LLC Cost in Iowa

Iowa LLCs are relatively inexpensive — especially when you consider that an LLC can protect your personal assets and help grow your business. That’s why forming an LLC is the best choice for most small businesses. 

The cost to form an LLC in Iowa is $50. This covers the primary cost of officially registering your LLC with the state.

Read our LLC Cost in Iowa guide below to learn more about LLC costs and other fees associated with all Iowa businesses.

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How Much Is an LLC in Iowa?

Iowa LLC Filing Fee: $50

To form an LLC in Iowa, you'll need to file the Certificate of Organization with the Secretary of State. The Iowa Secretary of State charges a $50 fee to process and record this document online, by mail, by fax.

Unlike other states, Iowa does not provide an official form to file the Certificate of Organization. LLCs must draft a form themselves according to the state statutes to file by mail or by fax. A Certificate of Organization can also be filed online at Iowa’s Fast Track Filing.

You can complete this process yourself with our How to Start an LLC guide or use an LLC formation service.

Registered Agent Fee

Every Iowa LLC must appoint a registered agent. Your Iowa registered agent must be a resident of Iowa and must be available to receive service of process during normal business hours at a designated street address.

You can be your own registered agent in Iowa, or you can use a registered agent service for a minimal cost.

Recommended: Get free registered agent services for one year when you form an LLC with Northwest.

Iowa Annual Report Fee: $60

Iowa requires LLCs to file a biennial report with the Secretary of State every two years. The biennial report can be filed online, by mail, or by fax for a filing fee of $60. To file by mail or fax, log in to Fast Track Filing and select “Yes” when asked to file the report by paper.

Cost to Register a Foreign LLC in Iowa: $100

LLCs registered in another state that want to expand into the state of Iowa must register as a foreign LLC in Iowa.

The cost of registering an Iowa foreign LLC is $100. You can register a foreign LLC in Iowa by filing an Application for Certificate of Authority with the Secretary of State.

Business Licenses and Permits

Your business might need federal, state, and local permits/licenses to legally operate in Iowa, depending on your industry and geographical location. This is true whether you form an LLC or any other type of business structure.

Learn more about state and local licensing in our Iowa business license guide.

Other Iowa Business Filing Fees

There are fees associated with other, optional business filings in Iowa.

‘Doing Business As’ (DBA) Name

When an LLC is registered with the state, the LLC’s name is also officially registered. Some business owners choose to also file for a DBA name, known as a fictitious name in Iowa.

You can file a Fictitious Name Resolution with the Iowa Secretary of State and pay the $5 filing fee to create a name other than your legal LLC business name.

Learn more in our Iowa DBA guide.

Certified Document Copies 

You can get certified copies of your Iowa business documents by ordering through the Secretary of State. Regular copies cost $1 per page. Certified copies cost $6 per page. 

Certificate of Existence

Also known as an Iowa Certificate of Good Standing, you can obtain this document by ordering through the Secretary of State and paying the $5 fee. 

A Certificate of Existence is often required by banks and lenders.

Recommended: Learn more about LLC formation services in our Best LLC Services review.

How to Start an LLC in Iowa

Forming an LLC yourself is easy; just follow the five steps below.

Five Basic Steps to Start an LLC in Iowa

Step 1: Name Your Iowa LLC

Step 2: Choose a Registered Agent

Step 3: File a Certificate of Organization

Step 4: Create an Operating Agreement

Step 5: Get an EIN 

Step 1: Name Your Iowa LLC

When you name your Iowa LLC, you’ll need to choose a name that:

  1. Is available for use in the state of Iowa
  2. Meets Iowa naming requirements
  3. Is available as a web domain

Check web domain (URL) availability with GoDaddy:

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Not sure what to name your business? Check out our free LLC name generator.

Step 2: Choose a Registered Agent

Iowa LLCs are required to appoint a registered agent to receive service of process. Business owners can hire a registered agent service or appoint any Iowa resident that is 18 years or older and is available during normal business hours at a specified address to receive service of process.

Recommended: Northwest offers one full year of registered agent services with their $29 (plus state fees) LLC formation package.

Step 3: File Iowa Certificate of Organization

To form an LLC in Iowa, you must file a Certificate of Organization with the Secretary of State. 

The Iowa Secretary of State charges a $50 fee to process and record this document online, by mail, or by fax.

For a closer look at the filing process, check out our Iowa Certificate of Organization guide.

Step 4: Create an LLC Operating Agreement

Operating agreements are not required for Iowa LLCs, but it’s a good practice to have one.

An operating agreement outlines the ownership and operating procedures of an LLC, ensuring that all members are on the same page and reducing the risk of conflict down the line.

Learn more in our Iowa LLC Operating Agreement guide.

Step 5: Get an EIN

An Employer Identification Number (EIN) is a nine-digit number issued by the IRS to identify businesses for tax purposes. Think of an EIN as a Social Security number for your LLC.

To learn how to get an EIN for free, visit our How to Get an EIN Number guide.

LLC Cost in Iowa FAQ

What is the cheapest way to start an LLC in Iowa?

The cheapest way to start an LLC in Iowa is to handle the registration process individually. In order to do this, you will need to follow these steps:

  1. Name your LLC
  2. Choose a registered agent: This can be a registered agent service or an individual.
  3. File the Iowa Certificate of Organization: The filing fee for this is $50 and can be done online, by mail, or by fax.
  4. Create an LLC operating agreement: This is usually not a legal requirement, but it is highly recommended.
  5. Get an EIN: This is basically your business’s Social Security number (SSN).

How much does an LLC cost per year in Iowa?

Iowa requires a Biennial Report to be filed every two years, which can be filed online or by mail for $60.

For a more in-depth analysis, see our How Much Does an LLC Cost? article. 

How much does an LLC license cost in Iowa?

An LLC is not a business license, but a business entity. Forming an LLC in Iowa costs $50. There is also a biennial report fee of $60. 

You may be required to pay additional fees if you choose to pay for a  registered agent service, an LLC formation service, or an LLC attorney.

See our How to Start an LLC in Iowa for more information on registering your business as an LLC.

Do LLCs pay income taxes in Iowa?

LLCs are a “pass-through” tax entity. This means that the LLCs profits are “passed through” directly to its owner(s), who then pay income taxes independently. 

This is advantageous compared to a corporation’s tax structure because it means that LLC members are not taxed twice. 

Having said that, readers should keep in mind that LLCs are very flexible when it comes to how they can be taxed, and — depending on the specifics — they can choose to be taxed as a pass-through entity, a C corp, or an S corp. 

For more information, see our How Is an LLC Taxed guide. 

What are the tax benefits of an LLC?

The tax benefits of an LLC will depend on how you choose to be taxed, as well as on whether you are operating as a single or multi-member LLC. 

Generally speaking, LLCs can choose to be taxed in several different ways, including:

  • As a sole proprietorship or general partnership
  • As a C corporation
  • As an S corporation

See our Single-Member LLC Taxes guide for a detailed overview of the tax benefits of having an LLC as a small business. 

Do I need to open a business bank account for my LLC?

Even though you do not necessarily “need” to open a bank account for your LLC, this is generally highly recommended for several reasons. 

For one, having a separate bank account can allow you to maintain your LLC’s corporate veil — meaning that you will not risk losing your limited personal liability under the law. A business bank account also offers financial benefits, including the ability to build business credit more quickly and access to larger business loans. 

Interested in opening a business bank account? See our review of the best banks for startups in 2024.