Why Start an IA Corporation?
The state of Iowa has a lot to offer. From loans and development programs to business tax incentives, corporations have several options to choose from. Your corporation may be able to take advantage of these incentives, provided it meets qualifying criteria.
For example, the Economic Development Set-Aside (EDSA) program provides financial assistance to businesses and industries requiring assistance to create or retain job opportunities in Iowa. EDSA develops viable communities that provide economic opportunities for people, especially those with low- and moderate incomes.
For many entrepreneurs looking to start a larger business, an IA corporation may be the best choice. As a corporation, your business is able to buy and trade stock, and when it comes to excess profits, corporations offer more flexibility than a limited liability company (LLC). A corporation is allowed to pass income and losses to its shareholders, who report taxes on an individual tax return at ordinary levels.
Is an LLC Better Than a Corporation?
It all depends on your goals. For smaller businesses, limited liability companies are generally a better option. LLCs are easier to set up and receive many of the same benefits as corporations, but with less regulation.
Learn more about forming a Iowa LLC so you can decide which business entity is right for you.
Benefits of Forming an Iowa C Corporation
Benefits of Forming an Iowa S Corporation
It offers several advantages similar to those provided by a C Corp including, but not limited to:
- Options for creating, transferring and selling stock, though not as many as a C Corp
- The capacity for up to 100 shareholders
- Simpler rules than those applicable to C Corporations
- Easy transfer of ownership simply by selling your stock
- The possibility of saving money by allowing you to pay less self-employment tax
In this guide, you’ll find information on naming your corporation, getting a Registered Agent, the fees you’ll need to pay, business taxes and much more. We also cover what you'll need to register your corporation and how you'll interact with the Secretary of State in Iowa.
Start a Business in Iowa Checklist
To help you along the way, use our Starting a Business checklist to keep track of everything you need to do to get your business up and running.
How to Form an IA Corporation Yourself in 6 Steps
Step 1 - Choose a Unique Business Name and Complete a State Business Search
Step 2 - Provide an Official Address for Your Corporation
Step 3 - Assign a Registered Agent
Step 4 - File Your Articles of Incorporation with the Iowa Secretary of State
Step 5 - Get an Employer Identification Number (EIN) from the Internal Revenue Service
Step 6 - Write Your Bylaws
Choose a Unique Business Name and Complete a State Business Search
Every Iowa corporation must have a unique name that isn't already being used by another business in the state. If you’re having difficulty deciding on a name, try using our Business Name Generator to gather ideas. You'll need to follow a few naming rules, which you can read about in detail on the Iowa Corporation Names page.
Once you’ve landed on a name, you’ll need to make sure it’s available in Iowa. To see whether another company in the state is using your desired business name, use our tool to do a Iowa entity search. You can also carry out a name search on the state's website.
Provide an Official Address for Your Corporation
All Iowa corporations must have a designated address. This address could be your home address (if you’re running your company from home), a building where your office is located or any physical address of your choice. The address can be outside the state of Iowa and can be a P.O. Box.
You may also be able to use a virtual mailbox for your business address. Incfile can provide you with an Iowa virtual mailbox where we'll receive your mail, scan and upload it for your online review. This can be especially helpful if you run a home-based business and don't want your home address published as part of your business public record.
Assign a Registered Agent
Someone who receives official correspondence and is responsible for filing reports with the Iowa Secretary of State is known as a Registered Agent. Every Iowa corporation is required to have a Registered Agent.
You may fill this position yourself, assign another manager in your business or use a Registered Agent service. If your Registered Agent in Iowa is a person, they must have a physical street address in Iowa and must be available during business hours to receive important documents on behalf of your company. You'll appoint your Registered Agent when you file your Articles of Incorporation with the Secretary of State and formally create your corporation.
All of Incfile’s business formation packages include Registered Agent service. It’s free for the first year and just $119 per year after that. You can also access a digital dashboard to view any document we've received on your behalf.
File Your Articles of Incorporation with the Iowa Secretary of State
Once you've gathered all the information for your corporation, you’ll need to file your Articles of Incorporation with the Secretary of State. To do this, the Iowa SOS has request that new business filings be completed using their Fast Track Filing service. Once you've filed you will have officially created your business.
Your Articles of Incorporation should be filed online via the state's digital portal. You can complete this yourself, or Incfile can file it on your behalf. The IA Corporation filing fee is $50.
You only need to file your Articles of Incorporation in Iowa once, but once every odd-numbered year, you'll also need to file a biennial report with the Secretary of State in IA. You'll do this via the Fast Track Filing system provided by the Secretary of State. Incfile can remind you about this every two years, or we can do it for you if you have us handle the paperwork.
What are the fees and requirements to incorporate in Iowa?
April 1st of odd-numbered years
Get an Employer Identification Number (EIN) from the Internal Revenue Service
You'll need an EIN to identify your business to the IRS. You use this number for filing and paying taxes, submitting payroll information and payments for your employees and opening a business bank account. You can obtain one directly from the IRS, or Incfile can get one for you as part of the IA corporation creation process.
A set of rules that govern how a corporation will be run, bylaws detail how many directors the corporation will have, whether the board of directors will have annual meetings and what the voting requirements will be, among other things.
Some states legally require companies to create bylaws, and the state of Iowa is one of them. You don't need to file your bylaws with the Secretary of State; simply keep them with your other business records.
It's always a good idea to write and follow bylaws to protect your business from any future changes and events.
Types of IA Corporations
Check with the Secretary of State to confirm whether your business should and can be a Professional Corporation.
Helpful Resources from the State of Iowa
How to search the state business registry and find the right name. Includes information on naming rules, fictitious names, reserving names for IA corporations and more.
How to appoint, change and search for Registered Agents. Also includes the duties they fulfill and the rules they’re required to follow.
Details the various fees you’ll need to pay and the state and federal requirements you’ll need to meet. Includes details about Employer Identification Numbers (EINs), state and federal business licenses, biennial reports and more.
Covers the various taxes you’ll have to pay to the state and federal governments. Includes details about state taxes such as income and sales, and federal taxes such as income and self-employment.