How to File an Iowa LLC Certificate of Organization
The Iowa Certificate of Organization is the LLC form you fill out and file with the state to form an LLC.
Follow the steps in our How to File the Iowa LLC Certificate of Organization guide below to get started.
Or simply use a professional service:
Northwest ($29 + State Fees)
Filing the Iowa Certificate of Organization is Easy!
We'll take you through three easy steps for filing the Iowa LLC Certificate of Organization.
Step 1: Get Your Certificate of Organization Forms
You can create and submit your own hard copy Iowa Certificate of Organization, OR you can file online. For this first step, choose your preferred method below.
OPTION 1: Access the Iowa Fast Track Filing portal. After creating an account, select "File Business Entity Document," then "Form an Iowa limited liability company."
- OR -
OPTION 2: Read the Iowa LLC statute requirements to draft your own Certificate of Organization.
Step 2: Fill Out the Certificate of Organization
In this step, we will help you complete the Iowa Certificate of Organization.
You will need to know the following information to complete each section:
- Entity Name and Address
- Registered Agent Name and Registered Office Address
- Effective Date and Expiration Date
Entity Name and Address
Having a creative and smart business name is important but not as important as having a legally correct name.
When you choose a name for your business, you have to make sure the name:
- Meets Iowa naming guidelines.
- Is not already in use by another business in Iowa
Follow the Iowa Naming Guidelines:
- Your name must contain one of the following terms or abbreviations: limited liability company, limited company, L. L. C., LLC, L. C., or LC. “Limited” may be abbreviated as “Ltd.” and “company” may be abbreviated as “Co.”
- Your name cannot include words that could confuse your LLC with a government agency (FBI, Treasury, State Department, etc.).
- In some states, certain restricted words (e.g., Bank, Attorney, University) may require additional paperwork and a licensed individual to be part of your LLC.
- Your name must be distinguishable from any existing business in the state. This includes Iowa reserved names.
Check Name Availability:
Is your name available in Iowa? Make sure the name you want isn't already taken by doing a name search on the Iowa Secretary of website.
To learn more about naming your business, including best practices and creative branding, visit our How to Name a Business in Iowa guide.
Not sure what to name your business? Check out our Business Name Generator.
Register Your Domain Name:
We recommend checking to see if your business name is available as a web domain. Even if you don't plan to make a business website today, you may want to buy the URL in order to prevent others from acquiring it.
Find a Domain Now
Registered Agent and Registered Office
A registered agent accepts and sends legal documents on your LLC's behalf. When you register your Iowa LLC, you are required to list your registered agent and your registered office. Your registered agent can be anyone 18 years or older that lives in Iowa. It seems simple, but it's important to know that your registered agent must always be available at the registered office during regular business hours.
To learn more about choosing an Iowa registered agent, read our How To Choose an Iowa Registered Agent guide.
To learn more about what a registered agent does and how to choose one, read our What is a Registered Agent guide.
Step 3: File the Certificate of Organization
To register your LLC, you will need to file the Certificate of Organization with the Secretary of State. This can be done online, by mail, or by fax.
OPTION 1: Create an account or log into Iowa Fast Track Filing. After creating an account, select "File Business Entity Document," then "Form an Iowa limited liability company," and fill out the required fields.
- OR -
OPTION 2: Draft and submit the Iowa Certificate of Organization to the Secretary of State. This can be done by mail or by fax.
State Filing Cost: $50
Lucas State Office Building
321 E. 12th St.
Des Moines, IA 50319
Fax: (515) 242-5953
Steps After Your Iowa LLC Is Officially Formed
Once you’ve filed your Certificate of Organization, you should take the following steps:
Create an Operating Agreement
An Iowa LLC Operating Agreement is a legal document that outlines the ownership structure and member roles of your LLC.
In Iowa, you aren't required to have an Operating Agreement to officially form an LLC, but it's still a good idea to have one. You can start your operating agreement before, during, or after you file your Certificate of Organization.
Your operating agreement will be kept in your LLC's private business records; you do not file it with the state.
Use our free Operating Agreement Tool to draft a customized operating agreement for your LLC.
Get an EIN
An Employer Identification Number (EIN) is like a social security number for your LLC. You will need an EIN if you want to hire employees or open business bank accounts.
You can get your EIN for free through the IRS website, via fax, or by mail. If you would like to learn more about EINs and how they can benefit your LLC, read our What is an EIN article.
Open a Business Bank Account
Using dedicated business banking and credit accounts is essential to protect your business' corporate veil. When your personal and business accounts are mixed, your personal assets (your home, car, and other valuables) are at risk in the event your LLC is sued.
For reviews on some of our most trusted business banks, visit our Best Banks for Small Business review.
Get Licenses and Permits
When you are registering an LLC, you need to determine if your business needs any licenses or permits in order to remain compliant. On the federal level, there are a handful of business activities that require licenses and/or permits.
Find out how to obtain necessary licenses and permits for your business or have a professional service do it for you:
- Federal: Use the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) guide to federal business licenses and permits.
- State: Apply for or learn more about licenses, permits, and registration with Iowa Department of Revenue.
- Local: Contact your local county clerk and ask about local licenses and permits.
Brand Your Business
The strongest and most memorable businesses are built on a solid brand. When developing your brand, think about what your business stands for. Customers and clients are looking for companies that have a compelling brand, as much as they are shopping for high-quality products and services.
Creating a logo for your business is vital for increasing brand awareness. You can design your own unique logo using our Free Logo Generator. Our free tool can help you design your own unique logo for your new business idea.