How to File Articles of Incorporation in Iowa

Discover the essential steps for successful business incorporation in Iowa, from understanding the associated costs to navigating the processing timelines. Ensure a smooth journey through the Articles of Incorporation process with our comprehensive guide below.

Excellent 4.7 out of 5 stars 14,839 reviews

Completing and filing your Iowa Articles of Incorporation is necessary to form a corporation. We’ll walk you through the form and show you how to submit it to the state.

The Importance of Filing Articles of Incorporation

The Articles of Incorporation form is the heart of the business registration process for corporations. Once the documents are collated, they’re submitted to the Iowa Secretary of State’s office for processing. Our How to Form an Iowa Corporation page has a wealth of information on this process.

Iowa Statute 490.202 governs the information required in the Articles of Incorporation. Once the company is registered, the information becomes public record.

How to Complete the Articles of Incorporation Form

Iowa uses its Fast Track Filing online portal for submissions. Applicants can also mail in their filings or deliver them to the Iowa Secretary of State’s office.

A Guide to the Iowa Articles of Incorporation

Iowa is unusual in the sense that it doesn’t have an Articles of Incorporation form that you can download. It does provide a clear guide in terms of the information required.

One suggestion is to work with a small business formation company like ZenBusiness to help ensure that the document to be submitted includes all required information and that the entity follows the correct incorporation process.

Mistakes in filing aren’t only costly and time-consuming but can cause legal ramifications down the road.

Information to Provide

1a) Name: The name of the organization needs to fulfill all the requirements of statute section 490.401. Your business name needs to be unique in the state of Iowa and include one of the following words or abbreviations: Incorporated (Inc.), Corporation (Corp.), Company (Co.), or Limited (Ltd.). Applicants who want to reserve a business name prior to filing the Articles of Incorporation can make use of the ZenBusiness name reservation service.

Businesses may opt to have a trading name that’s different from their registered names. These names are referred to as “trading as” or “doing business as” (DBA) names. ZenBusiness can assist with the registration of a DBA name.

b) Shares: This section details the type and number of shares the company can issue.

c) Registered Agent: The name and address of your registered agent. ZenBusiness offers a registered agent service that can help you meet this legal requirement.

The advantages of working with a registered agent service include professionalism and a dedicated point of contact for legal documents. You’re allowed to be your own registered agent, but because the agent is required to be available at the office during all normal business hours, using a registered agent service frees up your time to be outside of the office.

d) Incorporator(s): The information and addresses of each incorporator need to be listed. Only one incorporator is needed.

2a) Directors: Names and addresses of those who will serve as directors.

b) Additional Provisions:

1) The purpose of the business.

2) Management and regulation affairs of the business.

3) The definition of the scope of power of the management team such as officers, shareholders, and directors.

4) Par value of shares.

5) Personal liability of the shareholders and the debt of the company.

After you file, you’ll want to make sure your corporation stays in good standing with the state. Try our Worry-Free Compliance service to put your mind at ease so you can focus on other things.

Process for Foreign (Out-of-State) Corporations

A foreign corporation is one that was incorporated in another state or country. Those who are registered elsewhere and wish to do business in Iowa need to complete an application for a Certificate of Authority.

Supplemental Forms

Certain company types may need to provide additional documents. For instance, professionals such as doctors and accountants need to include their license information.

Different business types may need to do research to find out if they need to apply for additional licenses or permits. This could be at the federal, state, or local municipality level.

Foreign businesses need to provide a Statement of Fact, in some states also known as a Certificate of Good Standing or Certificate of Existence.

How to Submit the Form

Iowa is one of the more cost-effective states to file Articles of Incorporation in. The filing fee is fairly low. The process takes a few weeks, and there’s no mention on the Iowa Secretary of State site of an expedited option for the application.

Online filing takes place on the Fast Track Filing site. See the state’s website for other options.


Filing Iowa Articles of Incorporation can be a complicated process without the right assistance. Through our business formations plan package, we can take you through the entire process with ease.

We have an extensive network of partners and service providers to help you. Even after your business is registered, we can assist with ongoing services such as biennial reports, Worry-Free Compliance service, and amendment filing service.

Iowa Articles of Incorporation FAQs

  • Check the Iowa Secretary of State website to see the most current information on fees and methods of payment available.

  • A couple of weeks, which can fluctuate during peak filing seasons. There’s no mention of an expedited service or its cost on the Iowa Secretary of State website.

  • The Iowa Secretary of State processes Articles of Incorporation.

  • Statute 490.202 governs Iowa Articles of Incorporation, and statute 490.401 governs the name selection.

  • No, an attorney isn’t required, however, complex company structures and rules may require the assistance of an attorney.

Get Incorporated in Iowa Today!