How to Start a Corporation in Iowa
To start an Iowa corporation, you must file Articles of Incorporation with the Secretary of State and pay a $50 filing fee. While this filing creates your business, it’s really just the first step to launching your Iowa corporation. The complete steps to incorporating in Iowa are as follows:
- File Iowa Articles of Incorporation
- Pay the Secretary of State $50
- Wait to receive your approved copy of your Articles of Incorporation
- Get a federal tax ID (EIN) for the corporation
- Create Iowa corporate bylaws
- Take these documents to the bank and get an Iowa corporate bank account
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Iowa Articles of Incorporation requirements. When you're done creating your document, submit it to your state.
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1 Day Iowa Corporation For $275 Total
How to File Iowa Articles of IncorporationUnlike most states, Iowa doesn’t provide a form for your Articles of Incorporation—you have write them yourself (or hire us to prepare them for you). You are required to include some specific information about your Iowa corporation. At minimum, you’ll need to:
What is the Cost of an Iowa Corporation?
The Iowa Secretary of State charges a $50 filing fee to submit your Articles of Incorporation.
Hire Northwest, and your total, out-the-door cost is $275. This includes state filing fees, a full year of registered agent service, and all the corporate documents you need to open a business bank account.
How Much Does a Corporation in Iowa Cost Each Year?
Every other year, your Iowa corporation will shell out $45 online ($60 by mail) to file an Iowa Biennial Report.Get Started
What is an Iowa Biennial Report?
Your Iowa Biennial Report is basically how the state of Iowa keeps tabs on your business. On the report, you confirm or update your contact and ownership information. The report and $45 fee ($60 by mail) are due to the Iowa Secretary of State by April 1st of even numbered years. On one hand, it’s nice that you don’t have to file the report every year. On the other hand, two years is a long time—long enough to easily forget about this filing entirely. While there aren’t any late fees, if you’re more than a couple months late, the state can dissolve your corporation.
Northwest can help you ensure you remember your filings and stay compliant. When you hire us as your registered agent, we send you reminder notifications for your reports. Want to put your mind completely at ease? You can even hire us to file your Biennial Reports for your Iowa corporation, and just forget about this annoying task entirely.Get Started
What are the Taxes for an Iowa Corporation?
The Iowa corporate net income tax rates are:
6%: $0 to $25,000
8%: $25,001 to $100,000
10%: $100,001 to $250,000
12%: over $250,000
Most corporations pay the rates above, but some high-income corporations may be subject to Iowa’s Alternative Minimum Tax instead. Essentially, the AMT recalculates your taxable income base through a series of complex adjustments and then applies a tax rate of 7.2%. Corporations pay whichever is higher—the regular corporate income tax or the AMT.
State sales tax is 6%, but municipalities can add up to 1% more in local sales taxes, making the average total sales tax rate 6.862%.
Is a Registered Agent Required for an Iowa Corporation?
Yes. In your Articles of Incorporation, you’re required to include a few key pieces of information, including an Iowa registered agent and registered office. This doesn’t necessarily mean you have to hire anyone. You could always be your own registered agent—although listing your own name and address comes with a few drawbacks. Your Articles and other business entity filings are public documents, so any information you list becomes a hot commodity for data sellers. At best, you’ll end up with a mailbox full of junk. Registered agents also need to be available at the address listed during business hours. You have meetings to attend and errands to run—that can be tough to do when you’re stuck in the office.
A better option? Consider hiring a commercial registered agent service like Northwest. When you sign up for our services, you can use our address and information throughout your Articles of Incorporation. No need to worry about junk mail or unwanted visitors on your doorstep. We’ll also accept, scan and send you any service of process the same day. You can stay on top of your business, wherever you are—whether that’s in a board meeting or on a roller coaster at Adventureland.Get Started
Iowa Corporation Versus Iowa LLC:
Costs are pretty even for both Iowa corporations and LLCs. State filing fees are exactly the same: with either entity, you’ll pay $50 to form and $45 to file Biennial Reports online. Even tax costs can be comparable. While people often assume corporations pay more in taxes, tax obligations depend more on tax election than entity type. For example, both corporations and LLCs can elect to be taxed as S corporations, which would make their tax obligations the same.
Besides costs, there are plenty of other factors to consider as well. Whether a corporation or an LLC is a better fit depends largely on what you plan to do with your business. Corporations are often preferred for large businesses or those that hope to scale quickly. Their familiar, formal structure makes managing a large-scale operation easier. Their long legal history also means there’s plenty of court precedent to help guide corporate decision-making. Stocks also give corporations plenty of flexibility for attracting investors or raising capital. LLCs, on the other hand, often appeal to small businesses that value simplicity. Interested in an Iowa LLC? Here’s information on starting an LLC in Iowa.
Do I Need a Tax ID Number (EIN) for an Iowa Corporation?
Yes, the IRS requires corporations to obtain an EIN for their federal tax filings. Your EIN will come in handy for other things as well, particularly as you’re setting up your Iowa corporation. You’ll typically need your EIN to open a corporate bank account, apply for permits and licenses, or register for local taxes. You can get your EIN directly from the IRS for no fee.
Prefer to skip the extra paperwork? Hire Northwest to get your EIN for you. Just add on EIN service during checkout when you sign up for our formation services.
Does an Iowa Corporation Need a Business License?
Iowa doesn’t have a general statewide business license, and most cities and counties don’t either (although there are always a few exceptions—if you engage in any business in the City of Bettendorf, for example, you’ll need a general business license). Specific business activities (from tree-trimming to door-to-door sales) may require permits or licenses.
Iowa Articles of Incorporation Requirements
Create Your Own Articles
Iowa doesn’t have a standard form you can download for your Articles of Incorporation. Instead, you create your own Articles. (Or use a template. Or just let Northwest write your Articles for you.) At minimum, you’ll need to include your corporation’s name, number of authorized shares, registered agent, registered office, and incorporator.
Your name must include “Corporation,” “Incorporated,” “Company,” “Limited” or an abbreviation of one of these words. Tip: Most corporations keep it simple with “Corp” or “Inc.”
List how many shares you want to create. You have to create at least one. You can distribute some or all of these shares later on at your organizational meeting.
List the individual Iowa resident or business (but not your own) that you authorize to accept your corporation’s legal notices. Tip: Want expert, hassle-free registered agent service? Hire Northwest.
This is the Iowa street address where your registered agent will be regularly available to accept legal notifications. Like all the information in your Articles, this address will become part of the permanent public record of your Iowa corporation. Tip: Prefer to avoid the spam and solicitors that come with a publicly-listed address? List our address here when you hire Northwest as your registered agent.
Your incorporator is the person you authorize to sign and submit your Iowa Articles of Incorporation. The incorporator will need to include their name, address and signature. Your incorporator doesn’t have to be a director, officer, or anyone in your corporation. Tip: When you hire Northwest to form your Iowa corporation, we’ll be your incorporator.