On September 8, 2011, the Oregon Court of Appeals in Proctor v. City of Portland held that the City of Portland does not have the right to assess an income tax against Portland-area real estate agents of a principal real estate broker.

It turns out that the Oregon legislature clear back in 1987 passed a law that prohibited cities from levying a tax on real estate agents. So Portland stopped taxing under its then-Business License Law.

In 2008 Portland amended the Business License Law, substituting the term “tax” for “fee” and making other changes. It then again started taxing real estate agents. The agents cried foul, and the court of appeals agreed. It said that the changes from “fee” to “tax” and other changes were “immaterial” and “cosmetic” and that the 1987 prohibition on taxing agents stood.