How To Form an LLC In Iowa

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1. Choose a Name for Your Iowa Limited Liability Company

Check for an Available Name for the LLC in Iowa: If you are preparing to form an LLC in Iowa, you should take care to choose a unique name for your company. This means that you need to search online databases and other records to make sure that the name that you want to use for your LLC is available and not in use by another LLC in Iowa. You can start by searching the online database of business entities that is available on the official website of the Iowa Secretary of State at Iowa LLC.

Reserve a Name for Your Iowa LLC: If you want to reserve a name before you file to form your LLC, you can submit a name reservation application to the Iowa Secretary of State. However, reserving a name is not required. If you decide to reserve a name, you will be able to find the name reservation application form online at Iowa LLC. The name that you submit will be reserved in the state of Iowa for 120 days. The fee to file this application is $10.00.

Filing for Trademarks Protection and Doing an LLC Name Search: Your search of databases and other records in Iowa may reveal that the name that you want to use for your LLC is available in Iowa but in use by a company in another state. You could encounter restrictions on how you use the name that you have chosen for your LLC. If you would like to learn more about how to choose a name for your LLC, go to how to choose a name for your llc.   

Iowa LLC Name Requirements: When considering names for your LLC, remember that in Iowa the name of your LLC must include the designation "LLC," “L.L.C.,” or "Limited Liability Company." Keep in mind that the term “LLC” stands for “Limited Liability Company,” and not “LLC Corporation, “Limited Liability Corporation,” or anything that is related to a corporation. LLCs are set up and governed differently than corporations.

2. Find a Registered Agent in Iowa

If you are preparing to form an Iowa LLC, you need to select a registered agent that will act as an agent for service of process for your LLC. The registered agent that you indicate in your Certificate of Organization will receive all tax documents, legal notices, and other official notices for your LLC. There are corporate service companies that offer registered agent services to LLCs. Corporate service companies usually charge a fee of between about $75.00 and $150.00 for this type of service.

3. File a Certificate of Organization with the Iowa Secretary of State

Minimum Requirements for the Certificate of Organization: The Certificate of Organization that you file for your Iowa LLC will need to contain the name of your LLC, the address of your initial registered office, and the name and address of your registered agent. The organizer should sign the Certificate of Organization before submitting the document. There is no official form for a Certificate of Organization provided by the state of Iowa, but you can find the legal guidelines for creating this document online at Iowa LLC.

Other Iowa Legal Provisions: When you create a Certificate of Organization for your LLC, you should think about including additional clauses along with the minimum requirements. A lawyer will be able to help you include clauses that are most important for your company.

Where to Submit the Certificate of Organization for Filing: You should submit your Certificate of Organization to the Secretary of State, Business Services Division, Lucas Building, 1st Floor, Des Moines, Iowa 50319.

Filing Fee: The fee to file a Certificate of Organization in Iowa is $50.00.

4. Form an Iowa Limited Liability Company Agreement (Operating Agreement)

Once you have formed your Iowa LLC by filing a Certificate of Organization, you will need to create an LLC Agreement. Your LLC Agreement will govern all aspects of your LLC as well as actions between the members of the LLC. The LLC Agreement must be signed by each member. The details of your LLC Agreement will depend on factors such as how many people are involved, how much money is being invested, how the money will be distributed, and whether the company will be managed by a manager or by the members of the LLC. Consider also what the purpose of your LLC is. An LLC that will operate a retail store may have different requirements in an LLC Agreement than an LLC that will own and develop real estate. You should consult a lawyer and an accountant when you create your LLC Agreement so that you can be sure that you comply with all state requirements and federal tax laws. 

Once you have formed your Iowa LLC, you will also need to prepare to take actions such as making securities filings, obtaining an EIN from the IRS, and obtaining a business license in the locale where you will be conducting business. There are corporate services companies that can make these kinds of filings for your LLC and obtain form documents for a fee. You can find out how to get a business license in your city through our online guide at

5.  Qualify your Iowa LLC to Do Business in Other States

You will need to find out how to register or qualify your LLC to do business in your home state if your main office will be located outside the state of Iowa.  In most states, LLCs are required to register or qualify in order to do business. You will most likely need to pay taxes in your home state when you do business in other states. You can learn about how to qualify your LLC to do business in other states at [Qualifying to Do Business in Other States].

6. Make Annual Filings and Pay Annual Taxes in Iowa

The state of Iowa requires that all LLCs file a biennial report. You can file this report online at Iowa LLC. The filing fee is $45.00. You will also need to file a tax report and pay taxes every year once you have registered your LLC in the state of Iowa. You can visit the official website of the Iowa Department of Revenue at Iowa LLC to learn more about the taxes that apply to LLCs and to download tax forms.

It can be a complicated process to form an LLC, especially if several people are involved. Consult an accountant and an attorney during the process so that you can feel confident that an LLC is right for your company and that all your paperwork will be processed correctly.

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This site is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal, financial or tax advise. The information on this site should not be relied upon as an official source of information and should be independently verified.


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