In January 2009, the state of Iowa began regulating limited liability companies under a new law: the Revised Uniform Limited Liability Company (LLC) Act. This law outlines the formation of LLCs in the state. As in other states, Iowa LLC owners are generally protected from personal liability for the debts of the company. The Iowa Secretary of State oversees LLC filings, and the process of setting up a new LLC in the state is relatively straightforward.
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Selecting a Name
Choose a name for your company. It must include the words "limited liability company" or "limited company" at the end of the name. The abbreviations "L.L.C.," "LLC," "L.C." or "LC" may also be used. You can also abbreviate "Limited" as "Ltd." and "Company" as "Co." Businesses that plan to offer professional services must include "professional limited liability company" at the end of their name. The abbreviations "P.L.L.C." or "PLLC" may be used instead.
Search for the name in the Iowa Secretary of State’s Iowa Corporations database to make sure it is not in use by another company (see Resources). Your name must be unique and not in use by another business in Iowa.
Reserve your name with the state by filling out the “Application for Reservation of Name” PDF form provided online if you do not plan on filing for an LLC right away (see Resources). This keeps someone else from using the name. Reservations last for 120 days, and the fee to reserve a name is $10 as of 2010.
Mail or hand deliver the form to: Secretary of State, Business Services Division, Lucas Building, 1st Floor, Des Moines, IA 50319.
Filing and Licenses
Open a blank document in a word processing program. On separate lines, type the name of the LLC, the street address of the LLC’s initial registered office and the name of the registered agent, the person or business who will receive legal and other important communication on behalf of the LLC.
Save and print the document. This document serves as the "Certificate of Organization" for your company.
Sign the certificate if you are authorized by the company to do so. The registered agent or any other authorized person may also sign it.
File the certificate with the state and pay the $50 -- as of 2010 -- filing fee. Mail your certificate or deliver it in person to: Secretary of State, Business Services Division, Lucas Building, 1st Floor, Des Moines, IA 50319.
Obtain any required business licenses or permits needed to legally run your business in Iowa from the secretary of state. The Iowa Business License Information Center provides details on licenses and permits (see Resources).
Tips & Warnings
As of November 2010, several types of filings for businesses in Iowa do not have official state forms such as PDFs. You must follow the guidelines outlined on the Secretary of State’s website when creating forms for filings. Forms will be rejected if they omit any required information.
References & Resources
- Iowa Secretary of State: Revised Uniform Limited Liability Company Act
- Iowa Secretary of State: Limited Liability Co.
- Iowa Secretary of State: Business Services: Fee Schedule
- Iowa Secretary of State: Iowa Corporations
- Iowa Secretary of State: Application for Reservation of Name
- Iowa Secretary of State: Business License Information
- Iowa Secretary of State: Business Services: Contact Us
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