Form an LLC in Iowa with Inc Authority for Free

With 30+ years of experience and 250K successful business launches under its belt, Inc Authority is a leader in providing business formation services. It’s completely free and makes starting an LLC easier, so use it today.

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1 Year Registered Agent Service Free

Free LLC formation services in Iowa or any other state with no hidden costs or service charges.

Complimentary registered agent services for the first year, even for the free plan customers.

Free S-Corp formation services including filing Form 2553 of the Internal Revenue Service.

Things to Know Before Starting an LLC in Iowa

As a new entrepreneur, it’s important that you understand the initial costs involved in starting an LLC in Iowa. Though it’s a fairly affordable state to start a business, knowing the costs involved can help you be better prepared.

Here are some of the key costs involved in starting and running an Iowa LLC.

  • To form a Domestic LLC in Iowa, you will need to submit your Certificate of Organization along with a filing fee of $50.
  • If you want expedited processing, you can pay an additional $50 for two-day service and $15 for five-day processing.
  • Every LLC needs to submit a biennial report, which has a filing fee of $30 for online filing and $45 for manual filing.
  • To create a foreign LLC, you will need to submit a Foreign Registration Statement along with a $100 filing fee.

Apart from these, there will of course be other business startup costs. Still, if you want to determine if Iowa is the right place for starting a business, these will give you a fair idea of the costs involved.

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Choose a Name for Your LLC

The first step toward forming an LLC in Iowa is choosing an appropriate name for your LLC. This should be something that represents your business well, follows the state’s naming conventions, and is not used by any other business.

Shortlist a few names that fit the requirements and search the state database to see if any other businesses have the same or similar names. Choose a business name that’s available for use and won’t cause any legal issues. 

Reserve a Business Name and Domain

Reserve a Business Name and Domain

The business formation process can be long and complicated. That’s why it’s prudent to reserve your business name once it’s finalized. In Iowa, you can reserve a name for 120 days by applying for it with the Secretary of State.

It’s also advisable to find and buy a domain name that matches your business name. Doing so at a later date is not recommended as you may find that a corresponding domain name may not be available, so do it early on.

Appoint an Iowa Registered Agent

To ensure that you don’t miss any important correspondence or legal notices, it’s important to have a registered agent. This can be an adult individual or an organization with a physical local address in the state of Iowa.

You can, of course, choose to be your own registered agent but that would require you to be present at the registered address during all business hours. This can be limiting for you, so it’s best to hire a professional for this purpose.

Appoint an Iowa Registered Agent
Choose the Type of LLC You Want to Form

Choose the Type of LLC You Want to Form

Depending on whether you’re starting a new business or expanding one, you may need to form a domestic LLC or a foreign LLC. To form a domestic LLC in Iowa, you need to submit the Certificate of Organization with the $50 filing fee.

To form a foreign LLC, you will need to submit a Foreign Registration Statement with a $100 filing fee. This will allow you to expand your existing business within the state of Iowa and give you permission to run operations there.

Create an Iowa LLC Operating Agreement

Though it’s not a legal requirement, it’s good practice to draft a comprehensive LLC operating agreement. This is a document that members draft, wherein they provide details on how the business will be run and decisions will be made.

Since the rules of management are created by the members, everyone is on the same page. This also helps avoid conflict among members or other managers as there will be clear rules for how different situations should be handled.

Create an Iowa LLC Operating Agreement
Register Your LLC by Filing an Iowa Certificate of Organization

Register Your LLC by Filing an Iowa Certificate of Organization

This is where you officially register your business with the Iowa Secretary of State. To form an LLC in Iowa, you need to submit a certificate of organization along with a $50 filing fee to the Secretary of State’s office in Iowa.

This should contain all important information related to your business, such as the business name and address. If you want to get your application processed quickly the state of Iowa offers expedited filing options at a cost.

Get a Federal EIN or Tax ID

If you’re planning to hire employees for your business, you will need an Employer Identification Number. Also known as a Tax ID, this is the number that the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) uses to identify your business for tax purposes.

It will also come in handy when you open a bank account for your business or try to seek funding from investors. Having an EIN is a must as it’s useful for various business purposes and lends credibility to your new business.

Get a Federal EIN or Tax ID
Open a Business Bank Account

Open a Business Bank Account

One key benefit of forming an LLC is that it offers limited liability protection to its members. This means that LLC members’ personal assets will not be seized to pay off the company’s debts or fulfill its financial obligations.

