Updated on: June 22nd, 2022

Costs to Form an LLC in Iowa: Prices and Fees Explained

Hire Professionals to Start an Iowa LLC for You

This is an exciting time for your business if you’ve decided to register a limited liability corporation (LLC) in Iowa. You’re almost certainly ready to form your LLC and start the business of your dreams! However, before you get started, you should be aware of all of the fees and other costs associated with incorporating an Iowa LLC.

Most business owners are aware that they will have to pay a fee to the state in order to register their LLCs. However, we’ve found that some customers aren’t aware of all the possible extra costs, such as LLC formation fees, registered agent fees, Annual Report fees, taxes, and so on. Let’s take a closer look at all of the probable costs associated with incorporating an Iowa LLC.

If you want to skip the hassle of starting an Iowa LLC yourself, consider using professional help for the best price in the market:

Forming LLC in Iowa: Various Costs

Filing an Iowa LLC online$50
Biennial Report Fee$60
Registered Agent$39 on its 1st yr.
Forming a Foreign LLC$100
Reservation of LLC Name$10
Filling a DBA Name$5
Copies of Certified Documents$15 + $1/pg.
Existence Certificate$5
  • $50 – Fee for Filing an Iowa LLC Online

The $50 price to file your LLC’s Certificate of Organization online with the Iowa Secretary of State is the most expensive part of incorporating an LLC.

  • $60 – Fee for the Iowa Biennial Report

LLCs must file a biannual report with the Secretary of State in Iowa.

This form can be submitted using the Iowa Fast Track Filing website. Every odd-numbered year, is due between January 1 and April 1.

  • $39 – Fee for Registered Agent

You may be your own registered agent in Iowa but choosing a registered agent service keeps your business compliant and reminds you of critical filing dates so you don’t pay late fines. The first year of registered agent costs is $39.

  • $100 – Cost of Forming a Foreign LLC in Iowa

If you currently have an LLC in another state and want to extend your business into Iowa, you’ll need to register it as a foreign LLC in Iowa.

A foreign LLC registration in Iowa costs $100. An Application for a Certificate of Authority can be filed online or by mail to register a foreign LLC in Iowa.

  • Permits and Licenses for Businesses

Your business may require federal, state, and municipal permits/licenses to lawfully operate in Iowa, depending on your industry and geographic area. Whether you create an LLC or another sort of business structure, this is true.

Other Fees for Forming an LLC

There are additional costs involved with forming an LLC:

  • $10 – Reservation of LLC Name

By completing an Application for Reservation of Name and paying the $10 filing fee, you can reserve your name for up to 120 days prior to the establishment of your LLC. This can also be accomplished by letter.

  • $5 – DBA (Doing Business As) Name:

To create a name different than your official LLC business name, file a Fictitious Name Resolution and pay the $5 filing fee. This can also be accomplished by letter.

  • $5 + $1/pg. – Copies of Certified Documents:

Order certified copies of your Iowa business paperwork from the Secretary of State’s office for $5 + $1 per page.

  • $5 – Certificate of Good Standing

This document, also known as an Iowa certificate of good standing, can be obtained by contacting the Secretary of State and paying the $5 charge. Banks and financial institutions frequently demand proof of existence.

Total Costs for Iowa LLC Breakdown & Best Options

You form the LLC in Iowa yourself$70+ ($50 Articles of Organization + $15 LLC Name +$5 Good Standing Certificate)
by using ZenBusiness$49+
by using Northwest Registered Agent$39/mo
see our other top-rated LLC service providers varies

How to Form an Iowa LLC on Your Own?

Here’s our full Iowa LLC formation guide

You must file a Certificate of Organization with the Iowa Secretary of State, which costs $50. You can submit your application online, via mail, or by fax. The Certificate of Organization is the legally binding document that establishes your Iowa LLC.

To get started, simply follow our 5-steps tutorial on How to Form an LLC in Iowa.

