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Start a Business in Iowa

Corporate Compliance by Local Corporate Guides®

Starting a business in Iowa can and should be easier than you think. You file simple forms with the secretary of state, and your business is formed! Obviously there’s a few more things than that, but if you’d like to start your own business yourself, you will find it easy to hire us as your registered agent and you’ll find all the forms you could file to start a business in Iowa, along with great filing instructions on the quickest and cheapest ways to start your business in Iowa.

Corporate Guides

Our Corporate Guides® are Iowa incorporation experts. We will provide you:

  • Filed Iowa Articles
  • Iowa Corporate Bylaws
  • IA shareholder resolutions
  • IA corporate stock certificates

Here For You

We provide extra privacy for you with our address. You get ongoing support:

  • We’ll be your registered agent
  • IA corporate renewal reminders
  • Online corporate tools
  • Talk to a Corporate Guide® anytime

Start Your Iowa Business

$225 + State Fees
Rated 4.7 / 5 stars by 123 clients on Google

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.

Federal Tax ID

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.

Bank Account

Opening a business banking account under your new Iowa business name should be easy with these two items.

Department of Revenue

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.

Trade License

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.

Local License

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.

Get Going

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.


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!

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If you want a LLC, you file Iowa Certificate of Organization:

To form an Iowa LLC, you file an Iowa Certificate of Organization and pay the $50 fee. The basic requirements of Iowa LLC filings are:

  • 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.

Corporate Compliance
by Local Corporate Guides®