Welcome to the Start a Business guide designed specifically to assist corporate representatives through the registration process in Iowa. Filing a new or pre-existing corporation is a simple matter consisting of the drafting or completing of an incorporating document and the subsequent submission of the document to the Secretary of State. Filing fees range from $20 to $100 and can be paid online or through the mail. We encourage you to explore the more in-depth tutorials linked below to get a full understanding of what to expect going forward.

How to File

Step 1- Before attempting to file please ensure that your desired operating name is available in Iowa. You may cross-reference the business database to check for availability. Once your name is solidified you may reserve it for a period of 120 days ($10) with the Secretary of State to ensure its availability for the duration of your filing procedure.

Step 2- The next step in the registration process is to submit the requisite filing information into a PDF application, or in some cases, drafting your own document consisting of the information pursuant to state guidelines. Select the link below which corresponds with your business type to learn more about the filing process.

Step 3- You must now decide which filing method to complete your filing with. You can file online via the online filer or through the mail. In either case the filing, in order to be complete, will need to consist of a completed filing form, whether generated by your corporation or by the state of Iowa.

Step 4- Finally, you must pay the filing fee. This process may be done automatically online by credit card, or through the mail with a check or completed credit card authorization form addressed to the Secretary of State. Once your filing package is complete, if you intend to file through the mail, send your package to the following address:

Secretary of State

Business Services Division Lucas Building, 1st Floor

Des Moines, Iowa 50319

Tips

EIN– New domestic corporations will need to file for an EIN, or Employer Identification Number, Online or through the mail (Form SS-4) before attempting to take any financial actions as an entity. EINs are issued by the IRS to all tax-withholding entities in the country. Without an EIN, your entity will be unable to pay employees, take out loans, or the like until you’ve been assigned an EIN. For more information on EINs please see our information page by clicking the link to the left.

Corporate Bylaws– Iowa does not require new corporations to draft a set of corporate bylaws, however we highly recommend that all new corporations do draft this document regardless. These documents help to keep your corporation running smoothly by outlining all of the rules and regulations the corporation intends to abide by. Furthermore, most corporations have a bylaws and thus, without one, your corporation runs the risk of appearing illegitimate or poorly managed. For more information on drafting this document and to access our free bylaws template, available in MS Word and PDF formats, please follow the link to the left.

Renewal– All corporations, foreign or otherwise, will be expected to file a biennial renewal once every two years in order to remain in good standing. Filings can be completed online ($30) or through the mail ($45). Mail filers will have to draft their own biennial renewal by following the guidelines laid out in the 488.210 PDF form. Mail filers will likewise be required to attach a check made out to the Secretary of State for the aforementioned filing fee and send it to the following address to complete the filing:

Secretary of State

Business Services Division Lucas Building, 1st Floor

Des Moines, Iowa 50319

How to (Video)