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How Much Does It Cost to Start an LLC in Iowa?

Legal business registration — and making sure your business is in good standing — involves some necessary expenses. Some of these costs are payable to the Iowa Secretary of State, while others are due to additional state entities or the federal government. Here are some of the most common requirements and fees.

Please note that Iowa business license and permit fees may need to be paid when you first form your business, on an ongoing schedule or on an ad hoc basis. Find more details below.

Initial Iowa LLC Fees

You’ll need to file as an LLC with the Iowa Secretary of State and pay a filing fee when you first formally form your business. Here are the current Iowa LLC fees and filing 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 form your LLC with us, Incfile will charge you this fee and forward it to the Iowa Secretary of State when we file your formation paperwork.

Incfile can file your formation paperwork for you for free — just pay the required Iowa LLC filing fee
Iowa allows you to form your LLC more quickly by paying an expedited fee

Employer Identification Number

Every LLC in the U.S. should obtain a unique Employer Identification Number (EIN) from the Internal Revenue Service. You'll use it when you open a business bank account, file taxes and pay employees. It's available at no cost from the IRS, or hace Incfile obtain one for you.

Foreign LLCs

When you want to do business in a state other than the one where your business is based, you must create a foreign LLC.

Iowa Foreign LLC Registration

Foreign companies are those which are formed in another state or country. In order to transact business in Iowa these entities must file an application with the Iowa Secretary of State's Office for Certificate of Authority.

The registration must be accompanied by a certificate of good standing or a certificate of existence from the domestic state of formation. Register your out-of-state foreign company online by filing an application for a certificate of authority with the SOS. The filing fee for an Iowa Foreign LLC is $100. The state may have additional requirements so contact the Iowa Secretary of State for more information.

Foreign Qualification to Operate in Another State

If you plan to expand your Iowa LLC into another state, you’ll first need Foreign Qualification or a Certificate of Authority from that state. This is necessary if you'll have a physical presence, employees or banking in that state.

This process will likely require you to complete an application and pay a filing fee. Each state typically has its own requirements, so you’ll want to contact the state government entity that administers business (usually the Secretary of State) for specific instructions.

If you need assistance, Incfile provides complete Foreign Qualification service for all states.

Annual Report Requirements

Most states — including Iowa — require businesses to file an annual (or other periodic) report with the Secretary of State. For the state of Iowa, they only require a biennial report filed once every odd year. When you file your biennial report, you’ll need to pay a fee of $60. Here are the Iowa annual report filing requirements:

Annual Report

Frequency

Biennially

Due Date

between January 1 and April 1 of the first odd-numbered year following the calendar year in which an LLC was formed

Filling Fee

$45
Incfile can also complete and file your Iowa biennial report on your behalf

Iowa Business License and Permit Requirements

As a business owner, it’s your responsibility to make sure you have the proper state, federal or local business licenses to operate your Iowa LLC. Some of the associated fees only need to be paid once, while others are ongoing charges.

Permits and licenses vary based on:

1

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

2

The location of your LLC (state, county or city) (e.g., a license to conduct business from the city of Des Moines)

3

The type of business you run (e.g., healthcare providers must meet HIPAA requirements)

Running your business without the required licenses may expose you to risks and fines from federal, state and local 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 LLC will need
  • The applications you'll need to file with the state, regional and federal licensing authorities

Operating Agreements

The state of Iowa doesn't require you to have an LLC Operating Agreement in place.

An Operating Agreement is a document that covers how the business will be run, how managers and members are chosen, rights and duties of members and several other key areas. It's usually filed with your Certificate of Organization at the time of formal formation.

This document can be extremely helpful in making sure you’re organized and prepared for any future events that may affect your business.

Incfile can draft a general Operating Agreement template when you form your Iowa business.

You can make changes to the template to accommodate any of your unique requirements.

Other Potential Iowa LLC Fees or Requirements

It is normal for your business to pay and meet several other fees and requirements during the life of your LLC. These ad hoc fees will only be payable in specific circumstances, as listed below.

Obtaining a Fictitious Name or DBA

If you want to establish an Iowa DBA (trade name), you must file a resolution to adopt a fictitious name with the IA Secretary of State and pay a filing fee of $5.

Incfile can file your Fictitious Name or DBA forms on your behalf

Changing the Registered Agent

Your LLC needs an Iowa Registered Agent, which you must appoint when you file your Certificate of Organization. You can also switch to a new Registered Agent later - free of cost - by filing a statement of change with the Iowa Secretary of State.

Have Incfile serve as your Registered Agent.

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

Reserving a Name for Your LLC

If you don’t want to form your LLC right away, you can reserve a business name for 120 days with the Iowa Secretary of State by filing an application for reservation of name and paying a filing fee of $10. First, perform an Iowa business search and learn about business name rules to ensure you choose a name that meets state requirements.

Amending Certain Facts About Your LLC

Your business formation documents state certain facts about your Iowa business at the time it's formed. Over time, these facts may change. If they do, you'll need to file an amendment to the certificate of organization with the Iowa Secretary of State for a filing fee of $50. You can do this yourself or have Incfile file the amendments on your behalf.

You may want to file an Information Change form when you:

  • Add, remove or change an LLC member or manager
  • Change the business address of your LLC
  • Alter the stated business activities of your LLC

Getting an Iowa Certificate of Existence

Some organizations will request that you prove your LLC’s compliance with laws and tax requirements. If you need to prove you have met your commitments, you’ll need a Certificate of Existence from the Iowa Secretary of State. You can obtain one by ordering a Certificate of Existence from the IA SOS, and paying a fee of $5.

Incfile can obtain an Iowa Certificate of Existence (or Good Standing) on your behalf

The fees listed above detail many of the charges a standard LLC will be required to pay in Iowa. In some unusual circumstances, there may be other one-off, periodic or ad hoc fees not listed above.

Of course, your LLC will also probably need to pay self-employment, payroll, federal, state and sales taxes. More information about taxes can be found on the Iowa Business Tax page

FAQs About Iowa LLC Fees

What Happens to the State Fees I'm Charged When Forming My LLC?

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

Where Do I Get Business Licenses and Permits for My LLC?

It depends on various factors, including:

  • The type of business you run
  • Where your business is located
  • Governing bodies in your industry
  • Federal, state and local regulations

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 LLC needs to be compliant.

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