LLC in Iowa – How to Start an LLC in Iowa [5 Easy Steps]

Forming an LLC (Limited Liability Company) in Iowa is easy and affordable. The following are few procedural steps on how to start an LLC in Iowa. LLC forms in two ways, domestic and/or foreign. If you are planning to set up an LLC in states other than Iowa, visit How to Start an LLC.

Iowa LLC

How to Start an Iowa LLC

Suppose you’re planning to invest in some profitable business or maybe about to set up your ideal form of business in Iowa. In that case, forming an LLC in Iowa is the simplest option for you.

An LLC or a Limited Liability Companya hybrid business entity combining a corporation’s characteristics with a partnership or sole proprietorship. This section gives you a step-by-step guide on How to Start an LLC in Iowa. 

Step 1: Decide a Name for Your LLC

name llc

If you are to start an LLC in Iowa, the first thing you do is decide on a business or company name, and how to name your LLC may be tricky. Thus, you have the option to choose a name that complies with the Iowa business naming requirements. It must also be easily searchable for potential clients. Here is a step-by-step guide to follow when naming your Iowa LLC. 

Why do you need a proper business name?

If you want your LLC to have special identification, your company name is essential. However, many people face lots of issues by avoiding focus on choosing a business name for their LLC business formation filings.

Because of this, here are some of the major benefits of choosing the best LLC corporate names.

  • To help establish a company’s presence in the market, a proper business entity type will help you. This also creates a new identity that will resemble your LLC.
  • After you’ve properly chosen the name for your LLC, you will have no problems finishing the registration process.
  • You can only get the EIN number when you have your name registration certificate with you.
What are the requirements when deciding a name for your LLC? 

name search is vital to make sure your business’ name is unique. Check the availability of your name with Business Entity Search on the Iowa Secretary of State’s website. Reserve the name by completing the Name Reservation Request Form for Domestic Entities.  

  • Don’t include words that could confuse people about your company. Words like ‘treasury, state department.’
  • You should also avoid restricted words like ‘bank, attorney, university,’ because they may require a lawyer and more paperwork.
  • As for a business website and your URL name, check if your name is still available for domain use with NameCheap.
Reserve a business domain

Even if you don’t have plans to set up a website today, it will help if you buy a domain to avoid others from using your name for their website, so do visit NameCheap for your domain name and Kinsta for web hosting.

If you have decided on your URL name and have reserved it, set up a professional email account with Google GSuite.  

Step 2: Assign a Registered Agent in Iowa

get registered agent

A registered agent, or business entity, is a person that will act or work on your behalf. This person or business will do things like filing services and receive significant legal forms, formation documents, a notice of lawsuits, and other official government correspondence in Iowa. Choosing an Iowa-registered agent service for your LLC is required. 

Make sure your registered agents are residents of Iowa. It could also be a business. Here are the recommended agents and employees for you:

LLC Service

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$49 + State Fees

  • 1st year free agent service

  • Multiple options available

  • CPA assessment records


$299 + State Fees

  • Fast service

  • Resource center

  • Flat Rate for all services

$399 + State Fees

  • 1st year free agent service

  • Digital storage

  • Different types of plans

These five LLC formation services are recommended agents’ registered services as they are authorized to conduct business in Iowa. Compare them to check the best yet cheapest option for you. Besides, they are professional service providers because they have been in the business for years. 

Step 3: File Certificate of Organization in Iowa

file formation certificate

A Certificate of Name Reservation is needed to file a Certificate of Organization, as other states call it. You need to make reports of this certificate with the Iowa Secretary of State,  which costs $50. You may file them online or by mail. 

This Certificate of Formation is a legal document that forms your business officially. It will indicate details about your LLC in Iowa, like if it is a member-managed or managers-managed

Before you start filings, you must already have your LLC name and registered agents or employees. You will attach a copy of your Name Reservation Certificate along with a list of the services that your Iowa LLC will offer.

How to File Online

Go to the Secretary of State Online Service. Select “non-subscriber.” Fill out the online form. The website will alert you if your county does not support online filings after selecting your principal county.

How to File by Mail

If you prefer filing real-life forms for your Indiana LLC registration, then you can download the Iowa Limited Company Certificate of Organization requirements. Read the form thoroughly. 

