How to Start an LLC in Iowa

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LLC in IA: You can form your LLC in Iowa by following 7 simple and straightforward steps.

An LLC in Iowa basically links an organization’s limited liability with the pliability and shortage of formalities. All these are offered by any sole proprietorship or association.

We would recommend setting up an LLC in IA for any entrepreneur whose objective is to restrict liability for professional lawsuits and debts.

Tip of the Day: Iowa LLC formation by yourself is mostly hectic and time taking. Hiring a reliable LLC formation service is not only a good choice, but saves you from overspending. Therefore we recommend you to:


Now, what is an LLC? A Limited Liability Company (LLC) unites the best of partnerships, sole ownerships, and corporations into one organizational entity providing full protection against liabilities, tax incentives or flexible business structures, etc.

It only costs almost 50 USD to initiate an LLC in Iowa.

All you’ve to do is to submit a certificate of your new business to the State Minister. An entrepreneur can either apply online, drop a mail, or visit the office in person to build a new LLC.

In this article, we will explain the LLC formation method in Iowa. So let’s get started!

Outlining the LLC Formation Process
(7 Steps)

  1. Pick a Name for Your Iowa LLC
  2. Find a Registered Agent for Your LLC
  3. Submit the Articles of Organization
  4. Establish an LLC Operating Agreement
  5. Follow the Tax and Other Administrative Requirements
  6. Fulfill Your State Tax Commitments
  7. Submit Annual Reports

Next, we are going to discuss the steps one by one to make to clear for all of the viewers and new entrepreneurs.

Step One

#1: Pick an LLC Name

The first and foremost part of building an LLC in IA is to pick up the right company name. Try to select a name that corresponds to Iowa standards and is conveniently accessed by prospective customers.

What Instructions Should Be Followed While Naming an LLC?

  • Every business owner should include “Limited Liability Company” to his new company or the abbreviation of it, LLC.
  • Avoid using words that can mystify your LLC name with the government agencies, such as State Organizations, Treasury, FBI, etc.
  • Make sure to choose a unique name from other corporations, Iowa LLCs, or limited liability parties.
  • If you want to fit in a few confined words like an attorney, bank, university, etc., it might demand hiring a licensed lawyer or doctor for additional documentation.

The next step is to verify access to your chosen name in Iowa. Make sure if the name is still available or utilized by another entity.

You can visit Iowa’s official state website to check on Business Registry Search. Furthermore, one can also generate a name through an LLC Name Generator online.

Step Two

#2: Find a Registered Agent

Another vital step is to find a reliable Registered Agent to form an LLC in IA.

How do you define a registered agent? He is an official entity or an agent hired for attending your organization’s tax data, lawsuit notices, legitimate paperwork, and government issues with your company, etc.

There are some limitations when choosing a registered agent in Iowa. The person should be an Iowa inhabitant who would be able to perform your business tasks from within the state.

You may also nominate yourself for the official documentation, but we personally recommend going for ZenBusiness. Besides offering a free first year of their registered agent services, the company will form your Iowa LLC only for $0 plus the state filing fees.

Step Three

#3 File Certificate of Organization

During the formation of an LLC in IA, it’s crucial to submit your IA articles of organization linked with the Secretary of State. A general article should cover the following:

  1. Name and web address of your LLC’s planner
  2. The official name and address of Iowa LLC
  3. Details of your LLCs registered entity
  4. Details of your company members
  5. The official LLC emails
  6. Entrepreneur’s signature

To file your certificate of organization online you need to complete the online application at the Iowa secretary of state’s website. You can also download the certificate of organization form and send it to the following address by mail or in person:

Mailing Address:
Lucas State Office Building,
321 E 12th St,
Des Moines, IA 50319.

DIY Cost of Forming an LLC in Iowa ($50)

The main LLC formation cost through the DIY route is the state filing fee of your Certificates of Organization. Currently, the state of Iowa charges you $50 for filing your LLC and it may be subjected to revision by the state. The filing fee for articles of organization is the same, regardless you submit them online or through the mail.

Step Four

#4: Establish an LLC Operating Agreement

An LLC operating agreement is constitutional paperwork that sketches the rules and regulations for a new company and also outlines the entrepreneur’s operating procedures to form a new LLC in IA.

Although not necessary, creating an operating agreement will benefit a company for sure.

This legal agreement guarantees all entrepreneurs remain in the same boat, which ultimately lessens further business clashes.

If you do not have an in-house team of lawyers or any attorney on board, do not worry. Many cheap incorporation websites offer a full range of LLC-related services including operating agreement templates. You can subscribe to their full LLC package or opt for this standalone service.

