How to Start an LLC in Iowa
Looking to start an LLC in Iowa? Learn how to start an LLC in Iowa in 3 simple steps. Check out our recommendations for the top Iowa LLC filing services below.
Start an LLC in Iowa in 3 simple steps
- Name your Iowa LLC
- Choose a registered agent in Iowa
- File with the state
Starting an LLC is one of the simplest and safest ways to shape your business while protecting your assets, should your business be sued. That said, filing one without prior experience can be a challenging and time-consuming process. Any mistakes you make can cause significant delays.
What is an LLC?
An LLC or ‘limited liability company’ is a U.S. business structure that provides the owners with a level of legal protection by not making them personally liable for the company’s legal responsibilities or debts.
Now, let’s review the steps required for you to incorporate an LLC business and obtain LLC protection. Each U.S. state has its own set of guidelines for starting an LLC, however as this article focuses on Iowa, the following is a full guide to starting your Iowa LLC on your own.
Too busy for the full read? Here’s the best LLC service for 2023
ZenBusiness will help you form your LLC in less than 10 minutes. They will file your paperwork with the state and help you avoid mistakes. Visit ZenBusiness.com
Step 1: Choose a unique name for your Iowa LLC
Choosing a name for your Iowa LLC is not as easy as it looks. First, you will need an original and one-of-a-kind name that is not currently being used by any other business in Iowa. If you already have a business name in mind, make sure that it is yours for the taking.
Here is a quick summary of the main guidelines:
- Your LLC business name should not contain the following words: ‘Agency,’ ‘Board,’ ‘Bureau,’ ‘Commission,’ ‘Department,’ or ‘Municipal’
- Your chosen name should include ‘Limited Liability Company’ or at least an abbreviation of the entire phrase like ‘LLC,’ ‘L.L.C.,’ ‘Limited,’ ‘Ltd.,’ ‘Company,’ or ‘Co’
- The name should not be confused with a government organization, so words and phrases like ‘State Department,’ ‘Treasury,’ and ‘FBI,’ among others, cannot be used
We recommend that you check if your website domain is available from the get-go, even if you don’t have plans of launching a website for your business now. If you’re proactive, you can prevent other businesses from snagging a URL that you may want to use in the future.
Step 2: Select your Iowa registered agent
All Iowa LLCs must have a registered agent. This person is responsible for receiving official government documents, tax correspondence, and legal notices. Part of the responsibility is also filing the needed reports with the Iowa Secretary of State. They are your LCC’s point-of-contact with the Iowa government, in short.
This position can be yourself, another manager in your LLC, or a professional registered agent service. You can check out our registered agent review page to better understand why we highly recommend that you appoint a professional Registered Agent service. (See our recommended services below.)
In Iowa, your registered agent must file an Acceptance of Appointment and Consent to Serve as registered agent form.
Should you pay for the services and expertise of a registered agent service, it is essential that they have a physical address in Iowa and should always be available to receive documents on behalf of your company during standard business hours.
Fortunately, we’ve got not one, but two industry-leading recommendations for you!
BEST FOR: Register your LLC company
As the name suggests, there’s no need to ruin your Zen under the weight of legal jargon – ZenBusiness is one of the most reliable registered agent services in Iowa, with thousands of positive reviews and high ratings. With ZenBusiness you can register your business in less than 10 minutes. You can also use their registered agent service for $199 and take advantage of their worry free compliance service so you can focus on running and growing your business.
Additionally, ZenBusiness provides you with a virtual dashboard, so you have 100% visibility of the forms and documents of your company. You can review them, download documents, and even print them to have a personal copy for any business or legal reasons.
Read our full ZenBusiness review
BEST FOR: Professional registered agent service
Northwest Registered Agent is a well-established registered agent service with two decades of experience. They allow you to add a registered agent in multiple states (if your business requires it) and can cover all of your Iowa LLC registration needs.
Northwest Registered Agent gives you an online portal to easily access your uploaded documents and state forms. You can check anytime from anywhere while ensuring that all your information is secure.
Read our full Northwest Registered Agent review
Step 3: File with the state
Once all the information for your Iowa LLC is complete, you can file online or via mail:
Secretary of State
Lucas Building, 1st Floor
321 E. 12th Street
Des Moines, IA 50319
The filing fee is $50. You can check the requirements for filing the Certificate of Organization here.
My LLC in Iowa is registered – What’s next?
Congratulations on your LLC! Don’t forget that the process and legwork don’t stop here. After successfully forming your LLC, post guidelines can make your business organized, seamless, and less complicated.
Set the line between personal and business resources
It’s recommended that you separate your personal assets from your LLC. Assets such as your house, car, and other personal properties should not mix with your LLC’s assets. This way, if your Iowa LLC gets sued, you can have peace of mind knowing that your valuables are safe and will not be dragged into the picture.
Open your business bank account
It will be easy and tempting to ‘borrow’ or refinance your LLC using your account when your LLC needs some financial uplift, but don’t. Just like your personal resources, your savings and money meant for personal use should be kept private. If you need funds to jump-start your business, you can always consider a business loan.
Onboard a business accountant
A business accountant can oversee and ensure that your organization is not overpaying in taxes while at the same time making sure that you don’t have any penalties and other expensive tax errors. Having one also removes the responsibility of bookkeeping and payroll off your shoulders. You can focus on the other angles of growing your business.
Consider getting business insurance
Regardless of how small your company is at the moment, growth and expansion are part of the long-term goal. Getting business insurance can help you feel secure from any possible risks. It can assist you in managing potential lawsuits or even malpractice and other business-triggered errors.
As a responsible and pro-employee organization, you’d also want to consider workers’ compensation insurance to provide coverage for your employees should there be any work-related injuries, sicknesses, or even death that may happen.
Frequently Asked Questions
What’s the Iowa LLC state fee cost to register a new business?
Iowa State fee is $50.
Is a trade name mandatory for my business?
In Iowa, most LLCs don’t need a ‘Doing Business As’ (DBA) or a trading name. The name you set for your LLC is your brand name, and you can accept payment under that name. It is recommended that you have a DBA when you have plans to do business under a different name.
How long is the processing time for my Certificate of Formation?
Iowa LLC filings are processed in 10 minutes when filed online on business days. When filed online on non-business days, the processing time is 24 hours. Filing by mail may take anywhere from 3 to 15 days.