Starting a company

How To Form A Corporation In Iowa

If you are thinking about Iowa corporation formation, then you are on the right track. It has several advantages, including limited liability, possible tax advantages, and increased credibility with investors and clients. Iowa provides a friendly atmosphere for new companies. In this guide, we'll walk you through the steps to establishing a corporation in Iowa, from selecting a name to filing the required papers with the state. So let's get going!

Choose a Corporate Name 

Selecting the ideal corporate name can be crucial in building your identity if you want to launch a business in Iowa.

Name Availability Search

Perform a name search on the Iowa Secretary of State's website. You can use this page to access the Business Entity Search feature, which lets you look up current company names that have been filed with the state.

It's essential to remember that a name may still be used by a business or a sole proprietor even if it isn't presently registered with the state. You might want to carry out a wider search incorporating online directories, social media platforms, and a standard web search to be 100% certain that the name you want is accessible.

Appoint a Registered Agent

One of the many choices you'll need to make when beginning a company is whether or not to designate a registered agent in lowa. A registered agent is an individual or organization chosen to receive significant legal and financial papers on your company's behalf.

Criteria for a registered agent in Iowa

  • A person who lives in Iowa or a company with a permit to conduct business there can serve as the designated representative.
  • You must have an actual location in Iowa where the person you choose to act as your authorized representative can receive law and tax papers during regular business hours. A post office box cannot be the location. 
  • You can also pick a company to act as your authorized representative. 

Choosing a Registered Agent Service

There are multiple things to consider when selecting an authorized agent business in Iowa. 

  • Search for a business that provides dependable and efficient paper delivery. 
  • The authorized representative should have a system to inform you of any emerging legal or tax issues quickly. 
  • They should be accessible during regular business hours to receive essential papers.
  • Price is another factor to take into account. It's crucial to pick a service that works within your budget and offers excellent value for the money.

Choosing an authorized agent service you feel at ease dealing with is crucial. A business with a reputation for providing exceptional customer service should be quick to your inquiries and concerns.

File Articles of Incorporation

A vital stage in creating a company is submitting the Articles of Incorporation. These formal papers list the company's name, address, goals, and ownership, among other fundamental details. 

How to File Online or by Mail ?

One initial step for Iowa business registration is to submit incorporation papers to the Iowa Secretary of State. All corporations and some other businesses must have this document, which formally creates your company as a legal body in the state.

You must include fundamental details about your company, such as its name, address, and goal, in your articles of incorporation in lowa. The quantity and kinds of stock your company is permitted to issue must also be mentioned.

Once your articles of incorporation are ready, you can submit them for filing with the Iowa Secretary of State's office. A registration charge must be paid, and you must also supply any additional paperwork or information requested by the state.

Online - You must register for an account with the Iowa Secretary of State's office and finish the web application to submit it online. This will entail stating the fundamental particulars of your company, such as its name, location, and function, and outlining the number and varieties of equity your corporation is permitted to issue. 

Mail: If you prefer to file by mail, you can download the articles of incorporation form from the Iowa Secretary of State's website and complete it manually. You must send a check to cover the filing cost. You can send the paperwork to the Iowa Secretary of State's office once you've filled it out and made the required payment.

Filing fee

Submitting incorporation papers for an Iowa domestic company online is $50. The price to submit by mail is $100. The registration cost is $100 whether you submit online or by mail if you're establishing a foreign corporation in Iowa.

Draft Corporate Bylaws

Iowa corporate bylaws are a requirement because they lay out the policies and processes that will guide how the company is run. 

Importance of Bylaws

  • They lay out the guidelines for making decisions, the duties of directors and officials, and the methods for having meetings and casting votes.
  • Compliance: The corporation's bylaws help ensure it complies with all applicable state laws and rules. They may also assist the company in preserving its reputation as a legitimate business.
  • Protection: The corporation, its members, and its officials may be shielded from responsibility by its bylaws. 
  • Trust: Bylaws can aid in establishing confidence and trust among stakeholders, such as stockholders, staff members, and clients. 

What to Include in Bylaws

  • A description of the objectives, aim, and purpose of the organization.
  • The requirements for membership, the procedure for joining, and the rights and responsibilities of members if your company will have them.
  • The composition of the board, including the number of members, their terms of office, and the methods used to elect and dismiss members.
  • The functions and duties of the various officials, including the president, vice president, clerk, and cashier.
  • The rules for the board of directors and group meetings, how often they will occur and how to schedule them.
  • The voting procedures and requirements, including the number of votes needed to approve a motion.
  • The procedure to collect and disperse money and manage its assets.
  • A clause that allows the bylaws to be amended in the future and outlines the procedure for submitting and passing changes.

Appoint Initial Directors and Hold First Board Meeting

A new corporation's initial directors should be chosen, and the first board conference should be held as one of the first stages. Setting the tone for future decision-making and starting your company requires this action.

