Starting an Iowa LLC
An Iowa LLC is a legal business structure that protects your assets (like your home, car, and bank account) in case your company gets attacked.
An LLC can be used to run a business or hold your assets, like real estate, cars, boats, and planes.
A. Iowa LLC Name:
Before you form an LLC in Iowa, you need to make sure that the Iowa LLC name you want to use is available.
The name of your Iowa LLC must be different from the names of all other Iowa companies. That also means it can’t be “confusingly similar” to the name of any other business.
Iowa LLC Name Lookup: Business Entities: Secretary of State Search
Designator: Your LLC’s name must end with the right kind of designator. Iowa law lets these things happen in the end:
* LLC (most popular)
* “Limited Liability Company
* Liability Company
* ” “Ltd. Liability Co.
- Iowa Registered Agent
On your LLC file, you have to list an Iowa Registered Agent. This is required by the Secretary of State. A Registered Agent is a fancy term for a person or company that will get court mail if your LLC is sued. The Secretary of State’s office will also send some official papers and letters to the Registered Agent.
Your LLC’s Registered Agent can be any Iowa citizen with a street address, or you can hire a professional company called a Commercial Registered Agent. No matter what, the Registered Agent’s address must be a street address in Iowa. If you use a PO Box address, your LLC application will be turned down.
Iowa LLC’s Registered Agent:
- you can act as your own Registered Agent. You have to live in the state and have an address there.
- Ask a friend or family member to be the Registered Agent for your LLC. They have to agree to it, live in the state legally, and have an address there.
- You could hire a Commercial Registered Agent.
C. Organisational Certificate
Iowa Form LLC: The Iowa Certificate of Organisation is the official form that an LLC needs to file in Iowa. Most states have forms that people can use to file, but Iowa doesn’t. But don’t worry; you can download our Certificate of Organisation (PDF) form, which meets the legal standards for an Iowa LLC.
The Iowa Secretary of State charges $50 to set up an LLC.
Learn more about fees by looking at LLC Costs in Iowa.
How to file as an LLC: In Iowa, you can set up an LLC by mail or online. We suggest filing online because it takes a lot less time to get approved.
Mail in your Iowa LLC paperwork:
Secretary of State
321 E. 12th Street
1st Floor, Lucas Building
Online LLC formation in Iowa:
Scan your Certificate of Organisation and send it. Fill out the form.
Iowa LLC approval times: Mail-in forms are approved in 7–10 work days, plus the time it takes to get there. The approval process for online filings takes one workday.
If you send in your paperwork by mail, the state will send these papers to your Registered Agent’s address. If you filed online, the Acknowledgement Letter and accepted copy of your Certificate of Organisation will be sent to you by email. When you file, you can print the ticket from the FastTrack system.
D. LLC Operating Agreement
In an Iowa LLC Operating Agreement, you list the owners of your business (called “members”) and how much they own of the business. You can have just one member who owns everything, or you can have more than one person and divide ownership however you want.
There are no rules about how to divide stock in an Iowa LLC with more than one member. You’ll talk about it among yourselves and decide.
The LLC’s Operating Agreement will also explain how the LLC is taxed, how the business is run, and how gains are split.
Even if your LLC only has one person (called a “single-member LLC”), you should still have an Operating Agreement. This helps protect your personal property if you get sued.
Your Operating Agreement does not need to be sent to the Iowa Secretary of State or any other organization. It’s a private document, which means you keep it with your business records and give a copy to each member if that’s what you need to do.
E. Federal Tax ID Number (EIN)
An LLC in Iowa needs to get an EIN Number from the IRS. This number is used to identify your company, mostly for tax reasons, like a social security number.
An EIN Number is also called an Employer Identification Number, Federal Tax ID Number, FEIN, Federal Tax Number, or Federal Employer ID Number.
When you open a business checking account for your LLC, you will also need your EIN Number. You’ll also use this number to pay payroll taxes if you have workers.
Wait for approval of the LLC: Wait until the Iowa Secretary of State approves your LLC before you ask for an EIN from the IRS. Getting an EIN before the LLC is accepted is a mistake that a lot of people make.
EINs cost nothing ($0): An EIN doesn’t cost anything because the IRS gives them away for free.
Getting an EIN: You can get an EIN for your LLC in 3 ways. Form SS-4 can be filled out and sent by mail, fax, or online to the IRS.
Approval times: By mail, it takes four weeks to get an EIN. It takes four working days by fax. And online takes 10-15 minutes.
Form SS-4: Get it here from the IRS. Only needed if you mail or fax in your form.
The Internal Revenue Service’s mailing address is EIN Operation, Cincinnati, OH 45999.
(Yes, you don’t need a street address. That’s how big the IRS is. They have their own address.
Fax number: 855-641-6935
How to apply online: Use the IRS’s online application to get an EIN. Most people should use the online application.