Step 4: Create Your Iowa LLC Operating Agreement

create operating agreement

An operating agreementis an internal document that legally outlines the proprietorship and operating procedures of your LLC This document is vital as it ensures that all business owners are on the same page regarding how they operate, thus reducing future conflicts. 

Starting an LLC in Iowa does not require you to have a limited liability operating agreement, but it is ideal to have one that contains all your details of business operation.

Step 5: Filing an Iowa LLC EIN

The Employer Identification Number or, simply, the E.I.N. is a nine-digit number given by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to make it easier to identify types of business for tax purposes. It is like a Social Security number dedicated to a business. 

It is also called a Federal Employer Identification Number (FEIN) or a Federal Tax Identification Number (FTIN). You will need this number for taxation filing and to determine tax classification options.

Mail to:

Internal Revenue Service

Attn: EIN Operation

Cincinnati, OH 45999

Fax: (855) 641-6935

Fee: Free

After Starting your Iowa LLC 

After forming your LLC, there are still some things that you will need. Take note of the following::

  • Get a company business account
  • File Iowa business permits & licenses
  • Get liability for business insurance with coverage for employees
  • File an Iowa LLC annual reports or biennial reports
  • Already existing LLCs that wish to operate in Iowa must register as a foreign Iowa LLC.  

This page has provided you with steps to LLC formation and filing processes. You now have to remember upcoming filing deadlines and filing fees or filing costs, including fees for late filings to make sure your LLC is up-to-date. 

Why LLC in Iowa

Iowa has the biggest industry of advanced manufacturing units. Around $28,000+ billion is contributed by the advanced manufacturing businesses in Iowa, reported by the Bureau of Economic Analysis in 2016. Iowa is one business-friendly state in the USA. 

Tax Filing Become Easy In Iowa LLC 

Starting an LLC in Iowa is beneficial because of the tax filing structure it has. It is easy and consumes less time for the LLCs. This leads to saving some time for the entrepreneurs. The filing fee is also less here. Not just the tax filing if you will look up at the management and the administrative tasks of an Iowa LLC, they are also easy to work on.

Moreover, it is hassle-free to set up all the rules and regulations necessary to run the businesses efficiently. Due to these swift procedures, the business-minded people start calculating the time they save and decide to Start an LLC in Iowa.

International Trade Assistance For LLC

International trading is a dream of businesses that are new in the field and are trying to increase the boundaries of their business. If you are moving to Iowa, then you should know that there is a program in which the government provides international trade assistance to some businesses. For that, one needs to show their authority and prove that they actually deserve this.

Flexible Distribution In Iowa 

In many states starting up an LLC with a member, partners abide a person that they have to distribute the profits of the LLC equally. But in Iowa, this rule is changed. The member can take the decision to divide the profits among the partners in whatever way they want.

Economic Development Set Aside Assistance

If a person is looking forward to starting a small-sized business, then the government becomes a helping hand for them and helps them achieve growth. Under this program, if the small and medium-sized businesses can increase job and employment opportunities then they will receive financial assistance from the government.

The only condition is that a person has to clear the expectation bar that the government has set. Only some innovative start-ups will get this help under which they can receive an incentive of up to $1 million.

Other Tax Incentives

There are some other business tax credits available in Iowa. High-Quality Job, New Job Creation, Redevelopment Program, Research Activities, Equipment, Computer & Industrial Machinery programs, and some more programs are available. The qualified LLC can enjoy long-lasting benefits from these tax credit programs.

Best Businesses in Iowa

When an entrepreneur wants to Start an LLC in Iowa, then you should know the best business industries of Iowa. There are some specific businesses to which the state is providing an excellent environment. The list of businesses is mentioned below in detail.

Renewable Energy

Facts show that Iowa is number 1 in the United States of America regarding ethanol and biodiesel production.  The reason behind this is the waste product of agriculture is utilized better with rising and modern technologies. Due to this, high-quality fuel is produced. Due to the increase in demand for biofuel in every sector, more businesses need more businesses to cater to the needs.

Value-Added Food Manufacturing

The state of Iowa is known for supplying 1/14th of the total food consumed in the USA every day. More people depend on the food that is produced in the state is due to the quality. That is why the manufacturing and conversion of raw material of agricultural field to processed, packed food is on the rise in the state. From beef to dairy and from poultry to food ingredient, the value addition in every material is done and then sold in the market.

The companies present in the state have doubled in the past 7 years, showing how profitable this business can be.

