Iowa LLC Cost

We’ve compiled the most common fees so you know exactly what to expect when starting your Iowa LLC.

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FAQs on how to determine Iowa LLC costs

  • The first step to forming an LLC is to file a Certificate of Organization with the Secretary of State. Before your LLC can conduct business in Iowa, you must complete the filing requirements. If you’re wondering what it costs to start a business in Iowa, this page will help you prepare.

    Meanwhile, let us handle the filing process. When you file using our Iowa LLC Formation Service, our team of business experts will help you complete your registration quickly and efficiently.

    Our Formation Service will help you start your Iowa LLC for as little as $0 plus state fees.

  • When you establish your LLC in Iowa, you’ll need to account for several fees:

    Iowa LLC Filing Fee

    $50: There is a $50 fee for the Secretary of State to file your Certificate of Organization.

    State Business Taxes

    Iowa doesn’t have a separate tax or fee for the privilege of doing business in the state. However, you’ll need to register your LLC with the Iowa Department of Revenue if you engage in a taxable business activity. You’re required to register if your business:

    • Makes retail sales
    • Purchases items for resale without paying sales taxes
    • Has employees
    • Engages in a taxed industry (automobile rental, hotel, water service provider)

    Many of these taxes require quarterly payments, so it’s important to register if you qualify.

    Iowa LLCs don’t pay corporate income taxes at the entity level. As owners of a pass-through entity, the members account for business profits or losses on their individual tax returns.

    Registered Agent Fee

    Free: In Iowa, you can be your own Registered Agent without paying a fee. However, as the LLC’s Registered Agent, you must be available at your office address during business hours to receive notices. It’s more common for LLC owners to hire a commercial registered agent for a small fee.

    Because you need to know if your LLC is served with a legal notice, you need to choose a Registered Agent you can count on. Let us connect you with the right Registered Agent for your LLC with our Iowa Registered Agent Service.

  • The average cost to start a business in Iowa is more than just the fees to file a Certificate of Organization.

    Certificate of Existence or Authorization

    In some cases, you’ll need to show that your LLC is duly registered, up to date on its state taxes, and current with its biennial report. A Certificate of Existence will confirm that your domestic LLC is in compliance with the Secretary of State and Department of Revenue. If you run a foreign LLC, you’ll need a Certificate of Authorization. The fee for a Certificate of Existence or Authorization is $5.

    DBA Name in Iowa

    Your LLC needs to register a “Doing Business As” name or DBA if it uses a name other than its official name. If an LLC has a DBA, it’s called a “fictitious name,” and filing allows the public to identify the business. LLCs might want to use a fictitious name if you introduce new branches to your company or use a shortened version of your business name. To register a DBA in Iowa, the LLC members need to complete a Resolution to Adopt Fictitious Name. The fee for this filing is $5.

    Foreign LLC

    If you’ve formed an LLC in another state and now want to do business in Iowa, you’ll register as a Foreign LLC. When you file an Application for Certificate of Authority, the Iowa Secretary of State will authorize your LLC to legally conduct business in Iowa. The filing fee for a Foreign LLC to register is $100.

    Business Licensing

    Iowa doesn’t require a general state business license. Still, depending on your business activities, you may need to pay fees for:

    • Business licenses
    • Permits
    • Registrations

    The nature and location of your business determine whether you must pay these fees. As the business owner, you’re responsible for checking for required licenses at the local, state, and federal levels. Use our Business License Service to get a report detailing the licenses, permits, and registrations your business needs.

    For just $0 plus state fees, we can form your Iowa LLC for you in just minutes. No LegalZoom promo code required: Pay just $0 plus filing fees for fast LLC formation in Iowa. 

  • Yes. Failing to pay your business fees and taxes means you could owe interest payments or late fees or suffer legal repercussions. In addition, the government can administratively dissolve the business if it’s behind on its fees. 

  • If you don’t pay your filing fees, the Iowa government will refuse to file your formation or licensing documents. Without these documents, your LLC won’t be legal. You would be considered a sole proprietorship or general partnership and face increased liability.

  • You pay your Certificate of Organization fees to the Secretary of State. 