Legal requirements for holding board meetings

When having board meetings, regulatory requirements must be adhered to. 

  • All of your board members must receive adequate notification of the meeting, a majority of the board must be present to conduct business, and the session must be properly recorded, including minutes detailing the decisions and actions. 
  • Additionally, boards are required to abide by any state and federal laws that may be in force, including securities laws and laws about corporate administration. The company and its directors risk legal and financial repercussions if these criteria are unmet. 
  • The conduct of all board sessions must therefore be by the relevant law standards.

How to hold a board meeting ?

Select a convenient time and place for all board members, and then convene a meeting after sending out the schedule. Several crucial subjects must be addressed, such as selecting committee members and electing officials, approving company bylaws and other administration papers, establishing a fiscal year, and issuing stock. 

Obtain an EIN from the IRS

You must acquire an Employer Identification Number (EIN) from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Similar to a person's Social Security number, your company or group will be given an EIN for Iowa corporations.

To obtain an EIN from the IRS, follow these steps.

How to Obtain an EIN ?

Online applications are the fastest and most practical method to obtain an EIN in Iowa. To apply online, visit the IRS website. You will have to fill out a form with details about your company, including your name, your Social Security number, and the formal name of your company. Additionally, you must disclose details about your company's legal form, including whether it is a corporation, limited liability company, partnership, or single proprietorship. (LLC).

Importance of EIN

Whether you're a company, partnership, or single proprietor, EIN pertains to you. To submit employment taxes to the IRS and to provide W-2 forms to your workers at the end of the year, you must have an EIN.

Iowa Business Tax Registration

  • Choose your tax obligations: The first stage is choosing the taxes your company must gather and remit. The Iowa Department of Revenue website can help you learn more about company taxation in Iowa.
  • Assemble the materials you need: To complete the registration procedure, you'll need to have some fundamental details about your company. This could include the name and location of your company, your Federal Employer Identification Number (EIN), and details about your company's operations.
  • Complete the online registration process: After gathering all the required data, you can finish the registration procedure online via the Iowa Department of Revenue website. To register for each sort of tax your company must collect, you must first establish an account and submit the necessary information.
  • Receive any required permits or licenses: Before starting your company, the state of Iowa may require you to receive extra permits or licenses. 

Sales Tax Registration

Registering for sales tax is one of the most important things you'll need to do when beginning a company in Iowa that includes selling products or services. Customers have assessed a fee known as sales tax on a selection of products and services, which is then forwarded to the state government.

Iowa business license and permits

  • Business licenses: The city or county in which you intend to conduct business may require you to apply for a general business license, depending on the location and type of your enterprise.
  • Professional licenses: Certain occupations, including those of a doctor, an attorney, and a bookkeeper, in Iowa call for professional licenses. The Iowa Professional Licensing Bureau page has more details on these criteria.
  • Permits for health and safety: The Iowa Department of Inspections and Appeals will issue you health and safety permits if your service is susceptible to causing health hazards. 
  • Building and zoning permits: structure and zoning permits are required from your local government if you intend to construct or modify a structure.
  • Environmental licenses: The Iowa Department of Natural Resources may require certain companies, such as those that handle dangerous materials or produce toxins, to acquire environmental permits.

Comply with Ongoing Requirements

You'll also need to adhere to ongoing requirements to keep your company in good status with the state and municipal government.

Annual reports

Iowa business owners must submit an Iowa annual reports to the Secretary of State's office. Simple information about your company, including your present location, registered agent, and the names of your executives and directors, is updated and provided to the state in the yearly report. 

Changes to Corporate Structure or Name

You must submit the necessary papers to the Iowa Secretary of State's office to alter your company's formal structure (for instance, from a sole proprietorship to an LLC). Depending on the sort of business body you're forming, this typically entails submitting articles of incorporation. Additionally, you'll need to secure any licenses and permissions your new company may require.

Consider Working with a Business Attorney or Incorporation Service

Starting and sustaining a company in Iowa can be difficult, which is why many businesses seek the assistance of a business counsel or registration service. A business attorney or incorporation service can help if you require assistance with paperwork, legal counsel, or other elements of beginning a company.


When opening a company in Iowa, careful preparation and consideration of administrative and legal requirements are necessary. There are many procedures to follow, from submitting yearly reports and getting licenses to paying taxes and changing your company's structure. By working with a business lawyer or registration service, you can get guidance through this process and ensure your company is prepared for success. You can establish a successful company in Iowa by receiving the proper assistance to realize your entrepreneurial dreams.

We can help!

At levy, we help early-stage founders streamline and automate regulatory and legal ops, HR, and finance so you can think of what matters most — your business.

We can help you streamline the incorporation process of your business and save up on time in the long run. Learn more.

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Note: Our content is for general information purposes only. Levy does not provide legal, accounting, or certified expert advice. Consult a lawyer, CPA, or other professional for such services.

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