Cost to Form an LLC in Iowa

The cost to start an Iowa limited liability company (LLC) is $50. This fee is paid to the Iowa Secretary of State when filing the LLC’s Certificate of Organization.

Use our free Form an LLC in Iowa guide to do it yourself.

Or simply use a professional service:

four point six out of five ZenBusiness ($39 + State Fees)

Three out of Five Stars LegalZoom ($149 + State Fees)


How Much Does an LLC Cost in Iowa?

Iowa LLC Online Filing Fee: $50

The main cost of forming an LLC is the $50 fee to file your LLC's Certificate of Organization online with the Iowa Secretary of State.

Iowa Biennial Report Fee: $60

Iowa requires LLCs to file a biennial report with the Secretary of State.

You can submit this form through the Iowa Fast Track Filing website. It is due between January 1 and April 1 of every odd numbered year.

Registered Agent Fee

In Iowa you can be your own registered agent, but using a registered agent service helps keep your company in compliance and reminds you of important filing deadlines and avoid late fees.

Registered agent fees start at $39 for the first year. We recommend using:

OR:

Read our guide to learn more about Iowa Registered Agents. You can also read our full guide on the best registered agent services.

Cost to Form a Foreign LLC in Iowa

If you already have an LLC that is registered in another state and you’d like to expand your business into Iowa, you’ll need to register your LLC as a foreign LLC in Iowa.

The cost for registering an Iowa foreign LLC is $100. You can register a foreign LLC in Iowa by filing an Application for Certificate of Authority online or by mail.

Business Permits and Licenses

Depending on your industry and geographical location, your business might need federal, state, and local permits/licenses to legally operate in Iowa. This is true whether you form an LLC or any other type of business structure.

Learn more about state and local licensing with our guide to getting an Iowa business license.

Other LLC Filing Costs

There are optional fees associated with LLC formation:

LLC Name Reservation:
Reserve your name for up to 120 days prior to LLC formation by filing an Application for Reservation of Name and paying the $10 filing fee. This can also be done by mail.

“Doing Business As” (DBA) Name:
File a Fictitious Name Resolution and pay the $5 filing fee to create a name other than your legal LLC business name. This can also be done by mail.

Certified Document Copies:
Obtain certified copies of your Iowa business documents by ordering through the Secretary of State and paying $5 plus $1 for each page.

Certificate of Existence:
Also known as an Iowa certificate of good standing, you can obtain this document by ordering through the Secretary of State and paying the $5 fee. A certificate of existence is often required by banks and lending institutions.

How to Register an Iowa LLC Yourself

Forming an LLC yourself is easy; just follow the five steps below.

Recommended: If you already have a business that is running as a sole proprietorship, visit our How to Change from a Sole Proprietorship to LLC page.

Five Basic Steps to Start an LLC in Iowa

Step 1: Name Your Iowa LLC
Step 2: Choose a Registered Agent
Step 3: File a Certificate of Organization
Step 4: Create an Operating Agreement
Step 5: Get an EIN

Step 1: Name Your Iowa LLC

When you name your Iowa LLC, you’ll need to choose a name that:

  1. Is available for use in the state of Iowa
  2. Meets Iowa naming requirements
  3. Is available as a web domain

Recommended: Visit our Start an LLC in Iowa guide for detailed naming rules and instructions for registering a business name in Iowa.

Not sure what to name your business? Check out our How to Name a Business guide and free LLC Name Generator.

We recommend that you check online to see if your business name is available as a web domain. Even if you don't plan to create a business website today, you may want to buy the URL in order to prevent others from acquiring it.

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Step 2: Choose a Registered Agent

All LLCs in Iowa must appoint a registered agent. A registered agent primarily acts as your LLC’s main point of contact with the state. But most importantly, they are responsible for accepting service of process in the event your business is sued.

Your Iowa registered agent must:

  • Be at least 18 years or older
  • Have a physical address in Iowa
  • Be available during normal business hours to accept service of process
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Recommended: Get a free year of registered agent services when you hire ZenBusiness to form your LLC. $39 (plus state fees).

ZenBusiness

Step 3: File the Certificate of Organization

The Iowa Certificate of Organization is a document that is filed with the Iowa Secretary of State to form an LLC. The fee for filing a Certificate of Organization is $50 online.

If filing by mail or by fax, you must draft your own Certificate of Organization according to the Iowa state statutes. For detailed instructions for completing the Certificate of Organization, visit our How to File the Iowa Certificate of Organization guide.

File an Iowa Certificate of Organization

OPTION 1: File Online With Iowa Fast Track Filing

File Online

- OR -

OPTION 2: File the Certificate of Organization by Mail or by Fax

Read Requirements


State Filing Cost: $50, payable to the Secretary of State

Mailing Address:
Lucas State Office Building
321 E 12th St
Des Moines, IA 50319

Fax: (515) 242-5953

Step 4: Create an Operating Agreement

An operating agreement isn't required for Iowa LLCs, but it's a good practice to have one.

What is an operating agreement? An operating agreement is a legal document outlining the ownership and operating procedures of an LLC.

Why are operating agreements important? A comprehensive operating agreement ensures that all business owners are on the same page and reduces the risk of future conflict.

For more information on operating agreements, read our Iowa LLC operating agreement guide.

Step 5: Get an EIN

What is an EIN? An EIN or Employer Identification Number is a nine-digit number issued by the Internal Revenue System (IRS) to identify a business for tax reporting purposes. An EIN is essentially a Social Security number (SSN) for your company.

Why do I need an EIN? An EIN number is required for the following:

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Free EIN: You can get an EIN from the IRS website (free of charge) after forming your business.

Iowa LLC Cost FAQ

Do you have to pay for an Iowa LLC every year?

Iowa LLCs have to pay a $60 biennial report fee every other year. Visit our Iowa LLC biennial report guide for more information.

Is an LLC really necessary?

An LLC provides limited liability protection. This means an LLC protects your personal assets in the event of a business loss, such as a lawsuit or unpaid debt.

We recommend any small business that carries even the smallest amount of risk or liability to form an LLC. Learn more in our Should I Start an LLC guide.

What is the cheapest way to get an LLC?

You can save money on getting an LLC by completing the formation process yourself, making your own operating agreement, being your own registered agent, and getting your own EIN.

Check out our How to Save Money Forming Your LLC guide to learn more.

Can I pay myself a salary from my LLC?

You can pay yourself a salary from your LLC, but it would be called a draw or distribution if your LLC is taxed in the default way by the IRS.

Visit our How to Pay Yourself from an LLC guide to learn more.

Is an S corp better than an LLC?

An S corporation (S corp) is an IRS tax status, not a type of business entity. An LLC can be taxed in the default way or as an S corp. For some businesses, being taxed as an S corp can make lots of sense.

Check out our LLC vs. S corp guide to find out if S corp status is right for your business.

What’s better: sole proprietorship or LLC?

A sole proprietorship is only good for businesses that carry very low risk of liability because sole proprietorships don’t offer any liability protection.

Learn more in our sole proprietorship vs. LLC guide.

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