How To Incorporate In Iowa

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1. Choose a Name for Your Iowa Corporation

Check on Available Names in Iowa: When you decide to incorporate your small business in Iowa, you will need to decide on a unique corporate name for your business. The name that you choose must not be in use already by another corporation. Before you attempt to incorporate, you should conduct a thorough search of online records and other databases to find out if the name that you hope to use is available. You can visit to the official website of the Secretary of State to search a database of Iowa businesses: How To Incorporate In Iowa.

Reserve a Corporate Name: If you have decided on an available corporate name that you would like to use, you may want to reserve that name until the time that you are able to incorporate. You can download the form to reserve a corporate name at Reserve an Iowa Corporation Name. The fee is $10.00 to reserve a corporate name and the name will be reserved for a period of 120 days.

Filing Trademarks and Doing a Corporate Name Search: Remember that even though the corporate name that you have chosen may be available in the state of Iowa, it is possible that a company in another state could be using the same name. You may run into some restrictions on the corporate name that you have chosen. If you consult an attorney when you are preparing to incorporate your small business, you can learn about these possible restrictions and how to take steps to trademark the name that you have chosen. Please visit the article on how to choose a name for your corporation.

Iowa Corporate Name Requirements: The name that you use to incorporate your small business must include the word “corporation,” “incorporated,” “limited,” “company” or an abbreviation of one of these words.

2. Find a Registered Agent in Iowa 

You will need to decide on a registered agent for your corporation in order to incorporate your small business in Iowa. Registered agents act as agents for service of process and receive legal and tax documents for corporations.  You may choose a corporate services company to provide registered agent services for your corporation for a fee.

3. File Articles of Incorporation with the Iowa Secretary of State

Minimum Requirements: To incorporate your small business, you will need to file Articles of Incorporation with the Secretary of State. There is no official form provided by the office for your corporations Articles of Incorporations, but you can find the legal guidelines for creating this document online at Iowa Corporation. Your Articles of Incorporation document must include your corporate name, the physical address of your main office, the number of shares authorized by your corporation, the name and address of your registered agent, and the name and address of the incorporators and directors.

Other Iowa Legal Provisions: When you are creating the Articles of Incorporation document for your small business, you should consider including additional legal provisions in the document that may be appropriate and beneficial for your company. It is advisable to consult an attorney when you are drafting this document.

Where to Submit Form: You should submit your completed Articles of Incorporation document to the office of the Secretary of State, Business Services Division, Lucas Building, First Floor, Des Moines, Iowa 50319.

Filing Fee: The fee is $50.00 to file Articles of Incorporation in Iowa.

4. Create Other Iowa Incorporation Documents (Corporate Kits)

After you have created and submitted the Articles of Incorporation document for your corporation to the Secretary of State, you can begin to take certain actions in your corporation such as appointing officers and directors, adopting corporation bylaws, issuing stock certificates, obtaining a tax ID number, and acquiring a business license. You might consider creating other types of corporate documents such as buy-sell agreements, shareholders agreements that determine when stock can be sold, and documents that explain what will happen if an owner decides to leave the company. These types of documents can be especially important if your corporation has multiple owners. You should consult an attorney when you are creating these documents so that you can be sure that you are in compliance with all the legal requirements that apply to your corporation. There are also various corporate service companies that can assist you to prepare these types of documents for a fee.

5. Qualify Your Iowa Corporation to Do Business in Other States

You must qualify your corporation to do business outside of Iowa if the main office of your corporation is located out of state. Most other states require corporations to qualify in order to do business there, and you will be required to pay taxes in your home state. You can find more information about how to qualify your corporation to do business in other states at Doing Business in other states.

6. Make Annual Filings and Pay Annual Fees and Taxes in Iowa

Once your corporation is registered in the state of Iowa, you will need to file a biennial report with updated information on your corporation, your registered agent, and your officers and directors. The cost to file this report is $45.00. There is no official form for this report. To find more information about the report, go to Iowa Corporation Fee.

You will also be required to file a corporate income tax return and pay Iowa state income taxes. You can find tax forms online on the official website of the Iowa Department of Revenue: Iowa Corporation Dept. of Revenue. The site also provides useful information for business owners. When you are preparing tax documents for your corporation, it is best to have a professional accountant help you so that you can avoid mistakes in your tax documents that could wind up costing you extra taxes.

You will have to make many decisions when you are incorporating your small business. If there are multiple owners of the corporation, these decisions can be very complex. Consulting an attorney and an accountant during the incorporation process can help you feel more confident that your paperwork is being prepared correctly.

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This site is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal, financial or tax advise. The information on this site should not be relied upon as an official source of information and should be independently verified.


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