Step 1: Choose a name for your Iowa LLC

Step 2: Choose a Registered Agent 

Step 3: File the Articles of Organization

Step 4: Create an Operating Agreement 

Step 5: Obtain an Employer Identification Number

Step 1: Choose a Name for Your Iowa LLC (Price: $15)


When naming your Iowa LLC, make sure it meets the following criteria:

  • Is legal to use in the state of Iowa.
  • Meets Iowa’s naming standards
  • Is a web domain available?

We suggest looking online to see whether your company name is accessible as a web domain. Even if you have no plans to construct a company website right now, you may wish to purchase the URL to prevent others from doing so.

The first and most significant step in forming an LLC is deciding on a name. Make sure your name meets Iowa’s naming regulations and is easily searched by prospective customers.

1. Follow these naming conventions:

  • The word “limited liability corporation” or one of its acronyms must be in your name (LLC or L.L.C.).
  • Your LLC’s name cannot contain words that may cause confusion with a government agency (FBI, Treasury, State Department, etc.).
  • Restricted terms (e.g., bank, attorney, university) may necessitate additional documentation and the inclusion of a licensed professional in your LLC, such as a doctor or lawyer.

2. Is it possible to get the name in Iowa? Do a name search on the State of Iowa website to make sure the name you choose isn’t already used.

3. Is the web address available? We suggest looking online to see whether your company name is accessible as a web domain. Even if you don’t intend to create a company website right now, you may wish to purchase the URL to prevent others from doing so.

You can choose a professional agency to complete the LLC creation procedure for you now that you’ve validated your name and obtained the URL.

Do I need a DBA or a Trade Name for my company? A DBA is not required for most LLCs. You can use the LLC’s name as your company’s brand name and collect checks and other payments under that name. If you want to do business under a different name, you might want to register a DBA.

Step 2: Choose a Registered Agent (Price: $0-$200)


 A registered agent is required for all LLCs in Iowa. The principal point of contact for your LLC with the state is a registered agent. They are also in charge of accepting service of process in the event that your company is sued.

Your registered agent in Iowa must:

  • You must be at least 18 years old.
  • Have an Iowa physical address
  • Be ready to accept service of process during regular business hours.

Who is eligible to serve as a Registered Agent? A Registered Agent must be an Iowa resident or an organization allowed to conduct business in Iowa, such as a registered agent service. You have the option of electing someone from your organization, including yourself.

Is it worthwhile to hire a Registered Agent? Using a professional Registered Agent service to manage your LLC’s federal filings is a cost-effective option. The benefits of utilizing a professional service far surpass the annual expenditures for most firms.

Step 3: File the Articles of Organization (Price: $50)


The Iowa Certificate of Organization is a document that is filed with the Iowa Secretary of State to establish a limited liability company. You’ll need to file a Certificate of Organization with the Iowa Secretary of State to register your Iowa LLC. You can submit your application online, via mail, or by fax. You must create your own Certificate of Organization in conformity with Iowa state regulations if filing a paper copy. A Certificate of Organization costs $50 to file online.

You must prepare your own Certificate of Organization whether submitted by mail or fax, pursuant to Iowa state regulations. Filing an Iowa Certificate of Organization:

OPTION 1: File Online With Iowa Fast Track Filing


– OR –

OPTION 2: File the Certificate of Organization by Mail or by Fax


State Filing Cost: $50, payable to the Secretary of State

Mailing Address:
Lucas State Office Building
321 E 12th St
Des Moines, IA 50319

Fax: (515) 242-5953

Note: There is no standard Certificate of Organization to file by mail or fax in Iowa. You must instead write your own Certificate of Organization by following the guidelines given.

You’ll need to register a Foreign LLC if you want to expand your current LLC outside Iowa.

A foreign LLC allows your business to function as a single organization across many states. You must register as a foreign LLC if you already have an LLC and wish to do business in Iowa. This may be done through the mail.

Register as a Foreign Limited Liability Company in Iowa

Fee: $100 (Nonrefundable)

Mail to:

Business Services Division of the Secretary of State
1st Floor, Lucas Building
50319 Des Moines, Iowa

How long will it take to incorporate my Iowa LLC? If you file your Certificate of Organization online, it is processed right away. Processing delays might take up to two weeks if you file by mail or fax.

