Start a Business in Iowa
Starting a business in Iowa is easy. All you need to do is file a few forms with the Iowa Secretary of State and start running your business. Below, we show you how to get started and walk you through some of your options.
One option is, of course, to stop reading and just hire us to start your business for you. At Northwest, we form businesses and provide registered agent service throughout the US. That’s our business, and obviously we recommend starting your business in a certain way. We call it “Starting a Business the Right Way."
Starting your business the right way means hiring a registered agent to form your LLC or corporation so you can protect your privacy and receive the care your business needs to stay active. If you hire us to start your Iowa business, we’ll be your registered agent, provide Privacy by Default®, a business address, mail forwarding and local Corporate Guide® service for life.
How to Start a Business in Iowa
You file Articles of Incorporation for an Iowa corporation or Certificate of Organization for an Iowa LLC with the IA Secretary of State.
You obtain a federal tax ID number (FEIN or EIN) with the IRS after you have confirmation and filed articles from the State of Iowa showing your approved Iowa business.
Opening a business banking account under your new Iowa business name should be easy with these two items.
If you’re going to have employees or need to withhold sales tax, you will probably need to register with the IA Iowa Department of Revenue and Finance and Iowa Workforce Development. We provide all these links in your online account.
If your business trade requires a license, you’ll have to apply for a license with the Iowa licensing board. (Most businesses don’t.) But if you do, these quick links and contact details are in your online account.
Some local cities or counties have a general license, but most don’t.
You obtain a local trade license if the city or county you’re going to be working in requires it.
If you’re going to have an office or shop you might need an approval from the city zoning for your type of business in that location.
If you get overwhelmed, just get your business pulling in money and worry about regulations later.
Are You A Do-It-Yourselfer? You Can Save Some Money:
If you want to start a business in Iowa yourself, you can just hire us as your Iowa registered agent, and you’ll instantly have the Iowa LLC or corporation forms to file along with filing instructions on the quickest, cheapest, and most efficient way to incorporate an Iowa corporation or form a Iowa LLC. You’ll get the ongoing support of our online tools, reminders and the support of a professional Iowa registered agent service.START YOUR IOWA BUSINESS TODAY
Iowa LLC vs Corporations
Small business owners often prefer LLCs because they have fewer annual requirements, offer flexible management, and have great tax options. Entrepreneurs seeking to build large companies often prefer corporations because having the ability to sell stock is key for attracting strong investors.
But, what about Iowa? Any pros and cons for an Iowa LLC vs an Iowa corporation?
Overall, there aren’t many significant advantages to starting an Iowa LLC versus an Iowa corporation. Both are required to file a biennial report ($45) and will have to pay a $50 filing fee upon initial formation. Neither entity is required to list the names or addresses of their internal governors—such as members or directors—on their formation documents. However, corporations must list the name/address of at least one officer/director on their biennial report—but LLCs don’t need to list member/manager information. So, in terms of privacy, LLCs have a slight edge.
During tax season, Iowa corporations typically get hit harder than LLCs. Although both tax rates (corporate and personal) are based on annual income, the rates for personal income are much friendlier for new/small businesses—starting at 0.36%. Iowa’s corporate tax rate begins at 6% and ends at 12%. Plus, C corporations will be taxed twice—first by the state, then through shareholder returns.
Unfortunately, Iowa LLCs aren’t given the same level of asset protection as LLCs in many other states. The state allows for creditors to have an extra remedy against any LLC owing them money. In addition to a charging order, someone could order a foreclosure. Definitely something to consider when starting an Iowa LLC.
If you want a corporation, you file Iowa Articles of Incorporation:
The Iowa Articles of Incorporation cost $50 with the Iowa Secretary of State.
We custom draft your Iowa Articles of Incorporation when you hire Northwest to start your Iowa business. The basic requirements of Iowa corporations are:
- The Iowa corporation must have a corporate ending such as INC, Incorporated, Corporation or a different variety.
- The Iowa corporation name must be different than already registered Iowa corporations.
- The number of shares the Iowa corporation is authorized to issue.
- The name and office address of the registered agent in Iowa.
- The name and address of each incorporator of the Iowa corporation.
- Optional provisions.
- The Iowa chairperson of the board of directors, its president, an officer, or the incorporator must sign and date the Articles of Incorporation.
- The address and title of the person executing the Articles of Incorporation.
Iowa does not require original signatures on new IA corporation filings. The filed articles will be mailed to the return address on the envelope. If you fax a document to the SOS they will faxed it back after filing.
Start Your Iowa Business!GET STARTED
If you want a LLC, you file Iowa Certificate of Organization:
- The business name must have a LLC ending or variation of it.
- The Iowa company name must be different than already registered Iowa companies.
- The street and mailing addresses of the initial registered office.
- The Iowa registered agent name and the physical address.
- Optional provisions.
- The Iowa organizer must sign and date.
Iowa does not require original signatures on new IA LLC filings. You’ll get the filed articles mailed back to you after the state approves your filing. If you fax, the SOS will fax your filing back to you.