  • When it comes to the cost to start a business in Iowa, the most significant fee is your Certificate of Organization fee, which is $50. The number of one-time fees you’ll owe will vary with your business activities, industry, and location.

  • If you pay through the online portal, you can use a credit card or pay on account. You must file in person or by mail to pay by cash or check.

How do I form my LLC in Iowa?

1. Name your LLC

Your business name is your public face, and you register it by filing your Certificate of Organization. You can decide on a business name that fits you, but your name must:

  • Contain the words “limited liability company” or “limited company” or the abbreviation “L.L.C.,” “LLC,” “L.C.,” or “LC” (You can abbreviate “Limited” as “Ltd.” and “company” as “Co.”)
  • Not include words that suggest your LLC has an unauthorized purpose
  • Be distinguishable from other business names registered with the Secretary of State

Once you choose a name, you can file an application to reserve your name with the Secretary of State.

2. Select a Registered Agent

Every business in Iowa must maintain a Registered Agent on file with the Secretary of State. Registered Agents are responsible for receiving service of process and delivering it to the LLC. Thus, your Registered Agent needs to be available at their physical address in Iowa during regular business hours.

You can be your own Registered Agent, but many small business owners don’t want to be at the office all day. Like most owners, you want to be focused on growing the business. We offer our Registered Agent service to help you stay compliant. 

3. File your LLC’s Certificate of Formation

One of the most important steps to forming your LLC is filing your Certificate of Organization. You can file online with the Secretary of State using Fast Track Filing. You can also draft your own Certificate of Organization. If you want to file in person or by mail, you can direct your Certificate of Organization and filing fee to the:

Iowa Secretary of State’s Office 

First Floor, Lucas Building 

321 E. 12th St. 

Des Moines, IA 50319

4. Create an Operating Agreement

Your Operating Agreement can help you protect your business contributions and ensure your business operates to meet your goals. In an Operating Agreement, you and your co-owners (also called members) agree to set the rules for your LLC. Operating Agreements can:

  • Detail the members’ expectations for contributions
  • Set up how the members will split profits and losses
  • Decide how members will resolve disagreements

You can run your LLC without an Operating Agreement, but you’ll have to follow the default rules under Iowa law. Iowa’s default rules for limited liability companies aren’t always ideal because they aren’t meant to serve your specific needs. 

We help small business owners make their own rules every day. With our Operating Agreement Template, you can draft a concise and definitive Operating Agreement for your LLC. 

5. Get an EIN

The IRS assigns new businesses an Employer Identification Number (EIN) to use when paying taxes. Your business needs an EIN if it:

  • Has more than one member
  • Hires employees
  • Operates as a corporation

Even if the IRS doesn’t require your LLC to have an EIN, having an EIN to use on your tax documents can help you protect your Social Security number. Also, you need an EIN to open a business bank account and secure a business insurance policy. 

To get an EIN, you have to file an application with the IRS. We can handle the paperwork for you with our Employer ID Number Service

Check Iowa Annual Requirements

Iowa requires LLCs to file biennial reports to keep the Secretary of State updated on your business. You’ll pay a $60 filing fee between January 1 and April 1 for every odd-numbered year after you form your LLC. 

If you fail to file your annual reports on time, you could face interest and penalties. Use our Annual Report Service to help you stay on top of your LLC’s legal obligations and save time and money.

Stay Legally Compliant

The Secretary of State knows that your business will change as it grows. If you need to update your business filings, you’ll have to file an Amendment to the Certificate of Organization. There is a $50 filing fee for each amendment. We can handle filing an amendment for you, or you can use our Worry-Free Compliance Service to file up to two amendments per year. We’ll also send you reminders of compliance deadlines and keep your documents organized. 

We can help!

We know you’re excited about starting your new business. Our Formation Services helps you register your LLC quickly so you can get up and running today. Further, our business products and services can help you stay compliant and ready for tax time. When you form your business with us, our team of business experts will guide you through every step of the process.

Disclaimer: The content on this page is for information purposes only, and does not constitute legal, tax, or accounting advice. If you have specific questions about any of these topics, seek the counsel of a licensed professional.


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