehicle dealers are excluded from CAT, provided that the following requirements are met:

  1. The transfer is made for the purpose of resale by the transferee motor vehicle dealer; and
  2. The transfer is made based on the transferee motor vehicle dealer’s need to meet a specific customer’s preference.

Motor vehicle dealers who qualify to take the exclusion must retain a CAT resale certificate documenting that the applicable vehicle transfer meets these requirements. Any document may serve as a resale certificate, provided it contains all of the following information:

  • Name, address, federal identification number, and dealer license number for both motor vehicle dealers involved in the trade.
  • A description of the vehicle including the vehicle identification number (VIN), serial number, or other identifying number, make, model, and year of the vehicle.
  • A statement, signed by the transferee motor vehicle dealer, their employee, or authorized representative, affirming that the vehicle described in the document was purchased or transferred for the purpose of resale and to meet a specific customer’s preference.

The Oregon Department of Revenue has provided a sample CAT resale certificate that motor vehicle dealers may use to document exempt dealer trades. Vehicle dealers are not required to use this form. Any form of documentation with the information listed above can be used as a dealer trade resale certificate for CAT.

Do not submit the certificate to the Oregon Department of Revenue unless requested.

​​A: The laws establishing the CAT (Oregon Laws 2019, chapters 122 and 579) do not prohibit any business from recovering a business expense when setting the total price for the sale, lease, or license of an item or the sale of a service. The CAT is imposed on the entity doing business in Oregon and is considered part of the business’ expenses. A business may include the CAT with other business expenses when setting the total price charged to customers. However, the total price charged (including any amount estimated to be attributable to the CAT) is included in the business’ commercial activity.
A: The Oregon Department of Revenue does not provide guidance on how businesses may estimate the amount of CAT attributable to a specific transaction. Businesses should confer with their own legal advisers or tax professionals.
A: Cost inputs are defined as cost of goods sold as calculated in arriving at federal taxable income under the Internal Revenue Code. Taxpayers can refer to IRS Publication 538, Accounting Periods and Methods, for more information.

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Contact us

For general questions about the CAT, email Cat.help.dor@oregon.gov.
To provide rule input, email Catrules.dor@oregon.gov.
Phone: 503-945-8005.

Quick li​nks

Register for CAT

Administrative rules

12 CAT administrative rules have been filed with the Oregon Secretary of State. Visit our administrative rule notices webpage for more information.

Draft rules