What is the difference between a domestic and a foreign Iowa limited liability company? When an LLC does business in the state where it was founded, it is referred to as a “domestic LLC.” Normally, when we talk about an LLC, we’re talking about a domestic one. When an existing LLC wants to expand its operations to another state, it must incorporate a foreign LLC.

Step 4: Create an Operating Agreement (Price: FREE)


Although an operating agreement is not necessary for Iowa LLCs, it is recommended.

What is the definition of an operating agreement?

An operating agreement is a legal document that spells out an LLC’s ownership and running processes.

Your operating agreement should include all of the items below, whether you’re creating a single-member or multi-member LLC. Some of these provisions will have little impact on the day-to-day operations of a single-member LLC, but they must be included for legal reasons.

  1. Operation: When the LLC was legally founded, who its members are, and how ownership is distributed are all things to consider. Multi-member LLCs might have an equal ownership structure or allocate different “units” of ownership to different members.
  2. Management and Voting: Determine whether the LLC will be governed by its members or by appointed management, as well as how members will vote on business concerns. Each member usually has one vote, but you could want to give certain members greater authority than others.
  3. Capital Contributions: The amount of money invested in the firm by each member. This is also the time to plan how you can raise extra cash in the future. 
  4. Distributions: Profits and losses will be distributed among the members according to the distributions. The most typical method is to equitably divide profits. If you want them distributed differently, your operating agreement should specify that.
  5. Changes to the Membership Structure: How will positions and ownership be transferred if a member departs the organization? The method for buying out and/or replacing a member should be detailed in the LLC’s governing agreement.

What are the benefits of operating agreements? A detailed operating agreement guarantees that all firm owners are on the same page and eliminates the possibility of future disagreement.

Is it necessary for me to register my operating agreement with the state? No. The operating agreement is a private document that you should save for future reference. Many states, however, mandate that LLCs have an operating agreement in place.

What is the purpose of an Iowa LLC operating agreement?

You’ll need an operating agreement regardless of the sort of Iowa LLC you’re forming. This is why:

  1. The state has recommended it. Every Iowa LLC may establish an operating agreement to manage the company’s operational operations, according to Iowa Code Section 489.110.
  2. It will keep your company partners from fighting. If you’re forming a multi-member LLC, having an operating agreement in place will help you avoid misunderstandings by defining each partner’s position and obligations.
  3. It aids in the preservation of your limited liability status. If you’re the only owner of a single-member LLC in Iowa, an operating agreement will assist guarantee that your limited liability status is sustained by court authorities, as well as contribute to your company’s overall credibility.

After You Have Completed Your Iowa LLC Operating Agreement

You do not need to file your operating agreement with your state after it is completed. Keep a copy for your records and distribute copies to your LLC members.

It’s a good practice to examine and consider changing the operating agreement after every important corporate event, such as gaining or losing a member. Depending on how your operating agreement is worded, an update to the contract may require the approval of some or all of the members.

Is an operating agreement absolutely necessary? Yes. Having an operating agreement in place is the greatest method to keep control of your Iowa LLC in the face of change or upheaval, even if you don’t register it with the state.

When should my operating agreement be completed? While it’s a good idea to draft an operating agreement before filing your Certificate of Organization, the state doesn’t prohibit LLCs from waiting until the procedure is complete. In order to create a business bank account, some banks ask you to file an operating agreement.

Is it necessary for me to register my operating agreement with the state? No. The LLC members must keep their operating agreements. Your operating agreement does not need to be filed with the Iowa Secretary of State.

Step 5: Obtain an EIN (Cost: FREE)


What is an EIN number? EIN stands for Employer Identification Number. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) assigns EINs to businesses to assist them be identified for tax reasons. It’s essentially a business’s version of a Social Security number.