To make that possible, it’s important to keep the business and members’ personal finances separate. That’s why you need to open a separate bank account for your LLC in Iowa to keep business finances and assets separate.

Get the Required Federal and State Permits

Even after you’ve legally registered your LLC, you can’t start operations until you acquire all the licenses and permits required for your business. These will depend on the type of business you plan to run and your business location.

You may require different permits at federal, state, and county levels. For specific types of businesses, you will need special permits. For example, you may need food or liquor permits if you plan to start a restaurant or food business in Iowa.

Get the Required Federal and State Permits
Choose How You Want Your LLC to Be Taxed

Choose How You Want Your LLC to Be Taxed

An LLC in Iowa is treated as a pass-through entity for tax purposes, which means that business income passes to owners who then pay taxes. By default, this pass-through taxation structure will be followed for your new LLC in Iowa.

However, you have the option to choose if you want your LLC to be taxed as a C-Corp or an S-Corp. Doing so has its own set of advantages and disadvantages, so you need to consider those before you decide how you want your LLC to be taxed.

File for a DBA (Optional)

If you want to use a shorter name than your registered LLC name for your business, you can apply for a Doing Business As. This will allow you to register an assumed name or fictitious name that you can use for your day-to-day business.

As the business names are typically longer and include words like LLC or Limited, they are not the best for marketing purposes. Using a shorter name is better for branding and marketing purposes as it’s easier to remember for your customers.

File for a DBA (Optional)
Stay Compliant with the StateGÇÖs Regulations

Stay Compliant with the State’s Regulations

If you’ve completed all the steps above, you’re ready to start your business operations. However, your job doesn’t end here, nor does your relationship with the state. You still need to stay compliant with the state’s laws and regulations.

The two key things to take care of include paying taxes on time and filing your business reports as frequently as required. Iowa currently requires a biennial report for LLCs, but that can change, so keep up with and follow all the rules.

Why Should You Outsource LLC Formation?

Starting an LLC in Iowa requires multiple steps and is not as easy as you may think. Hiring a professional to handle the process makes sense if you want to ensure that things go smoothly. Here are some reasons to outsource.

Smooth Process

Smooth Process

When experts handle your business filings, things are more streamlined and less of a hassle for you. You provide the information and the service provider will do the rest.

100_ Accuracy

100% Accuracy

Outsourcing the process to professionals who do this regularly reduces your chances of making an error and getting your business registration application rejected.

Quick Filing

Quick Filing

Filling out and filing tedious forms and applications can take a lot of time if you do it yourself. Professionals can do it much quicker and even provide expedited filing services.

Form Your Iowa LLC Today

Provides Limited Liability Protection for Members

A Limited Liability Company protects its members from being held personally liable for paying off business debts. If the business fails, only business assets can be taken to pay off the debts, and members’ personal assets remain safe.

 Unless a member uses their personal asset as collateral for a business loan or co-signs an agreement, they are completely safe. That’s why it’s called limited liability protection as it’s not as robust as that of a C-Corp but still a great benefit.

Provides Limited Liability Protection for Members
Offers Ownership Flexibility

Offers Flexibility in How it Can be Taxed

A single-member LLC is taxed as a Sole Proprietorship by default. A multi-member Iowa LLC, however, can choose whether it wants to be taxed as a General Partnership, C-Corporation, or an S-Corporation, depending on its needs.

By default, the LLC will be considered a pass-through entity and be taxed as a Partnership. This means that the LLC’s profits and losses go directly to the members, who will then file personal income tax returns on their incomes.

Cheap to Form and Run

Compared to a more formal entity like a Corporation, an LLC is a lot more affordable. It’s cheaper to form and run. To form an LLC in Iowa, you just need to pay a one-time filing fee of $50 when filing your Iowa LLC Certificate of Organization.

The only necessary recurring cost that you will incur is the $30 filing fee for filing your LLC’s biennial report. You may need other types of one-off business filing requirements, all of which have affordable fees ranging from $5 to $50.

Cheap to Form and Run
Requires Minimal Paperwork

Requires Minimal Paperwork

Unlike a Corporation, which requires board members to hold regular meetings and record minutes, the paperwork required to run an LLC is minimal. It simply needs an LLC operating agreement, which is also optional in many states.

