Step 1) Choose a Name for Your Iowa Corporation

Choose a Business Name

There are some points to consider in naming your business. One, you need to come up with a distinctive name, meaning it shouldn’t be uncannily similar to any other business name in the state of Iowa.

Second, since it’s going to be a corporation you’re forming, it has to have the following words in the business name: ‘Company’, ‘Limited’, ‘Incorporated’, ‘Incorporation’.

If you’ve trimmed down your prospective business name list, it’s time to check it against the Iowa business name search to ensure that it is still available.


Step 2) File the Articles of Incorporation

Register an LLCLegally incorporating in Iowa can be done by filing the Articles of Incorporation. You are to file this with the Secretary of State of Iowa through mail or online.

Make sure to include the following information in the Articles of Organization:

Filing fee: filing a corporation in Iowa costs $50


Step 3) Choose or Find an Iowa Registered Agent

Choose a Registered AgentAfter you have filed the Articles of Incorporation, the next step is to find an Iowa Registered Agent. This is a must for your business to be compliant.

A Registered Agent may be an entity or individual who can accept all legal and tax documentations in behalf of your business. Simply put, your Registered Agent is your representative when it comes to legal dealings.

This person can be somebody from your business provided that he is a resident of the state of Iowa, and he can guarantee that he’ll be in present at all regular office hours to accept any legal documentation.

That said, you can hire a Registered Agent service and pay up to $160/year, or get an Alabama Registered Agent free of charge when you form your Corporation with IncFile – which is $100 less than other online incorporation services.


Step 4) Start a Corporate Records Binder

File Annual Reports & Publication RequirementsOne of the necessities of a corporate business is the Corporate Records Binder.

This binder will contain all the pertinent Iowa Corporation registration documents, stock certificates, minutes of meetings, and other important documentation of your business. The Corporate Records Binder can be obtained in the local office supply store or you can get it directly via Amazon.


Step 5) Choose the Initial Directors for Your Corporation

Choose the Initial DirectorsForming a corporation in Iowa means that you need directors. Since you are the incorporator for your business, you hold the responsibility of choosing the initial directors of your Iowa Corporation.

The names and addresses of these initial directors will also be placed in the Corporate Records Binder for record keeping.


Step 6) Hold the First Meeting with Your Board of Directors

Hold a Meeting with Your Board of DirectorsAs part of the process of starting a Iowa Corporation, you can now hold a board of directors meeting with the initial directors you have chosen in the previous step.

For your initial meeting, you need to discuss and record the following:

Note: If your corporation is an S Corp, it is also the responsibility of the incorporator to endorse that status in the board of directors meeting. When the meeting has been concluded, each director should affix his signature on the minutes of the meeting.


Step 7) Take Care of Your Iowa Business Tax and Licensing Requirements

Business LicensesAs a Corporation, you need to process the Iowa business taxes requirements for completion and to be recognized legally. Here are the 3 steps to remember:

  1. Get a free Employee Identification Number (EIN).
  2. Fully comprehend and conform to all business tax requirements. You can check out the Iowa Tax Guide for more details.
  3. (Optional) If your business corporation go for the S Corp status, you will might have to file a 2553 Election Form and let all shareholders sign it. For further information about the S Corporation details, visit the IRS website.

Just like any business operation, Iowa business licenses are also mandatory. Businesses are always reminded to adhere to these licenses so they can legally operate.

These numerous licenses can be quite confusing, but check out our Iowa business licenses and regulations guide to get a better idea of what to do.


Step 8) Open a Business Bank Account

Best Business Bank AccountKeeping your Corporation’s finances and personal finances separate is very important. The best way to do this is to open a separate business checking account.

Although there are many options available, do the research to see which is right for you and your business. If you’re not sure where to get started, here is a great roundup of the best banking options.


To-Do After Starting a Corporation

Now that you have followed the steps above, you are officially an Iowa Corporation. Other than those 8 steps that are based on state guidelines, here are a few additional steps based on best practices for starting a successful Corporation. Not required, but highly recommended.

1) Write a Funding Ready Business Plan

Write a Business PlanIf it’s not a state mandated requirement to an Iowa corporation, what do you need a business plan for?

Your business plan will help you in many facets of your business operations and it keeps you in check on your progress regularly. A business plan is especially important when you need funding to get your Corporation off the ground.

Writing a Business Plan Quick-Links

Write a One Page Business Plan is a helpful guide on the dos and don’ts of writing a one page business plan, plus the things to keep in mind when writing one.


2) Build a Business Website

Build a Business WebsiteTo be able to compete with existing businesses, you need to have a professional website to build trust with your potential customers. Rather than spending thousands on a custom design or learning how to code, look into WordPress.

WordPress is a great free platform that helps you start and customizable a website for your Iowa Corporation. Learn how with this step-by-step guide


3) Prepare Corporate Bylaws

Prepare Corporate BylawsAlthough Iowa corporate bylaws are not filed by the state, your corporate bylaws are the cornerstone of your business. It is also a proof of the legitimacy of your business.

Note: Corporate bylaws are not mandated by law, but we highly recommend making it.

Please note this guide is not legal advice and is only for informational purposes only. If you have any questions about how to start a new business, it is best to ask a lawyer.

Need Help Forming Your Corporation?

Have a reliable incorporation service like IncFile or LegalZoom do the work for you. Just answer a few questions about your business and they’ll take care of the paperwork.

Although both offer virtually the same service, IncFile is $100 less and our top pick. Enjoy!

Visit IncFile Or Visit LegalZoom