It’s crucial to understand what an EIN is and what it stands for before we can assist you figure out how to acquire one. Employer Identification Number stands for Employer Identification Number. A Tax Identification Number (TIN) or a Federal Tax ID Number is another name for it.

This number is unique to your company and is used by the IRS to trace your financial transactions. Employers, sole proprietors, companies, partnerships, estates, trusts, and other entities can all be granted an EIN.

A Federal Employer Identification Number (FEIN) or Federal Tax Identification Number is another name for an EIN (FTIN).

What is the purpose of having an EIN? An EIN is necessary for the following:

  • Open a bank account for your business.
  • Managing and filing federal and state taxes
  • Employ people

To keep your corporate veil intact, you should distance yourself from your firm while filing taxes. This distinguishes your money from the company’s money, which protects your assets in the event of a lawsuit.

Your firm is identified as its own entity with its own expenditures and files when you use an EIN. It’s a technique for the IRS to keep track of where money comes from and goes.

When you recruit employees, you’ll need an EIN for tax withholding purposes. It’s also the ID you’ll need to submit your company’s taxes with the IRS at the end of the year.

What if my single proprietorship already has an EIN? When changing to an LLC, the IRS requires sole proprietorships to get a new EIN.

Where can I obtain an EIN? The IRS will provide you with an EIN for free. Obtaining an EIN is a simple procedure that may be completed online or through mail.

International EIN Applicants

You do not need a Social Security number to obtain an EIN.

If you’ve recently relocated to the United States and want to start a business or grow an existing one, you’ll want to learn about EINs.

We’ll go through what an EIN is and how to acquire one for free from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

Important: We recommend that you register for an EIN after you’ve established your company.

To keep your corporate veil intact, you should distance yourself from your firm while filing taxes. This distinguishes your money from the company’s money, which protects your assets in the event of a lawsuit.

Your firm is identified as its own entity with its own expenditures and files when you use an EIN. It’s a technique for the IRS to keep track of where money comes from and goes.

When you recruit employees, you’ll need an EIN for tax withholding purposes. It’s also the ID you’ll need to submit your company’s taxes with the IRS at the end of the year.

  • Call from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday. to 11 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time. It is not a toll-free number; the phone number is 267-941-1099.
  • To apply by fax, send Form SS-4 to 304-707-9471.
  • You can submit your application by mail to the Internal Revenue Service, Attn: EIN Operation, Cincinnati, OH 45999.

To save money while applying for an EIN by phone, consider using an online calling service. Expect to spend at least an hour on the phone answering questions before receiving your EIN.

Before calling the IRS, complete Form SS-4 since they will ask you the same questions on the questionnaire; this will speed up the procedure. Your EIN will be assigned to you at the conclusion of your chat with the IRS official. It should be written in the upper right corner of Form SS-4, signed, and dated.

What is the definition of a Third-Party Designee? By having the individual fill out the Third-Party Designee form, you can appoint a third party to receive your company’s EIN. When you apply by phone, this will allow the designated individual to both answer the questions on Form SS-4 and acquire your company’s EIN.

I’m self-employed, do I need an EIN? You can use your Social Security number instead of an EIN if you’re self-employed. Some self-employed persons, however, choose to file for an EIN rather than use their Social Security number to lessen the danger of identity theft; keeping your business and personal funds separate makes it less probable for someone to hack into your accounts.

Is an EIN and a TIN the same thing? An Employer Identification Number (EIN) and a Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN) are not the same thing (TIN). Both terms refer to your company’s IRS nine-digit identification number.

What is the distinction between an EIN and an FEIN? No, an EIN and a Federal Employer Identification Number are not the same thing (FEIN). A Federal Tax Identification Number (FEIN) is another name for a FEIN.

How can I find out what my EIN is? It’s simple to check up your EIN, and there are various options available. To begin, the IRS will usually give you an email or a physical letter verifying your EIN application. You may also look for your EIN printed on company papers like tax returns.

How can I search for the EIN of another company? You may find another firm’s EIN by searching the Securities and Exchange Commission’s (SEC) EDGAR online Forms and Filings database for the company.

