How to file an Oregon state tax return

Morning fog hovers over downtown Portland, Oregon with Mt. Hood in the background. Image:

In a Nutshell

Oregonians may or may not share their home state with Bigfoot, but one thing they certainly are living with is a progressive tax code. With just four tax brackets and a slew of state-level tax credits and deductions, the Beaver State makes filing your Oregon state tax return — and lowering your tax bill — as easy as possible.

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This article was fact-checked by our editors and reviewed by Jennifer Samuel, senior product specialist for Credit Karma Tax®. It has been updated for the 2019 tax year.

Oregon can brag about being dotted with breweries, hosting a popular Shakespeare festival, having the only U.S. state flag with different images on each side and — possibly — being the home of Bigfoot.

And its residents can crow about having access to a slew of tax credits and deductions when it comes to filing Oregon state income tax returns. Here are some things to know about filing your personal income tax return in the Beaver State.



What are the basics of Oregon state taxes?

For the most part, Oregon mirrors the federal government in its deadlines, extensions and filing statuses. However, there are a few differences you should know before you file.

Taxing body

The Oregon Department of Revenue regulates the state’s taxes. If you have any tax-related questions, you can call 1-503-378-4988 or 1-800-356-4222 from 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Phone lines are closed, however, on holidays and from 9 to 11 a.m. Thursdays.

Alternatively, you can send an email to questions.dor@oregon.gov or visit one of the department’s regional offices.

Filing and payment deadline

Your Oregon state income tax return and any tax you owe are due on the same day as your federal tax return, typically April 15. If Tax Day falls on a weekend or holiday, you’ll have until the following business day to meet the deadline.

If you request an extension, you’ll have until Oct. 15 to file your Oregon state tax return.

If you live or work in Oregon for the full year or only part of the year, you may be required to file an Oregon income tax return if your gross income exceeds certain thresholds for your filing status. And if you’re in the military or are a Native American, you face different filing requirements.

Filing statuses

Your filing status on your Oregon state tax return should generally match your status on your federal return. One exception is that Oregon requires taxpayers in a registered domestic partnership in the state to file as a married couple, either jointly or separately and file their federal returns as single or head of household. If this applies to you, you can learn more here.

How filing status affects your taxes

Oregon income tax rates

The state has a progressive tax system with rates ranging from 5% to 9.9%. Here are the 2019 tax rates and tax bracket thresholds.

Tax rate Single or married filing separately Head of household, married filing jointly or qualifying widow(er) with child
5% $3,550 or less $7,100 or less
7% $3,551–$8,900 $7,101–$17,800
9% $8,901–$125,000 $17,801–$250,000
9.9% $125,001 or more $250,001 or more

 

This isn’t the total amount of tax you will pay. All brackets other than 5% will pay a set dollar amount in addition to the percentage of their income. Be sure to read the instructions that come with your Oregon state tax return to understand how much tax you’ll need to pay.

What are some Oregon deductions, subtractions and credits?

Oregon has a number of state-specific deductions, subtractions and credits for taxpayers who qualify.

Oregon standard deduction

You can choose to itemize your deductions or take the standard deduction for your filing status. For 2019, the standard deduction amounts are …

  • Single — $2,270
  • Head of household — $3,655
  • Married filing jointly — $4,545
  • Married filing separately — $2,270 (or $0 if your spouse itemizes their deductions)
  • Qualifying widow(er) — $4,545

Oregon credits and subtractions

Here are some the credits and subtractions that are available for 2019.

  • First-time homebuyer savings account subtraction — Starting with the 2019 tax year, if you put money into a designated first-time homebuyer savings account, or FTHBSA, during the tax year, you may be able to subtract that amount from your income for Oregon tax purposes. You must meet requirements for this subtraction, including income limits that affect how much you’re allowed to subtract. You can find more information about this new subtraction in Publication OR-17.
  • Working family household and dependent care credit — Designed for low- and moderate-income families, this refundable credit allows qualified taxpayers to claim a certain amount of qualifying household services or dependent care expenses. There is a cap on the amount of qualified expenses you can deduct, based on the number of qualifying dependents you claim, and you must meet several qualifications to claim this credit.
  • Oregon earned income tax credit — If you can claim the earned income tax credit on your federal return, you may also qualify for this one on your Oregon tax return. The amount of this refundable credit is 11% of your federal credit if you have a qualifying dependent younger than 3 at the end of the tax year. Otherwise, it’s 8% of your federal credit, if you qualify.
  • Mortgage interest credit subtraction — You may qualify if you claimed a mortgage interest credit on your federal tax return by itemizing on Schedule A, reduced your mortgage interest deduction by the mortgage interest credit, and are claiming these itemized deductions for Oregon.
  • Federal income tax liability subtraction. You can subtract your current year’s federal income tax liability after credits, but the amount is capped and is based on your income, filing status and income tax.
  • ABLE account deposit — You may be able to subtract up to $2,435 (or $4,865 if you file a joint return) of your contribution to a qualifying ABLE account, if the contribution is made before the designated beneficiary is 21 years old. These accounts are designed to help people with disabilities save for disability-related expenses without affecting their eligibility for government benefits.
What's the difference between a tax deduction and a tax credit?

How can I file an Oregon state tax return?

The state has limited options to allow you to e-file your tax return through its Department of Revenue site — its State Fillable Forms option is typically only available for full-year residents.

However, you can e-file Oregon state tax returns through software providers approved by the Department of Revenue, which may charge a filing fee. Included on the list of approved providers is Credit Karma Tax®, which is always free.

If you prefer paper, you can download your tax forms (look for the “Personal income” section) and file a paper return. Here’s where you can mail your Oregon state tax return.

If you expect a refund or don’t owe anything:

P.O. Box 14700
Salem, OR 97309-0930

If you owe a tax payment:

P.O. Box 14555
Salem, OR 97309-0940

What if I owe and can’t pay?

If you’re struggling to pay your tax bill, you can do it over time using Oregon’s payment plans of six to 12 months. Contact the Department of Revenue to set up a plan at 1-503-945-8200 or through its Revenue Online portal.

Keep in mind, though, you willl have to pay a late-payment or late-filing penalty if you don’t meet the state’s deadline. The late-payment penalty is 5% of your tax bill, which is charged even if you filed for an extension and didn’t pay by the due date. The late-filing penalty, which kicks in if you file more than three months after your due date, is 20% of your balance. And if you don’t file a return for three consecutive years by the due date of the third year, including extensions, the state will charge a whopping 100% penalty.

You’ll also be charged an annual interest rate until you pay your bill in full.

How can I track an Oregon tax refund?

If you’ve filed a return and want to know when you’re going to get your refund, you can use the department’s “Where’s My Refund?” tool to get an update.

To track your refund, you’ll need to input your Social Security number or individual taxpayer identification number, your filing status and the exact amount of your expected refund as shown on your return.


Bottom line

With just four tax rates, Oregon’s state income tax code is relatively simple. Plus plenty of credits and deductions are available to help filers save on their tax bills. It’s important to prepare and file your Oregon state tax return correctly and on time to avoid potential penalties and interest. As you fill out your forms, watch out for specific deductions and credits you may qualify for that can help reduce how much you owe or even increase your tax refund.


Jennifer Samuel, senior tax product specialist for Credit Karma Tax®, has more than a decade of experience in the tax preparation industry, including work as a tax analyst and tax preparation professional. She holds a bachelor’s degree in accounting from Saint Leo University. You can find her on LinkedIn.