Warehousing business

The state of Iowa is benefitted from its geographical location. They are located in the mid due to which the demand for a warehouse in the state is more. The total sales that Iowa warehouse has made in a year are $5 billion. The state allows catering to be national and international products and transports and earn money by providing them warehouses.

Here are some small budget high-profit business ideas specifically designed for Iowa State

  • App Development Business
  • Food Truck Business
  • Blogging in Specific Niches
  • Bakery Business

Iowa LLC Formation Review

Time needed: 30 minutes.

To recap, here are the simple steps again when forming an LLC in Iowa. Click on the steps in this list to read the full detail.

  1. Name your Iowa LLC

    The simple – but essential – step thing you must do is to choose a company name, which should include the phrase “limited liability company,” or one of its abbreviations (LLC or L.L.C.).
    name llc

  2. Choose a registered agent

    In Iowa, it is mandatory to select a registered agent for your LLC. You can check out our list of our 5 Best LLC Services in the United States.
    get registered agent

  3. File a formation certificate

    Filing a formation certificate is necessary when forming an LLC. Depending on the state, it could be called any of the following: Certificate of Formation, Articles of Organization, or Certificate of Organization.
    file formation certificate

  4. Create operating agreement

    An operating agreement is not a strict requirement but something encouraged when you start an LLC.
    create operating agreement

  5. Get an EIN

    The Employer Identification Number (EIN), also called  Federal Tax Identification Number, serves to identify a business entity like a social security number but for a company.
    get an ein


What is the difference between ‘domestic LLC’ and ‘foreign LLC’?

A “domestic LLC” is one that conducts business in a state where it was formed. Meanwhile, a “foreign LLC” is an existing LLC that extended business to another state.

What do I need for Domestic and Foreign LLCs?

For Domestic LLCs, it is vital to have a Certificate of Name Reservation and Certificate of Formation. For the foreign LLCs, you must have a Certificate of Good Standing.

Is the cost to form an LLC the same across states?

The cost to form an LLC varies per state.

Does an LLC need to use a DBA?

Seldom do L.L.C.s use D.B.A. or a ‘Doing Business As’ name nor a fictitious business name. However, if you want to have one, you make read more about DBAs here

Why are operating agreements important?

This document is vital as it ensures that all business owners are on the same page regarding how they operate, thus reducing future conflicts.

Is there anything else I should keep in mind when naming my LLC?

>Your name should have “L.L.C. or LLC” or the phrase “limited liability the business.” 
>Do not include words that could create confusion between your LLC and any government business. 
>Words like ‘bank, attorney, university’ are restricted as well. 
>Lastly, your name should distinguish from other limited liability corporations, limited partnerships, or registered limited liability partnerships.

Where can I file my LLC name?

Typically, you can file your LLC name online filing `or by mail. Check with the state where you will set up your LLC name. Take note that the fees for business names may also vary per state.  

How can I know if my URL name is available?

As for a website and your URL name, check if your name is still available for URL use with NameCheap to see if your name is available as a web domain. Even if you don’t have plans to set up a website today, it will help if you buy a URL. Buying it can help to prevent others from getting your name; check out WPEngine, Kinsta, and GoDaddy for hosting and building your website. 

Can I mail the LLC Certificate of Formation to the Secretary of State?

No. Never mail these documents or payments to the Secretary of State directly. 

Why do I need an EIN?

The reason you might need an E.I.N. is that it would help for three reasons:
>For a business bank application
>Filing and managing federal and state taxes
>Hire employees or agents. LLCs with employees, or LLCs with two or more employees, require an EIN

How do I get an EIN when I do not have a Social Security number?

You are not required a Social Security number when getting an EIN. You can proceed to fill out I.R.S. Form SS-4 and leave section 7b blank. You must then call the IRS at (267) 941-1099 to complete your application. Agents or employees will help you with that.

I already have an EIN for a sole proprietorship; what now? 

Note that an LLC is different from a sole proprietorship. If you already have an EIN for your sole proprietorship, the IRS will require you to get a new one when your convert to an LLC. 

Do foreign applicants need an SSN to get an EIN?

International EIN applicants do not need an SSN to get an EIN.

What is an IRS?

The IRS is the one that will issue your EIN. You can request an EIN from the IRS ONLINE or download the FORM, fill it out, and send it by mail or fax.

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