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:

State Fee State Filing Time Expedited Filing Time
$50 3 Weeks 5 Business Days
State Fee $50
State Filing Time 3 Weeks
Expedited Filing Time 5 Business Days

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.

Incfile can file your incorporation paperwork for you for free.

Just pay the required Iowa corporation filing fees.

Iowa allows you to incorporate more quickly by paying a rush fee

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.

Foreign Corporations

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.

Annual Report

Frequency

Biennially

Due Date

April 1st of odd-numbered years

Filing Fee

$60
Incfile can complete and file your biennial report on your behalf

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:

1

The type of business you run (e.g., attorneys must pass the state bar exam)

2

The industry your corporation operates in (e.g., restaurants will need health permits)

3

The location of your corporation (state, county or city) (e.g., a license to conduct business in the city of Cedar Rapids)

Operating your corporation without the required State of Iowa business license can leave you vulnerable to risks, such as fines from local, state and federal governments.

You can research these permits and licenses yourself, or use Incfile’s Business License Research Package, which includes:

  • A complete report on all the licenses, permits and tax registrations your corporation will need
  • The applications you'll need to file with the local, state and federal licensing authorities

Corporate Bylaws

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.

Bylaws outline rules for carrying out tasks related to managing your corporation including, but not limited to:

  • The number of directors the corporation has
  • How they'll be elected, their qualifications and the lengths of their terms
  • When, where, and how your board of directors can call and conduct meetings
  • Voting requirements

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.

Appoint a Director

Some states require corporations to appoint a full board of directors. IA corporation law requires all corporations to have at least one director.

Appoint Officers

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."

Get an Assumed Name or DBA

If you want to register an Iowa DBA (fictitious name), you must file a form with the Secretary of State and pay a filing fee of $5.

Incfile can file your fictitious name or DBA forms on your behalf

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.

Let Incfile serve as your Registered Agent.

It’s free for the first year if you form your IA corporation with us and $119 a year after.

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.

You'll need to file Articles of Amendment when you:

  • Change the company's name
  • Add, remove or change a director
  • Change the Registered Agent
  • Change the number of shares your corporation is authorized to issue
  • Change any other facet of your business that was listed on the original Articles of Incorporation.

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.

Incfile can obtain an IA Certificate of Standing on your behalf

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.

FAQs About IA Corporation Filing Requirements and Fees

What Happens to the State Fees I'm Charged When I Incorporate?

We charge you this fee at cost and then pay it to the IA Secretary of State on your behalf when forming your business.

How Do I Get a Business License in Iowa?

It depends on various factors, including:

  • governing organizations in your industry;
  • federal, state and local regulations;
  • where you're located; and
  • the type of business you run.

Many new businesses need a business license, and you may be required to obtain additional licenses and permits. Our Business License Research Package can take the guesswork out of it for you and help you learn what your corporation needs to be compliant.

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