How to Register an LLC in Iowa: A Step-by-Step Guide

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By: Michaela Dale Updated on: June 13, 2024

Starting your own LLC in Iowa? You’re in the right place. Our quick guide will walk you through picking an LLC name to filing your Certificate of Organization. Let’s get your Iowa LLC up and running without any fuss.

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Iowa LLC Quick Facts 

  • To register an LLC in Iowa, you need to file a Certificate of Organization with the Iowa Secretary of State.
  • The filing fee for registering an LLC in Iowa is $50.
  • After filing the Certificate of Organization, you will need to obtain an EIN.
  • Within 60 days of formation, you must file your Initial Report with the Iowa Secretary of State.

6 Steps to Registering an LLC in Iowa

Ready to form an LLC in Iowa? Here are the six steps you need to take to register your business. 

To register an LLC in Iowa, follow these 6 steps:

  1. Name Your Iowa LLC 
  2. Appoint a Registered Agent
  3. File the Certificate of Organization
  4. Create an Operating Agreement
  5. Obtain an EIN and Manage Taxes
  6. File Beneficial Ownership Information Report

Step 1: Name Your Iowa LLC 

The first step to forming an LLC in Iowa is choosing a name for your business. 

Iowa business names must meet the following criteria:

  • Must include Limited Liability Company, LLC, or Limited Company
  • Must be distinguishable from any other business entity in the state
  • Cannot include terms that imply government affiliation or falsify your business’s purpose

For the full list of naming requirements for Iowa LLCs, review the state’s official LLC naming guidelines

To ensure your business name is unique, you will need to complete a business entity search on the Iowa Secretary of State website as well.

Your LLC name should have a corresponding domain. Secure the best domain name for your business today with GoDaddy. 

Step 2: Appoint a Registered Agent 

When registering an LLC in Iowa, you are required to appoint a registered agent for your business. A registered agent is an individual or business entity that is responsible for receiving important information and legal documents on behalf of your LLC. 

In Iowa, registered agents must meet the following requirements:

  • Be a full-time resident of Iowa or a business entity authorized to do business in the state
  • Have a physical street address in Iowa where they can receive legal documents during regular business hours
  • Cannot be the LLC itself but can be an LLC owner or employee

Who Can Serve as a Registered Agent in Iowa?

A registered agent can be the LLC owner, an employee of the company, a family member, or a friend. Alternatively, you can choose to hire a registered agent service to fulfill this role.

Step 3: File Your Certificate of Organization 

To register your LLC in Iowa, you are required to file a Certificate of Organization with the Iowa Secretary of State.

This filing can be completed online through the Iowa Secretary of State website or by drafting your own Certificate of Organization following these requirements and submitting either by mail or in person.

The filing fee is $50

We recommend having the following details prepared:

  • Name and contact information of the LLC’s primary contact person
  • Your LLC name, principal address, and business purpose 
  • Name and address of the registered agent for service of process
  • Management structure of your LLC (member-managed vs. manager-managed)
  • Your LLC’s duration 

Quick Note: If your LLC is already established in another state, you will need to register as a Foreign LLC in Iowa. This process can also be completed online or by submitting a Foreign Registration Statement by mail or in person. The filing fee is $100. 

Step 4: Create an Operating Agreement 

In Iowa, creating an operating agreement for your LLC is crucial for outlining internal procedures and ownership details of the company. This document helps keep LLC members in alignment and can prevent future conflicts. 

While an operating agreement isn’t required in Iowa, it is a helpful document to keep your LLC members informed and aligned. 

Step 5: Obtain an EIN and Manage Taxes

Once you have successfully filed your Articles of Organization with the Iowa Secretary of State and received your Certificate of Organization, the next step is to obtain an Employer Identification Number (EIN) for your Iowa LLC. 

An EIN is a unique nine-digit number assigned by the IRS for tax reporting purposes. This number is essential for taxes, hiring employees, and opening a business bank account. 

You can obtain your EIN for free on the IRS website.

Additionally, as a business owner in Iowa, you must ensure that you are meeting all of your tax obligations. Be sure to identify any additional tax requirements for your business by visiting the Iowa Department of Revenue website.

Step 6: File a Beneficial Ownership Information Report 

LLCs in Iowa are required to file a Beneficial Ownership Information (BOI) Report with the US Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN). 

New LLCs must file this report within 90 days of formation, while existing LLCs must complete the filing between January 1st, 2024, and January 1st, 2025. 

Failure to do so may lead to fines of $500 per day.

Filing can be done online for free on the FinCEN website.

Next Steps

After registering your Iowa LLC, it’s important to take the following steps:

  • Open a business bank account to separate and protect your personal assets. Lili Banking and Accounting Services makes it easy to sign up for a business bank account in minutes and gain access to financial tools to support your business. 

Lili is a financial technology company, not a bank. Banking services provided by Sunrise Banks N.A., Member FDIC.

  • Obtain any licenses and permits required by the state of Iowa or at the federal level. 
  • File a biennial report with the Iowa Secretary of State Fast Track Filing Portal every two years to maintain your LLC’s active status.
  • Get business insurance for your LLC such as general liability insurance, workers’ compensation, and personal liability insurance. NEXT Insurance makes it easy to get affordable, flexible insurance coverage for your business. 

Additional Tips for Success

  • Build a strong network: Connecting with other entrepreneurs, mentors, advisors, and industry leaders can provide valuable support and opportunities for your business.
  • Keep track of your compliance requirements: Iowa has specific reporting and fee requirements that must be followed to keep your business in good standing with the state.
  • Plan for the future: Mapping out the goals and aspirations of your company can help guide your decisions and ensure you are on track to achieve important milestones. 

Conclusion 

Starting an LLC in Iowa is a straightforward process that can be done in a matter of steps. However, you should be diligent in making sure you’re completing all the requirements set by the state. By completing these steps, you can start your LLC in Iowa and begin operating your business successfully.