This guide will outline what you need to know about changing a registered agent in Iowa and how to get started when you’re ready.
You formed your Iowa LLC. You did the paperwork. You started operating your business.
And now, for one reason or another, you need to change your registered agent. No worries, we’ve got you covered.
There are a number of reasons you might need to change your Iowa LLC’s registered agent. Maybe your designated registered agent moved out of state, left the company, or no longer wants the responsibility. Maybe you had assigned the job to yourself, and you no longer want your address on public record. Maybe (hopefully) your business has expanded so much that you no longer have time to handle the registered agent responsibilities.
Whatever your reason may be, changing a registered agent in Iowa might seem like a daunting task, with a mountain of paperwork and legal proceedings involved. However it’s actually quite simple, and this guide will help make the process quick and painless.
The state of Iowa has certain requirements for changing your LLC’s registered agent. Once you have your new agent in mind, you will have to file a Statement of Change of Registered Office and/or Registered Agent. Or, if you have fortunate timing and your need for an agent change comes at the same time you’re filing your Biennial Report, you can make the change there.
The Statement of Change is available for either paper or online filing, but the Biennial Report must be filed online. All online submissions go through the Iowa Secretary of State Fast Track Filling system.
You can’t pick just anyone to be a registered agent for your LLC. The state of Iowa puts certain restrictions on who can serve as one. If you’re choosing or changing your registered agent, keep these requirements in mind. The registered agent in Iowa must:
* If your registered agent is a foreign business entity, it must be authorized to transact business in Iowa
As mentioned above, you have two options for how to change your registered agent: by mail and online. If speed is your priority, filing online is the quickest method. Everything you need is on the Fast Track Filing portal. Click “Sign up” to create your account and follow the directions from there.
If you prefer to do all your business on paper, postal mail is also a reliable option. On the Secretary of State’s Forms and Fees page, find the Statement of Change of Registered Office and/or Registered Agent form under the Domestic Limited Liability Companies section (make sure you use the form from the right section!). Complete the form and send it to:
Business Services Division
Lucas Building, 1st Floor
Des Moines, Iowa 50319
If you happen to live in Des Moines and you want to take it in yourself, you can also drop it off in person at the same address. There is no fee to file this form, regardless of which filing method you choose.
Your registered agent change may happen right around your Biennial Report filing period. If this is the case, you’re in luck! The state requires you to file your Biennial Report every two years anyway, so you can decrease your paperwork by making the change there. File your Biennial Report through the Fast Track Filing system. You’ll also have to pay a $45 fee.
If you’re too busy, or if you’d feel more comfortable letting someone else take the reins, you have the option of hiring a company or individual to file your paperwork for you. It’s a great way to save time and stress.
Submit your form? Pay your fee? Then you’re all set! Normally, the Secretary of State’s office take 2-3 days to process a registered agent change, so you should see it reflected in your records soon.
Think of your registered agent as a mediator between you and the state of Iowa, the person or business entity that handles some of your most important paperwork.
In case you thought the registered agent was just a formality, look at the documents they handle:
A lot of important stuff. Which is why a reliable registered agent is essential to every Iowa business owner.
By handling high-priority and sensitive documents on your behalf, your registered agent takes care of your communications with the state, so you can spend more time building your business.
Plus, if you operate an Iowa small business from out of state, a trustworthy registered agent is especially important, as the state requires a local contact for your LLC. Having this contact ensures your company will receive and respond to time-sensitive documents, so you won’t miss filings and get hit with penalties.
If you’re unsure where to find a good Iowa registered agent, consider using a registered agent service. These companies provide you with a reliable, professional registered agent so you can have peace of mind knowing you won’t ever miss a filing, tax deadline, or state correspondence.
Sure, you can jump online, search “registered agent service,” and get a ton of results. But the truth is that not all of these services are trustworthy. So, we’ve done some research for you. If you want to know you’re getting a top-quality registered agent, take a look at our comparison guide on the best rated registered agent services. Many of these providers can also form an LLC for you if you’re needing a fresh start. ZenBusiness and IncFile are two very well known options.
There are numerous reasons you might need to give up your Iowa registered agent role, but only one way to resign.
Registered agents play an important role in the life of an LLC, handling sensitive legal and tax documents, so it’s essential that agents follow proper resignation procedures. Otherwise, you could leave your company with unplanned fines or penalties, and you could be individually liable.
Fortunately, for Iowa LLCs it is easy.
Follow these steps and the hardest part of your resignation won’t be the process itself, it’ll be saying “so long” to your former business.
The Iowa LLC Act Section 489.115 requires that you send a copy of your Statement of Resignation to your LLC before filing it with the Secretary of State. This is to ensure that the company has ample time to plan their registered agent change. While it’s not required, it’s also a good idea to speak with your company more at length to help them develop a succession plan and facilitate a smooth transition.
After you’ve contacted your LLC and mailed them a copy of your resignation statement, it’s time to formally resign with the state.
You may be looking forward to your next project or business, but your name won’t be officially off the books until you’ve submitted your resignation to the Iowa Secretary of State.
Head over to the Secretary of State’s Business Entity Forms page. Scroll down to find either the Domestic or Foreign LLC sections. Click “Resignation of Registered Agent” to access the Statement of Resignation form. The form has two parts: the statement itself, and the Certificate of Mailing.
Statement: This section is your official resignation, and just requires a few pieces of information. Enter the LLC name, principal office address, registered office address, and your name. Then sign and date it and you’re all set.
Certificate of Mailing: The certificate’s purpose is to confirm that you sent a copy of your resignation to the LLC prior to filing with the state. Here you’ll enter your name, the LLC name, and the date that you sent them the copy. Sign and date this section as well.
At this point, you may be pulling out your checkbook or credit card to pay a filing fee. But unlike many of Iowa’s business forms, this one is free. When you’ve finished filling in your information, you have three submission options.
Online is the most efficient method, as online filings are processed within 24 hours and mailed or faxed ones can take up to three weeks.
Your resignation takes effect as soon as your filing is processed –unless you specified a different date of termination – so your LLC will need to change their registered agent right away to avoid penalties.
When you put down your registered agent responsibilities, someone else has to pick them up, or your LLC will lose its good standing with the state. Help your LLC keep its momentum by carefully planning your transition.
This starts with finding a successor who’s ready to take over right away. Even a small gap in registered agent coverage can result in severe penalties. Any Iowa company that spends sixty days without a valid registered agent will be administratively dissolved by the state. Because your resignation is effective immediately upon filing, it’s important that your LLC has a replacement lined up.
In order to be qualified as a registered agent, this replacement must meet Iowa’s specific requirements. They must:
An individual LLC member can serve as registered agent for their own company, but sometimes it’s easier to pass along those responsibilities to a professional.
We recommend using a registered agent service, which can take over registered agent duties, freeing up more time for the LLC’s managers to focus on running the business.
You do a lot for your Iowa LLC. You’re essentially the shield that protects it from fines, the filter that catches important documents, the conductor that keeps it on track with compliance.
Because you play such an important role, it’s crucial that you follow the resignation procedures exactly — and potentially provide a replacement agent for the business. Otherwise, you might find yourself and your LLC in hot water.
Follow this guide and you’ll be totally fine. Soon, you’ll be on to your next project, whether that’s starting a new business in Iowa or something completely different.
If you need a fresh start and would like to form a brand new LLC, there are plenty of services that can take care of this for you. ZenBusiness and LegalZoom are two very popular options.
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