LLCs only need to prepare and submit a biennial report, unlike the annual report for corporations. The documents required for registering an LLC are fewer than those required for registering more formal business structures.

Is Easy to Manage

A Limited Liability Company is easy to manage and provides a lot of management flexibility, especially when compared to a C-Corp. LLC owners can decide among themselves how they want the LLC to be managed.

It can be member-managed or manager-managed. Even the rules of governance can be decided by the members and laid out in the LLC operating agreement. Changing these rules or making critical decisions is also not very complex. 

Is Easy to Manage
Offers Ownership Flexibility

Offers Ownership Flexibility

An LLC in Iowa can be owned by any number of members, with no upper limits like those on the number of shareholders of an S-Corp. These members can be either individuals or companies, with very few restrictions.

This means that other LLCs, trusts, or other business entities can be members of an LLC. Even foreign residents or foreign entities can be members of an LLC. Only a few types of organizations are restricted to be members of an LLC.

Has the Ability to Hold Assets

An LLC is a pass-through entity for tax purposes, but it is still considered separate from its owners for all legal intents and purposes. This gives a Limited Liability Company certain legal rights, similar to those held by individuals.

One such legal right is that an LLC can buy business assets in its own name. It can be property, equipment, or any type of physical or intellectual property. These business assets will be separate from members’ personal assets.

Has the Ability to Hold Assets
Can Enter into Business Contracts

Can Enter into Business Contracts

As explained earlier, an LLC is a legal entity with the right to hold its own assets. Another legal right that it possesses is that it can enter into contracts with vendors, suppliers, and investors in the name of the business.

This means that a member does not necessarily have to co-sign business loans and other contracts under their name. This helps protect the LLC members from being held personally liable for business debts and liabilities.


Here are the features you’ll get with this plan:

  • LLC formation: Get a free LLC formation service where a team of experts will prepare, review, and file your Iowa Certificate of Organization.
  • LLC name availability check: You can use a free tool to check whether your chosen business name is available for use within the state of Iowa.
  • Free registered agent services: You get complimentary registered agent services for the first year, after which you will need to pay for the service.
  • Online document management: You can store all your business formation and legal documents online and easily manage their access through your account.
  • Brief tax consultation: Get a brief consultation with a tax expert who will guide you on how to save money on taxes and how to prepare and file taxes. 
  • S-Corp formation: Get help with filing Form 2553 of the IRS to elect to be taxed as an S-Corp for tax purposes and get the special S-Corp tax status.
  • Business funding analysis: You can consult an expert who will assess your short-term business funding needs and offer some solutions for your LLC.

The free plan is perfect for those looking to form an LLC and don’t need other business services.


Here are the additional services you’ll get with this plan:

  • LLC operating agreement: Get a template to create a comprehensive LLC operating agreement along with expert help on how to draft one.
  • Employer Identification Number: Take expert help to apply for a Tax ID and let them take care of preparing and filing your federal EIN application.
  • Corporate forms and documents package: Get templates for a variety of business documents, such as agreements, contracts, and more.
  • Annual compliance notifications: You will get notified of any upcoming compliance deadlines, such as the last day to pay taxes in Iowa. 
  • Detailed tax consultation: Get access to a tax expert who will help you with your entire tax preparation and filing process and answer any questions.
  • Web domain + 5 business email addresses: Work with Inc Authority’s partner to create a website for your business that can help you win more leads.

If you need services like applying for an EIN or website development in addition to an LLC formation, then opt for this plan.

Price: Custom


Here are the additional services you’ll get over the Starter plan:

  • Customer success advisor: This will be a dedicated point-of-contact for your business within Inc Authority. They will help guide you through the various processes and help you make the most of Inc Authority’s services.
  • Private banking specialist: This is an expert who specializes in private banking and will help you with your banking needs. From helping you understand your requirements to offering the best options, they’ll help you through it all.
  • Personalized business advisory: You will get access to various experts in different business areas who will help you with starting and running a successful business. You can get expert business advice from a range of experts.
  • Expedited preparation & filing: As a top-tier customer, your application will be treated with utmost priority and be filed within the same day. This will help you get your business started much faster than you would otherwise.

This is the most exclusive plan offered by Inc Authority for its top clients. It’s perfect for those who want priority service and treatment.

