Iowa LLC Formation Guide

This guide will help you set up an LLC in Iowa. It includes step-by-step instructions for obtaining tax IDs and filing documents.


Because they are affordable to set up, offer flexibility for the owners and are simple to manage, LLCs are the most preferred business structure. Your LLC legalizes your business and limits your personal liability. It also allows you to have tax flexibility. As you go through this process, the following steps will guide you.

Step-by-Step Iowa LLC Instructions

  1. Check Name Availability

    Your LLC’s legal name may not be in conflict with any registered name. You can search for the name you want to check availability.

    Name Search: Iowa Secretary of State

    Name Search

    Name Reservation: Optional
    Suffix: A limited liability company’s name must include the words “limited liability company” (or “limited company”) or the abbreviation L.L.C., “LLC”, or “LC”. “Limited” can be abbreviated to “Ltd.” and “company” as “Co.”

    Iowa Code SS489.108

  2. Designate a registered agent

    Before you can file to officially create your Iowa LLC, it is important to choose who your Iowa registered agent will ideally be. Register agents are the legal representative of a business that receives notices about lawsuits and other legal notices.

    Every LLC must have a registered agent according to state law. When you file Iowa articles or organization with the Iowa Secretary-of-State, the registered agent is identified.

  3. Iowa Certificate of Formation

    Iowa refers to the articles of organization as the certificate of organisation. To create a limited liability company, file the certificate of organisation.

    Agency: Iowa Secretary of State
    Certificate of Organization
    Filing Method You can send mail, fax or online
    Agency Fee: $50
    Turnaround: ~1-2 business days
    Iowa Code Chapter 489: Revised Uniform Limited Liability Company Act
  4. Establish Company Records

    Your LLC must maintain accurate and complete records. Your LLC’s first records will be your filed articles of organization. Other official records that your LLC may produce include:

    • Minutes of meetings
    • Operating agreement
    • EIN verification letter
    • Amendments to and other filings made by the LLC during its lifetime
  5. Make the Operating Agreement

    An Operating Agreement is the governing document of the LLC. This document outlines the rules and procedures for how the LLC will operate, such as holding an annual meeting. The agreement will be reviewed and approved at your organization meeting.

  6. Organise the Organizational Meeting

    The organizational meeting is the first meeting of members of an LLC. To conduct this meeting, you will need to have your operating agreement and the filed articles of organization. Keep a record of the meeting and keep it in your company records book.

  7. Register for a Federal Employer Identification Number.

    An EIN is required for any LLC that has more than one member, or hires employees. A bank account opening requires an EIN.

    Agency: Internal Revenue Service (IRS).
    IRS Form S-4
    Filing Method You can send mail, phone, fax or online.
    IRS fee $0
    Turnaround: Online or over the phone, immediately. 4 business days via fax. 4-6 weeks via mail
    Notes: Only certain hours are available for the IRS website. Before closing your session, print your EIN. For more information, please refer to IRS Pub 1635 Understanding Your EIN.
  8. Get Iowa State Tax Identification Numbers/Accounts

    Iowa LLCs that need to be registered for sales tax or use tax, automobile rental taxes, withholding tax, corporation tax, or both must file

    Send your submission to:
    Iowa Department of Revenue


    Form 78-005a: Iowa Business Tax Registration

    Iowa Department of Revenue Online Training
    Filing Method
    Mail or online
    The tax accounts and licenses required will determine the state fee.
    Approximately 4-6 weeks
  9. Consider Electing C-Corp Taxation or S-Corp Fiscal

    Your LLC will automatically be subject to pass-through taxation. However, the majority of LLCs maintain this tax classification. Certain LLCs can choose to elect S-Corp and C-Corp tax treatment.

    • Owner-employees with more than 75,000 per annum can benefit from S-Corp to reduce self-employment taxes.
    • Double taxation is a problem for C-Corps: members pay taxes on distributions and the corporation pays taxes. You may be eligible for C-Corp tax treatment if your profits exceed $250,000 or you offer employee benefits.
  10. Get Business Licenses and Permits

    You must have the appropriate licenses and permits to run your business legally. It is easy to find the right licenses and permits for your state and federal business.

    Iowa Business License



    Iowa does not require licensure for general business licenses.

    Iowa does not have an Iowa general business license, however local licenses are required.

  11. You must continue to file for your LLC

    You are required to file both federal and state tax returns.

    To maintain good standing with the secretary-of-state, many states require that business entities file an annual report. The table below shows the requirements for Iowa LLCs to file an annual report.

    Iowa Corporation Annual Report Requirements:

    Agency: Iowa Secretary of State
    Form: Available online. To obtain a printable form, click on the “No Account Required” option. Search for your entity record and then choose “File by Paper”.
    Filing Method Mail or online.
    Agency Fee: $60
    Due: April 1 for even-numbered years.
    Iowa Code SS 490.1622.
    Penalties: No late fee. Within a few months, your business can be dissolution or revoked.
    • Anybody with authority can file.
    • Signatures by an original are not required.