STEP 1: Name your LLC
This is the first and most important step in starting your LLC. Do some research to make sure the name you choose is suited to your business venture and is easily searchable for potential clients.
- Follow the naming guidelines: Your entity name must contain the words Limited Liability Company or the abbreviation L.L.C. or LLC. Restricted words require additional paperwork (e.g. Banc, Bank, Banque, etc) and/or licensed individuals (e.g. Doctor, Engineer, etc). to be part of the LLC. Prohibited words are those that would confuse the name of your LLC with a federal or state agency e.g. FBI, Secret Service, Treasury etc.
- Is the name available in Iowa? Make sure the name isn't already taken by doing a name search on the State of Iowa website.
- Is the URL available? Check to see if the name of your LLC is available so that you can reserve your domain name. Even if you don't plan to make a website today, you may want to buy the domain name in order to prevent others from acquiring it.
An email address is also something to consider when choosing a name. Get a professional email (@yourcompany.com) with Google apps. Also get access to the top business tools, cloud storage, and business-grade security. - Try it for free
STEP 2: Choose a Registered Agent
A Registered Agent is required for your LLC in Iowa
What is a Registered Agent? A registered agent is a person or business nominated by your company to officially receive and send papers on your behalf including annual state filings.
Who can be a Registered Agent? The registered agent must be a resident of Iowa or a corporation authorized to transact business in Iowa. You may elect an individual within the company including yourself.
Click here to find out why you may want to use a registered agent service.
Recommended: INCFILE.COM provides free registered agent service for the first year as part of their LLC Packages.
STEP 3: File the Articles of Organization
How to register your LLC with the State of Iowa
File the Certificate of Organization for a Domestic LLC.
The State of Iowa does not provide a sample Certificate of Organization form. They do provide instructions for writing the Certificate of Organization on their website. We have provided a sample form purely as an example of the kind of form that can be used.
Additional Online Information:
Certificate of Organization - Domestic Iowa LLC
SAMPLE Certificate of Organization
The undersigned natural person, acting as organizer of a limited liability company under the Iowa Limited Liability Company Act, adopts the following Certificate of Organization for such limited liability company:
Article 1. Name.
The name of this limited liability company is:
Article 2. Registered Office and Registered Agent.
The street address of the initial registered office of this limited liability company is: and the name of its initial registered agent at this address is:
Article 3. Principal Office.
The street address of the principal office of this limited liability company is:
Article 4. Period of Duration.
The period of duration of this limited liability company is:
In Witness Whereof, the undersigned Organizer of this Limited Liability Company has executed these Certificate of Organization on the date indicated.
Mail the form to:
Iowa Secretary of State
Lucas Building 1st floor
321 E. 12th St
Des Moines, IA 50319
A nonrefundable fee of $50 is required when submitting the Certificate of Organization.
Important: If you're expanding your existing LLC to the State of Iowa you are forming a Foreign LLC. Learn how.
STEP 4: Create an Operating Agreement
What is an Operating Agreement? An operating agreement is a legal document outlining the ownership and operating procedures of your LLC. This agreement allows you to form financial/working relationships with co-owners into an established system suitable to your business. An Operation Agreement is not required to form an LLC in Iowa, but is good practice to have one.
Recommended: We provide a free sample operating agreement however we recommend getting one professional drafted by a lawyer, especially if you are starting a multi-member LLC.
STEP 5: Obtain an EIN
What is an EIN? The Employer Identification Number (EIN), or Federal Tax Identification Number, is used to identify a business entity. It is essentially a social security number for the company.
Why do I need an EIN? An EIN is required for the following:
- To open a business bank account for the company
- For Federal and State tax purposes
- To hire employees for the company
Where do I get an EIN? An EIN is obtained from the IRS (free of charge) by the business owner after forming the company. This can be done by one of two ways:
Important: An EIN is obtained after the LLC is formed. Obtaining an EIN registers the company for federal taxes.