A Registered Agent in Iowa provides various services, such as accepting formal documents and correspondence from the IA Secretary of State.

Your corporation must have Iowa Registered Agent services at all times. You appoint one when you first form your business. You can also replace your existing agent after formation, provided there is no period during which your business is without a Registered Agent.

 

Requirements for a Registered Agent in Iowa

  • Every corporation, domestic or foreign, must have a Registered Agent with a registered office within the State of Iowa at all times.
  • The Registered Agent can be a domestic or foreign (licensed to transact business in the state) artificial legal entity (corporation, LLC, LP or LLP) or a natural person.
  • If the Registered Agent is a company, they must be authorized to conduct business in Iowa.
  • If the Registered Agent is a person, they must live in Iowa.
  • The Registered Agent must be available in person to sign for any correspondence during regular business hours.
  • The Registered Office must be located in the state of Iowa at a street address (a P.O. Box is not acceptable).

The address for your Registered Agent in Iowa doesn't need to be the same as your business address. In fact, you can use a Iowa virtual mailbox for your business address.

Important: A virtual mailbox is not a replacement for a Registered Agent. They perform two separate functions and per IA corporation law, you are required to have a Registered Agent.

What Iowa Registered Agents Do

A Registered Agent’s primary function is to accept official communications, correspondence and documentation, including but not limited to:

  • State and federal government correspondence and notices
  • Service of process notices (e.g., if your corporation is sued or required to appear in court)
  • Correspondence from the IA Secretary of State
  • Tax forms and requests to complete permits, company filings and reports

Having a Registered Agent also allows you to prove to the state that your business exists.

Incfile Provides Free Iowa Registered Agent Services for the First Year

Incfile provides complete Iowa Registered Agent services for any corporation formed in the state. Even better, if you form your corporation through Incfile, your Registered Agent is completely free for the first year and only $119 a year after that.

Incfile is authorized to conduct business in Iowa and able to legally act as your Registered Agent. Here’s what our Iowa Registered Agent services include:

An always-available Registered Agent who can receive correspondence, documents and legal proceedings on your corporation's behalf

A digital dashboard where you can access, store and retrieve any information we’ve received for your business

Email notification whenever we receive documents for your business

Automatic forwarding of all legal correspondence, documentation and information directly to you

 

Appointing a Registered Agent for Your Corporation

When you initially form an Iowa State corporation, you must appoint a Registered Agent at that time. You can change the agent at any time after that. Here’s how.

Assign a Registered Agent When You Form Your Corporation

Your business needs to have a Registered Agent as soon as it’s formed. You can do this two ways:

1
File Your Articles of Incorporation with the IA Secretary of State

When you create your business, you must include your Registered Agent's information in your Articles of Incorporation.

2
Get a Free Registered Agent When You Incorporate with Incfile

If you form your business through us, you’ll get our Registered Agent service free for one year. We’ll use the information you provide to complete and file your Articles of Incorporation for you.

Assign a New Registered Agent After Incorporation

You may choose to assign someone else as your Registered Agent in Iowa after you’ve incorporated. There are a couple of ways to do this.

1
Choose a New Registered Agent Service and File a Form with the IA Secretary of State

Once you’ve chosen a new Registered Agent, you can complete the Statement of Change form available on the Secretary of State website. Once you’ve filled it out, send it to the IA Secretary of State. There is no filing fee to update your records.

2
Sign up for Incfile’s Registered Agent Service and We’ll File the Change on Your Behalf

When you use our Registered Agent service, we take care of all the form filling and filing for you. We’ll collect the pertinent information about your business, complete the form and send it to the IA Secretary of State on your behalf. We’ll notify you when we officially become your Registered Agent.

IA Registered Agent Search

In some situations, you may need to know the name of the Registered Agent that represents other IA corporations. You'll find this information in the state's business database.

If you can’t find the Registered Agent information there, you can request it from the Secretary of State.

What Happens If You Don’t Have a Registered Agent?

If you don’t assign or provide a Registered Agent's details to the Secretary of State, you may be subject to certain ramifications, including but not limited to:

  • Getting sued or served and not knowing about it. You could lose to a default judgment in your absence if your corporation is sued and you don’t respond.
  • Falling out of good standing with the IA Secretary of State. The state may revoke your right to do business if you don’t respond to certain correspondence (such as a request for your biennial report).
  • Losing your status as a corporation in the state. A Registered Agent is evidence to the state that your business exists. Without it, you could lose your business entity protections and your corporation may be dissolved.
 

Acting as Your Own Registered Agent

You may elect to be the Registered Agent for your Iowa corporation if you have a business office in the state. There are some drawbacks to this approach:

  • Someone must always be present during business hours at the Iowa address to sign for important documents.
  • The Registered Agent must have a physical street address in Iowa. If you’re forming a corporation outside the state, you’ll need to use an in-state Registered Agent.
  • The Registered Agent’s name and address are part of the public record and available through the IA Secretary of State website. If you prefer to keep your name and address private, you should use a Registered Agent service.
  • If you change your business address or move out of state, you need to file additional documentation with the Secretary of State for the new address. This won't be necessary if you use a Registered Agent service, making a move or address change much simpler.

Other Useful Resources

FAQs About Iowa Registered Agents

Do I Need to Secure a Registered Agent in Iowa?

Yes. All business entities are required to have a service of process agent (Registered Agent). This is mandated by the Iowa SOS. You'll find more information above.

When Do I Need to Assign a Registered Agent in Iowa?

You must assign a Registered Agent when you form your business with the Secretary of State. You can change your agent afterward by filing the correct form. If you form your business through Incfile, we’ll file all the necessary forms on your behalf. You'll find more information above.

Can I Be My Own Registered Agent in Iowa?

Yes, but we don’t recommend it for the reasons listed above.

Does the Registered Agent for My Iowa-Based Corporation Need to Have an Address in Iowa?

Yes. And if you use a company as your Registered Agent, that company must be legally able to conduct business in the state. You'll find more information above.

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