Step Five

#5: Follow the Similar Tax and Other Administrative Requirements

A few extra taxes and other administrative requirements might implement to your new LLC that includes:

Employer Identification Number – It is just like a Social Security Number, so if your company has more than one employee, you can get this EIN by paying extra. This nine-digit code will check into your tax issues and assist you in creating a new bank account, hiring new staff, etc. One can submit an online form at the IRS website to get an EIN for his company.

Official Licenses – Sometimes, your new LLC in Iowa might demand official state licenses or other approvals, depending on the business type and its location. So, there are Economic Resource Units in Iowa leading you to authorities to guarantee proper licensing, registration, or permissions within the state.

Step Six

#6: Fulfill Your State Tax Commitments

After getting an Iowa LLC, there are several responsibilities of a business entity that should be fulfilled. For instance, in a few cases, one has to check with the Iowa Department of Revenue (IDOR) for selling products or assembling sales tax, etc.

For your convenience, IDOR has an online platform, so you can register yourself from there through Business Taxes Registration Application. For more information, you can review detailed LLC articles on our website.

Step Seven

#7: Responsibly Submit Annual Reports

All limited liability companies in Iowa, after their creation, are obliged to submit their annual (or biennial) reports. For more details on how to file an annual report or state-specific fee, read our article on LLC annual (or biennial) report.

Due Date: In Iowa, you need to submit your biennial report with $45 online or $60 by mail as a processing fee due between January 1 and April 1 every second year.

Late Filings: In case you are unable to submit the required biennial report before the due date, it will place your LLC in “Delinquent” status with the state. Further failure to file a biennial report may result in the dissolution of your LLC in Iowa.

Additional Information on Forming an LLC in Iowa 

Register a Foreign LLC in Iowa 

Entrepreneurs often form an LLC in a state other than the state of their residence to have some tax benefits and reduce LLC formation costs. Moreover, some business owners have their LLC franchises in multiple states. In such cases, they register their LLCs or franchises as foreign LLCs in all states where they operate their business.

If you have an LLC in any other state and wish to open a franchise in Iowa or want to form an LLC in Iowa while you are a non-Iowa resident, you can form a foreign LLC by downloading a foreign LLC application and mailing it to the Iowa Secretary of State Business Services Division, Lucas Building, 1st Floor, Des Moines, IA 50319. 

Iowa Foreign LLC Filing Fee: ($100 – nonrefundable)

Hiring Employees in Iowa 

To run your business in a compliant manner, you have to follow the State of Iowa Workforce Development website guidelines while hiring employees for your existing business or new LLC. Some of the major points are stated below;

  • Verify the employment status of individuals, such as whether the potential employee is a US resident; if not then are they permitted to work in the US, are they of a certain age to work for that particular job, etc
  • Report new hiring to the state
  • File quarterly reports on wages and taxes
  • Report job refusal 

Acquire Relevant Business Licenses and Permits to Operate in Iowa 

To successfully operate your LLC in Iowa, you must acquire permits and license to comply with federal, state, and local government regulations. For instance, to operate a pest control business, you need to acquire a license from the department of agriculture and fulfill the state’s certification requirement, etc.

The requirements and fees for business licenses and permits vary from state to state. Work thoroughly on prerequisites and compliance-related information for your business before officially filing your LLC with the state. However, the following resources may help;  

Obtaining a Certificate of Good Standing in Iowa  ($5 – nonrefundable)

A Certificate of Good Standing, aka Certificate of Compliance in Iowa, verifies that your LLC has been legally formed and is being operated and maintained in a compliant fashion. This document is needed for;

  • Filing your business as a foreign LLC 
  • Seeking funding and investments from banks or other people
  • Acquiring or renewing relevant business licenses or permits

You can request the certificate of existence online from Iowa’s Secretary of State’s official website.

Dissolving Your LLC in Iowa 

In case you no longer wish to continue your LLC in Iowa at any point in the future, you must officially dissolve it; otherwise, you may face tax liabilities, penalties, and legal troubles. In Iowa, you can dissolve your LLC by following 3 basic steps:

  • Comply with your LLC operating agreement
  • Close all business tax accounts
  • You can hire the best LLC services to make the LLC dissolution process seamless and easy for you. If you want to file yourself, follow the Iowa LLC Dissolution guide.

Iowa state LLC Dissolution Fee: ($5 – nonrefundable)

Final Verdict

We hope this article has helped you in every aspect of forming an LLC in Iowa. If you still have any questions or confusion, please ask in the comment section.

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