Not got a social security number? (non-US resident): If that’s the case, you can’t get your EIN online. You’ll have to send Form SS-4 by mail or fax instead. (See our step-by-step guide on how to apply for an EIN without an SSN or ITIN). On line 7b, where it says “Social Security Number,” write “Foreign” instead. This will be acceptable.
F. Iowa LLC Biennial Report
All LLCs in Iowa have to file an Iowa LLC Biennial Report every two years. This is a requirement that must be met every two years.
Again, this report must be filed by all LLCs, even if they don’t do any business or make any money.
Iowa Biennial Report due date: Due from January 1 to April 1 of the first year with an odd number after the LLC was formed. We suggest filing soon after the new year so you can get it over with and avoid any fees.
Ongoing Biennial Reports: Due every two years on odd-numbered years.
if you started your LLC in 2021 or 2022, your first Biennial Report due between January 1 and April 1 of 2023. Your next Biannual Report is due in 2025, and so on.
The fee for filing the Biennial Report online is $30.
Filing method plus recommendation: You can file online or by mail. We suggest going online because it’s easier and cheaper.
Report every two years by mail: You will get a green postcard from the state to remind you. You’ll need to use the Corporation Number and the Temporary Code, and then you can print your Biennial Report from their website:Iowa Fast Track, said the Secretary of State Filing
Secretary of State
1st Floor, 321 E. 12th Street
IA 50319 (mailing address)
Report every two years online: Iowa Mr. Secretary of State: Quick Track Fee for filing late: If you don’t file your Biennial Report by April 1, your LLC will have “Delinquent” status. If you keep ignoring this rule (and still don’t file by August 8), the state will dissolve your LLC administratively.
G. Licences or permits for running a business
Check to see if your business needs an Iowa Business Licence. Whether or not your Iowa LLC needs business licenses and/or permits depends on where your business is based and what industry it is in.
You’ll need to call the city, town, or county where your LLC is based and the government agencies that regulate the industry your LLC is in to find out what your LLC’s requirements are.
Tip: Hiring a pro will save you time. We suggest that you pay $99 to have IncFile do the study for you on the business license.
H. Iowa Taxes
Iowa LLC Taxes are different for every small business, but we can give you a general idea of what you need to do.
LLCs in Iowa are taxed in a way called “pass through” at the federal level. This means that any income or loses from the LLC will “flow through” to your own 1040 federal tax return & be reported on Schedule
State and local taxes in Iowa are: After your LLC is approved by the Iowa Secretary of State, you’ll need to sign up with the Iowa Department of Revenue. Local taxes will also require you to register your LLC. (for example, in your city, township, county, or other local government).
Recommendation: For the above steps, you should hire an accountant because taxes are difficult, and getting them wrong can hurt your LLC. Please read our tips on how to find an accountant or try out Thumbtack.
I. Bank Account for LLC
To keep the liability shield of your LLC: After your Iowa LLC is accepted, you’ll needto get your LLC a separate business bank account. Make sure that the name of the LLC is on the business account, not your own name. You will just be mentioned as an “authorized signatory” on the account.
You will need: Bring in an accepted copy of your Iowa Certificate of Organisation, an EIN Letter from the IRS, and your driver’s license or passport to open an LLC bank account. Calling the bank ahead of time to see if they need anything else is a good idea.
Why do you need a different account? It’s important to keep your business finances separate from your personal finances for two reasons: (1) you won’t mix your assets, which reduces your personal responsibility, and (2) it’s easier to For tax and accounting reasons, you should keep track of your money.
Shop for free checking accounts for your business: A lot of banks charge regular fees for business checking accounts, so call at least five banks in your area. There are always a few that don’t have fees every month.
When you open the account, the bank will give you a debit card.
You can also get a credit card for your business to earn points, miles, and other benefits.
J. Business Phone Number:
Instead of using your home phone number or your cell phone, you can buy a “virtual business number” for your Iowa LLC at a reasonable price. This virtual business phone can be set up to forward to your cell phone, use voice prompts, or be set up in any way you want.
We suggest that you use Phone.com because they have the best customer service and the cheapest plans.
They have both local phone numbers and 1-800 lines that are free to call. Call forwarding, pre-recorded prompts, and email sending are all easy to set up. of voicemail notes.
Getting a different business phone number for your Iowa LLC is also a good idea if you don’t want “public record” websites to be able to see your real number.
Iowa’s State Government
The Iowa Secretary of State (Iowa Business Services) can be reached at 515-281-5204.
Monday-Friday, 8 am-4:30 pm firstname.lastname@example.org
Call 515-281-3114 or 800-367-3388 to reach the Iowa Department of Revenue.
8:00 am – 4:15 pm and Monday – Friday)
Call or go to the Iowa Department of Revenue