Search for and Register Your LLC Name with the Iowa Secretary of State
Whether you’re searching for the right Iowa business name or registering your LLC with the IA Secretary of State, we can help. We’ve got all the information you need on an Iowa business entity search, LLC naming rules, fictitious names and registering your business.
Iowa Secretary of State Business Searches for LLCs
You need to check whether there’s already another Iowa LLC registered with your desired business name. That means searching the Iowa Secretary of State website using their business entity search tool. You can easily look up IA LLCs and corporations by name and other details.
If the business name is already used, that means it’s not available and you won’t be able to register it. Try running an LLC search for a different business name instead.
Iowa Secretary of State business name search tool
Iowa Secretary of State Rules for Naming Your LLC
Once you’ve decided on a name for your LLC and checked business name availability, you’ll need to meet Iowa Secretary of State naming rules. These do vary from state to state — we’ve got general naming rules below, as well as naming rules specific to LLC businesses formed in IA.
Your LLC Business Name Must Be Unique
The business name you have chosen cannot be used by any other LLC or corporation in the state of Iowa. This is why you should check business name availability on the IA SOS website.
Your LLC Business Name Must Not Be Confusable with Another Business Name
It’s not enough for your IA LLC name to be unique. It also cannot be similar to the name of a corporation or LLC in Iowa. For example, you cannot use the following factors to say your name is different from the name of another business:
- Suffixes, such as Corporation, Company, Incorporated, Incorporation, Limited, Corp., Co., Inc., Ltd., LLC, etc.
- Definite articles like “A,” “And,” “An,” “&,” “The,” etc.
- The singular, plural or possessive forms of a word
- Abbreviations, punctuation, symbols, fonts, typefaces, etc.
Your LLC Business Name Must Contain Certain Words
All LLCs must have the words “Limited Liability Company,” “L.L.C.” or “LLC” in their name. These words should normally come at the end of the name.
Your LLC Business Name May Have Other General Restrictions
Most states will not allow you to form LLCs with names that:
- Are very similar to the name of a federal or IA agency or organization (e.g., FBI, FDA, Iowa Department of Revenue, Iowa Police, Treasury, etc.)
- Suggest affiliation with a federal or state agency or organization
- Use the term “Olympic” or any terms that are trademarks of the Olympic organization
- Imply a purpose that would be illegal for your business to carry out
DBA/Fictitious Names in Iowa
You might choose to do business under a different name from your legal LLC name. In Iowa, doing business under a different name is known as a “Fictitious Name.” You might choose to use a different name from your formal IA LLC name for a variety of reasons.
For example, your LLC might be called Iowa Recycling Holding Company LLC and you provide services as New Bins Composting and Recycling. You should file a fictitious name to let the Iowa Secretary of State know. In Iowa, you do that through a fictitious name form or you can have Incfile file it on your behalf through our Fictitious Business Name service.
Incfile’s Fictitious Name service
Register Your Business Name with the Iowa Secretary of State
Once you’ve searched for your Iowa business name, checked availability, followed the naming rules and decided whether you need a fictitious name, you can register your IA LLC name. There are a couple of ways to do this.
If you don’t want to form your Iowa LLC right now, you can reserve the business name with the Iowa Secretary of State. You will need to complete an Application for Reservation of Name and file it with the IA SOS. You do not need to reserve a name if you are forming your business right away.
Iowa SOS LLC name reservation form.
- If you’re ready to start your Iowa LLC, you can formally file your Certificate of Organization with the Iowa SOS, or let Incfile take care of it for you.
FAQs on Naming Your Iowa LLC
You might find the following answers useful.
How Do I Search for My Iowa LLC Business Name?
Just go to the business name search tool and enter your proposed business name. You can search the register of the Iowa Secretary of State, which will tell you if there are any IA corporations or LLCs with that name.
Can I Do Business Under a Different Name Than My LLC Name in Iowa?
Yes. Known as “assumed names,” “fictitious names,” “doing business as names” or “trade names,” you can choose to conduct business under a different name. Details are above.
Can I Reserve a Name for My Iowa LLC?
Yes. The Iowa Secretary of State allows you to reserve a name if you don’t want to start your business immediately. Details are above. If you are ready to start your business now, you do not need to reserve a name.
Useful Resources for Naming Your Iowa LLC
You might find these resources helpful.
Trademarks and Service Marks
You must be careful that your Iowa LLC name does not infringe on the trademark or service mark of another business. The easiest way to make sure your proposed business name does not infringe is to carry out a trademark search through Incfile. If it doesn’t infringe, you can even register it as a trademark yourself.
Incfile Trademark Search and Registration service
Find the Perfect Name for Your Iowa LLC
The perfect business name can be elusive. We have a complete guide to choosing the right business name, but basically, you'll want to choose a name that will:
- Appeal to your customers
- Be memorable enough to stand out
- Best represent your product or services
- Not be used by another business
Incfile guide to choosing a business name