Iowa LLC Formation Guide

This guide to setting up an LLC Iowa offers step-by–step instructions for filing paperwork, obtaining tax IDs, as well as how to set up company records.


LLCs are the most common business structure. They are cost-effective, flexible, and easy to operate. The legal formation of an LLC allows you to establish your business, limit your personal liability, and gives you tax flexibility. You will find the steps below helpful as you complete this process.

Step-by-Step Iowa LLC Instructions

  1. Check Name Availability

    Your LLC’s legal title may not conflict or be used in conjunction with another registered name. Conduct a name look to verify availability.

    Name Search Iowa Secretary to State

    Name searching

    Name Reservation Optional
    Suffix: Limited liability companies must be named with the words “limited liability” or “limited company”, or the abbreviation L.L.C. (LLC), “L.C.” and/or “LC”. “Limited” could be abbreviated “Ltd.” while “company” might be abbreviated “Co.”

    Iowa Code SS489.108

  2. Designate a Registered Agent

    Before you can officially file to form your Iowa LLC you need to determine who your Iowa registered representative will be. A registered agent allows a business to be notified of legal and government notices.

    A registered agent is required by law in every state. You can designate the registered representative when you file Iowa articles.

    This is what our registered agent service can do. You get:

    • Get same-day documents at our Waterloo office
    • Online instant access to state forms.
    • Annual fees for all states starting at $89 to $99 with no additional costs
  3. Iowa Certificate for Formation

    Iowa refers to the articles as the certificate of organization. To form a limited liability corporation, file the certificate of organization.

    Agency: Iowa Secretary to State
    Certificate of Organization
    Filing Method Send mail, faxes, or Online
    Agency Fee $50
    Turnaround: ~1-2 business days
    Iowa Code – Chapter 489 – Revised Uniform Limited Liability Company Act
  4. Establish Company Records

    Your LLC must maintain correct and complete books, records, and financial statements. Your LLC’s documents begin with your filed articles. The LLC will produce other official records like:

    • Minutes of a meeting
    • Operating agreement
    • EIN verification letter
    • The LLC can be amended and filed with other companies throughout its lifetime.
  5. Sign the Operating Agreement

    You can draft an Operating Agreement by using a template. This is the governing document that governs the LLC. It describes the details of how the LLC operates, such as the holding of an annual meeting. You will discuss and approve the agreement at your organizational meeting.

  6. Host the Organizational Meeting

    The organizational meeting is a first meeting of LLC members. For this meeting you will need your operating agreement and filed articles of organisation. Keep a log of the meeting, and save it in your company’s record book.

  7. Get a Federal Employee Identification Number (EIN).

    EIN is required if your LLC employs more than one person or has multiple members. EINs are also required to open bank accounts.

    Agency: Internal Revenue Service
    IRS SS-4
    Filing Method Mail, phone, or Online.
    IRS fee $0
    Turnaround: Instantly online or by phone 4 business day by fax. 4-5 weeks for mail.
    Notes: The IRS website can only be accessed during specific hours. Before you close your session, print your IRS EIN. For more guidance, see IRS Publi 1635: Understanding Your.
  8. Get Iowa State Tax Identification Numbers/Accounts

    Iowa LLCs needing to register for use tax (sales tax), automobile rental tax (withholding tax) or corporation tax must file

    Submit to
    Iowa Department of Revenue


    Form 78-005a: Iowa Business Tax Registration

    Iowa Department of Revenue: Online Training
    Filing Method
    Mail or Online
    The amount of tax accounts required or the licenses required determines how much state fees are charged.
    4-6 Weeks
  9. Consider Electing C-Corp taxation or S-Corp taxation

    Your LLC automatically receives pass through taxation. The vast majority of LLCs however, keep this tax category. Some LLCs have the option to choose S-Corporation or C-Corp tax treatment.

    • S-Corp is a way for owner-employees earning more than $75,000 annually to save on self-employment taxes.
    • C-Corps have double taxation. Members pay taxes on the profits of the corporation, while members pay taxes when they receive their distributions. C-Corp treatment may allow you to benefit from low tax rates on retained earnings, if you have more than $250,000 in profits per owner.
  10. Get business licenses and permits

    The necessary licenses or permits are required in order to operate your business legally. Searching by business type and location using the Small Business Administration Business License & Permit search tool is the easiest way to navigate the vast array of federal, state, or local requirements.

    Iowa Business License


    Iowa does not require the licensure of general business licenses.

    Iowa doesn’t have a general business licence at the state level. However, it does require local licenses.

  11. Keep your LLC afloat with ongoing filings

    Federal and state tax returns must be filed.

    A lot of states also require businesses to file an annual return to maintain good standing before the secretary. You can see the table below for information on Iowa LLCs that require an annual report.

    Iowa Corporation Annual Report Requirements:

    Agency: Iowa Secretary to State
    Form: Available online. Click on the No Account Required option to search for your entity and select “File by Paper” if you wish to print the form.
    Filing Method Mail or online .
    Agency Fee $60
    Due: April 1 in even-numbered Years
    Iowa Code SS 490.1622.
    Penalties: No late fee. There is no late fee for a business dissolution or revocation.
    • Anyone may file if they have authority.
    • Original signatures will not be required

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