Price: Custom

Why Choose Inc Authority to Form an LLC in Iowa

Inc Authority has three decades of experience and is one of the most trusted LLC formation services providers. Here are some reasons why you should choose its services to form an LLC in Iowa.

Free Service

Free Service

Companies similar to Inc Authority charge a lot for the same services that it offers for free. There are no service charges for forming an LLC and no hidden costs.

Unmatched Expertise

Expert Guidance

When you choose Inc Authority, you will get to work with experts in various business fields, who can guide you on how to successfully form and run your business.


Simple Process

When you let experts take care of the process, they get it done more efficiently and quickly. You just need to fill out an online form and provide all the details and they do the rest.

Form an LLC with Inc Authority


Here’s the process to set up an LLC in Iowa:

  • Choose a name for your LLC that is unique and perfectly represents your new business.
  • If you foresee a delay in registering your LLC, reserve your chosen business name for 120 days by paying just $10.
  • Find and hire a resident agent in Iowa who is willing and able to receive all business correspondence on your behalf.
  • Determine if you need to form a domestic LLC or a foreign LLC and find out the requirements for the one you want.
  • Draft a comprehensive operating agreement for your Iowa Limited Liability Company, covering all important details.
  • Register your LLC by filing an Iowa Certificate of Organization with the Secretary of State’s office.
  • Get a federal EIN or Tax ID as it’s an important identification that you will need for various business purposes.
  • Open a separate bank account for your business and set up accounting and bookkeeping processes for your business.
  • Get all the business licenses and permits you need to run your LLC in Iowa, be it at a federal, state, or local level.
  • Choose whether you want to go with the default pass-through taxation of an LLC or if you want your LLC to be taxed as a C-Corp or an S-Corp.
  • If you think your business name is too long and not marketable enough, file for a DBA to register an assumed name for your business.
  • Stay compliant with the state and federal laws, pay your taxes on time, and file your biennial reports properly.

It usually takes 1.5 to 2 weeks for your application to get processed. If you file online, you can submit the application instantly. If you send it via mail, you will need to count those additional days that it takes for the application to reach the Secretary of State’s office.

If you want your application processed quickly, you can opt for Iowa’s expedited business processing services. The two-day service costs $50 and the five-day service costs $20, over and above your regular LLC filing fee.

Here are some of the key benefits of an LLC:

  • Provides Limited Liability Protection: The members are not required to pay off the company’s debts and their personal assets are not at risk if the company fails to pay its debts.
  • Has a Flexible Tax Structure: An LLC can be taxed as a Partnership, S-Corp, or C-Corp, depending on its requirements and members’ preferences.
  • Cheap to Form and Run: Forming and managing an LLC is comparatively cheaper than running a Corporation, which is a more formal legal structure.
  • Requires Minimal Paperwork: There’s minimal paperwork involved in the LLC formation process. Simply submit your Certificate of Organization and you’re done.
  • Is Easy to Manage: LLCs are easy to manage as members get to decide how they want to run the business. There are no strict rules and stipulations, like there are for corporations.
  • Offers Ownership Flexibility: An LLC can have as many members as it requires and there are very few restrictions on who can be the members. It can be individuals and organizations, and even foreign residents are not restricted.
  • Has the Ability to Hold Assets: As a legal entity in itself, a Limited Liability Company has the right to buy assets in the business’s name. This helps keep the business assets separate from members’ personal assets.
  • Can Enter into Contracts: Limited Liability Companies can enter into business contracts and agreements with various stakeholders, without needing a member to co-sign the document. 

Overall, LLCs offer a plethora of benefits for their members and are a great choice for new business owners, especially small business owners.

Absolutely! Iowa is a good state to start an LLC as the initial filing fee and the biennial report filing fee are both nominal. The former costs $50, while the latter costs a mere $30 if filed online. The costs for manual filings are slightly higher but still nominal.

There are no strict regulations, so even as a new entrepreneur, there’s not much you need to do to stay in good standing with the state. Simply pay your taxes and file the biennial reports and things should be fine.

If you start an Iowa LLC yourself, you simply need to pay a filing fee of $50. You will, of course, incur other business expenses but the regulatory costs are limited to just that.

If you choose to outsource LLC formation services, the service provider may charge a few hundred dollars for their services. You can also choose a free business formation services provider like Inc Authority to get professional services for free.