How Much Does It Cost to Form an IA Corporation?
Legal business registration — and maintaining good standing — involves necessary expenses and investment. Some of these costs are payable to the IA Secretary of State, while others are due to additional state entities or the federal government. Here are some common requirements and fees.
Please note that fees for a State of Iowa business license or permit may be due when you first form your business, on an ongoing schedule or on an ad hoc basis. Find more details below.
Initial Iowa Corporation Filing Fees
When starting a business in Iowa State, you’ll need to file a form and pay a filing fee. Here are the current Iowa corporation filing fees and times:
When you use Incfile to register a business in Iowa, we charge you the state filing fee and forward it to the Secretary of State when we file your incorporation paperwork.
Employer Identification Number
Every corporation in the country should have a unique EIN (Employer Identification Number) from the Internal Revenue Service. You'll use your EIN when you open a business bank account, file taxes and pay employees. You can get one directly from the IRS, or Incfile can get one for you.
If you want to do business in a state other than the one where your business is based, you must create a Foreign Corporation.
Iowa Foreign Corporation Registration
Before you can bring an arm of your business from another state into Iowa, you must request Iowa Foreign Qualification. This means the state gives you permission to conduct business there.
To request registration of an Iowa Foreign Corporation, you must complete an Application for Certificate of Authority and pay a processing fee of $100. The state may have additional registration requirements, so contact the Iowa Secretary of State directly for more information and to ensure you're in compliance with IA corporation law.
Foreign Qualification to Operate in Another State
If you plan to expand your Iowa corporation into another state, you’ll first need Foreign Qualification or a Certificate of Authority from that state. This is necessary before you can create a physical presence, hire employees or bank in that state.
You'll likely have to complete at least one application and pay a filing fee, but each state has its own requirements. Before you start the process, compare state filing times and state filing fees so you can plan accordingly.
Above all, contact the state government entity that administers business (usually the Secretary of State) to confirm their requirements and for specific instructions.
If you need assistance, Incfile provides a complete Foreign Qualification service for all states.
Iowa Annual Report Requirements
Most states require business entities to file an annual (or other periodic) report. Iowa requires a biennial report to be filed once every odd year with the IA Secretary of State.
To complete your biennial report it is requested by the Secretary of State that you file it online accompanied with a filing fee of $60.
April 1st of odd-numbered years
State of Iowa Business License and Permit Requirements
Before you start doing business, you must secure the necessary state, federal or local business licenses and permits to operate your corporation. Some of the fees will only need to be paid once, while others may be ongoing charges.
Permits and licenses vary based on:
You are required to have Iowa corporation bylaws if you form a corporation in the state. You don't need to file them with the Iowa Secretary of State, but make sure you have them with your business documents and by all means, continue to follow them.
The bylaws must then be adopted (and amended, if necessary) by the board of directors and shareholders.
Despite their not being legally required, a set of bylaws can be extremely helpful in making sure you’re organized and can help protect your business from any future changes and events that may affect your business.
Other IA Corporation Filing Requirements and Fees
The State of Iowa requires you to complete a few more tasks before you can begin conducting business.
In Iowa, the board of directors may elect officers such as the president, vice president, secretary, treasurer, etc. One of the officers must hold the responsibility of preparing minutes of the directors’ and shareholders’ meetings and for maintaining and authenticating the records of the corporation required to be kept. The same individual may simultaneously hold more than one office.
Issue Stock to Shareholders
To raise business capital and keep it separate from company owners' money, every Iowa corporation must sell stock to its shareholders. The Articles of Incorporation must authorize the sale of at least one class of share, and the corporation cannot sell more shares than are authorized.
Hold Annual General Meetings
Corporations must hold annual meetings, but if you fail to do so, Iowa Code Title 12, Chapter 490, § 490.701 states, "The failure to hold an annual meeting at the time stated in or fixed in accordance with a corporation’s bylaws does not affect the validity of any corporate action."
Change the Registered Agent
If your corporation is based in Iowa, then you must have a Registered Agent in the state. You'll need to appoint one when you file your Articles of Incorporation. You can also change to a new Registered Agent later by filing a form at no charge.
Reserving a Name for Your Corporation
If you're not quite ready to start your business, you can reserve a name for 120 days with the Secretary of State by filing a form and paying a fee of $10. First, conduct an IA corporation search and learn the state's business naming rules to ensure you choose a name that meets legal requirements.
Amending Facts About Your Corporation
When you incorporate in Iowa, the initial business forms you fill out include certain facts about your business at that time. Through the years, some or all of this information may change. If it does, you'll need to file Articles of Amendment via the online Fast Track Filing system with the Secretary of State. A fee of $50 is applied for this service. You can do this yourself or Incfile can do it for you.
Get a Certificate of Good Standing
Some organizations may request that you prove your corporation's compliance with laws and tax requirements. In most states, this proof is provided with a Certificate of Good Standing. In this state, it's simply a Certificate of Standing.
If you need to prove you have met your commitments, you’ll need to request an IA Certificate of Standing from the Secretary of State. You can do this via the Fast Track Filing sytem. The fee for this service is $5.
The information listed above details many of the fees a standard corporation will be required to pay in Iowa. In some circumstances, there may be other one-off, periodic or ad hoc fees not listed above.
Of course, your corporation will also probably need to pay federal, state, self-employment (if it's an S Corp) and other taxes. You'll find more information on the Iowa taxes page.