If I forget or lose my EIN, how can I get it back? If you can’t discover your EIN by looking for a confirmation email or letter, or recognizing it on your company paperwork, you can contact the IRS EIN Department at 1-800-829-4933. Monday through Friday, from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m., they are open. to 7 p.m.

The Iowa LLC’s Required Ongoing Maintenance Costs

Whether you’re starting a new Iowa domestic LLC or transferring an existing one from another state, you’ll need to file Biennial Reports every other year. This is an annual fee in some places, but it is only required every other year in Iowa. The report keeps the state informed about crucial facts about your company. The cost of the report is $60.

You will very definitely need to pay some type of continuing company taxes as well, depending on your LLC’s commercial activity. For example, if your company sells any goods or services, you’ll almost certainly need to register for sales and use taxes in order to establish a business correctly.

FAQ: Costs to Form an Iowa LLC

Is it necessary to pay an annual fee for an Iowa LLC?

Every other year, Iowa LLCs must pay a $60 biannual report fee. For additional information, see our guide to the Iowa LLC biannual report.

Get Professionals to Form Your Iowa LLC for The Best Price

It can be difficult and time-consuming to form an Iowa LLC. It might be beneficial to have some assistance, and we’ve compiled a list of two of the top LLC creation services available.

#1 – ZenBusiness can help you form an LLC in Iowa

ZenBusiness provides LLC creation services at a low cost and with a number of useful features. Most LLCs will benefit from two of these aspects in particular. All of ZenBusiness’s products include a year of complimentary registered agent service. With their Pro and Premium Packages, they offer ensure worry-free compliance. ZenBusiness will file your yearly report and notify you if there is anything further you need to do to be in compliance with the state under this assurance. For $119 per year, those with the basic package can purchase worry-free compliance.

ZenBusiness will help you form an LLC in Iowa for $50. They have a customer satisfaction rating of 98 percent and over 4500 verified reviews.

Here’s our full review of Zenbusiness and its services.


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Rating: 4.8/5
Review count: 4500+

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Form an LLC today with ZenBusiness for only $49. They Have 98% customer satisfaction rating and over 4500+ verified reviews.

#2 – Create an LLC in Iowa using Northwest Registered Agent

With decades of expertise, Northwest Registered Agent is an exceptional LLC creation service. They deliver excellent, well-informed customer service. Their biggest benefit, though, is the seclusion they provide. They don’t outsource any of their services to third parties, don’t sell your information, and even build their own code.

Northwest can help you form an LLC in Iowa right now. They have a customer satisfaction rating of 98 percent and over 4150 verified reviews. They’ll come with a complimentary year of registered agent service!

Read our extended review and evaluation of Northwest.

Use our special promo and get an LLC today with Northwest & get Registered Agent 1 year for free! Hassle-free and quick.

In Conclusion

In this post, we’ve covered a variety of Iowa LLC charges, some of which will apply to all LLCs in the state. As you can see, there are a number of costs that only apply to particular LLCs. The most essential message is that you should not try to discover ways to avoid paying these fees by looking for loopholes, since the repercussions might be severe and readily avoided.

In addition, starting an Iowa LLC isn’t as expensive as it seems.
The total cost shouldn’t be more than:

  • $49 if you’re forming a basic LLC with all the basic options with ZenBusiness.
  • $39/mo if you’re forming an LLC with Northwest.
  • ~$70 if you’re forming an LLC yourself.

However, there are still some methods to save money on your LLC formation and maintenance expenditures, such as using a low-cost business formation provider to handle your Certificate of Organization filing and serve as your registered agent.

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Founder & Author

Ian Broderick is an avid author and owner of LLCGuys.com. He's been involved with the LLC formation field for over 4 years. On top of that, he has worked in several well-known LLC formation service providers. Now he decided to share his knowledge and advice with everybody. Since there are a lot of questions and concerns surrounding this field - his aim is to make LLCGuys a top-notch information provider in regards to LLC creation, service reviews and etc..

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