How Long Does it Take to Get an LLC in Iowa featured image

To get an LLC in Iowa, it takes 3-4 weeks by mail and 3-5 business days by filing online.

If you are interested in starting a business in Iowa and want to register as a Limited Liability Company (LLC), you may be wondering how long the process takes.

The good news is that getting an LLC in Iowa is relatively straightforward and can be done in a few steps.

However, the actual timeline for getting an LLC in Iowa can vary depending on several factors.

Approval Time for an Iowa LLC

How long does it take to get an LLC in Iowa

Online Filing: You can get an LLC in Iowa in 3-5 business days

Mail Filing: Filing by mail can take about 3-4 weeks

Iowa LLC Filing Steps

Online Filing

How to file for an LLC in Iowa online on the Iowa Secretary of State’s website:

I. Create an Account

  • Go to the Iowa Secretary of State’s website https://sos.iowa.gov/.
  • Click on “Fast Track Filing” and create an account by providing your personal and business information.
  • Once you have created an account, log in to the Fast Track Filing system.

II. Choose a Name for Your LLC

  • Choose a unique name for your LLC that is not already taken and complies with Iowa’s naming requirements.
  • The name must include “Limited Liability Company” or an abbreviation such as “LLC” or “L.L.C.”
  • You can conduct a name availability search on the Iowa Secretary of State’s website to ensure your desired name is available.

III. Appoint a Registered Agent

  • A registered agent is a person or business entity that is responsible for accepting legal documents on behalf of your LLC.
  • You must appoint a registered agent before filing your LLC formation documents.
  • The registered agent must have a physical address in Iowa.

IV. File the Articles of Organization

  • In the Fast Track Filing system, select “New Business Entity Filing” and then “Domestic LLC.”
  • Complete the Articles of Organization form with the required information, including the name and address of the LLC, the name and address of the registered agent, and the names and addresses of the LLC’s members or managers.
  • The filing fee for the Articles of Organization is $50.

V. Obtain an EIN

  • An EIN is a federal tax identification number that is required for LLCs with more than one member or employee.
  • You can apply for an EIN online through the IRS website.

VI. Create an Operating Agreement

  • Although not required by Iowa law, it is recommended that you create an operating agreement for your LLC.
  • An operating agreement outlines the ownership structure, management, and financial and operational policies of the LLC.
  • This document is useful in settling disputes among members and in clarifying the responsibilities of each member.

VII. Register for State Taxes

  • Depending on your LLC’s business activities, you may need to register for state taxes, such as sales tax, use tax, or employer withholding tax.
  • You can register for state taxes online through the Iowa Department of Revenue’s website.

Overall, filing for an LLC in Iowa online involves creating an account on the Fast Track Filing system, choosing a name for your LLC, appointing a registered agent, filing the Articles of Organization, obtaining an EIN, creating an operating agreement, and registering for state taxes if necessary.

It is essential to ensure that the LLC’s name and formation documents comply with Iowa’s requirements before submitting the filing fee.


Filing by Mail

How to file for an LLC in Iowa by mail:

I. Choose a Name for Your LLC

  • Choose a unique name for your LLC that is not already taken and complies with Iowa’s naming requirements.
  • The name must include “Limited Liability Company” or an abbreviation such as “LLC” or “L.L.C.”
  • You can conduct a name availability search on the Iowa Secretary of State’s website to ensure your desired name is available.

II. Appoint a Registered Agent

  • A registered agent is a person or business entity that is responsible for accepting legal documents on behalf of your LLC.
  • You must appoint a registered agent before filing your LLC formation documents.
  • The registered agent must have a physical address in Iowa.

III. Download and Complete the Articles of Organization

  • You can download the Articles of Organization form from the Iowa Secretary of State’s website.
  • Complete the form with the required information, including the name and address of the LLC, the name and address of the registered agent, and the names and addresses of the LLC’s managers or members.
  • The filing fee for the Articles of Organization is $50.

IV. Create an Operating Agreement

  • Although not required by Iowa law, it is recommended that you create an operating agreement for your LLC.
  • An operating agreement outlines the ownership structure, management, and financial and operational policies of the LLC.
  • This document is useful in settling disputes among members and in clarifying the responsibilities of each member.

V. Mail the Documents and Payment

  • Once you have completed the Articles of Organization and operating agreement (if applicable), mail them to the following address: Iowa Secretary of State Lucas Building, 1st Floor 321 E. 12th Street Des Moines, IA 50319
  • Include a check or money order for the $50 filing fee payable to the “Secretary of State”.
  • It is recommended that you mail the documents using certified mail with the return receipt requested to confirm delivery.

VI. Wait for Confirmation

  • The processing time for LLC formation documents in Iowa is approximately 3-5 business days.
  • Once your LLC is approved, the Iowa Secretary of State will mail you a stamped and approved copy of the Articles of Organization.

Overall, filing for an LLC in Iowa by mail involves downloading and completing the Articles of Organization form, creating an operating agreement (if applicable), and mailing the documents and payment to the Iowa Secretary of State’s office.

It is important to appoint a registered agent before filing and to ensure that the LLC’s name and formation documents comply with Iowa’s requirements.


Overview of Steps & Time Involved in Getting an Iowa LLC

Here is a breakdown of the steps involved in getting an LLC in Iowa and an estimate of how long each step takes.

Step 1: Choose a Name for Your LLC

The first step in forming an LLC in Iowa is choosing a name for your business. You will need to make sure the name you choose is available and not already in use by another business in the state. You can search the Iowa Secretary of State’s online database to see if the name you want is available.

Timeframe: This step can be done relatively quickly, usually within a day or two.

Step 2: File Articles of Organization

Once you have chosen a name for your LLC, you will need to file Articles of Organization with the Iowa Secretary of State. This document establishes your LLC and includes basic information such as the name of the LLC, the registered agent, and the members of the LLC.

Timeframe: Filing the Articles of Organization typically takes around one to two weeks. However, if you choose to file online, you may receive confirmation of your LLC’s approval within a few days.

Step 3: Obtain an EIN

An EIN, or Employer Identification Number, is a unique nine-digit number that identifies your LLC for tax purposes. You will need to obtain an EIN from the IRS, even if you do not plan to hire employees.

Timeframe: Obtaining an EIN can usually be done quickly online, and you will receive your number immediately.

Step 4: Apply for Business Licenses and Permits

Depending on the type of business you plan to operate, you may need to apply for additional licenses and permits from the state or local government. This can include things like a business license, sales tax permit, or professional license.

Timeframe: The time it takes to obtain business licenses and permits can vary widely depending on the type of license or permit you need. Some licenses and permits can be obtained quickly, while others may take several weeks or even months to process.

Step 5: Create an Operating Agreement

Although it is not required by Iowa law, it is recommended that you create an Operating Agreement for your LLC. This document outlines the management structure of your LLC and the rights and responsibilities of the members.

Timeframe: Creating an Operating Agreement can take several days or even weeks, depending on the complexity of your LLC’s management structure and the number of members.

Overall, the timeline for getting an LLC in Iowa can range from a few days to several weeks, depending on the complexity of your business and the number of licenses and permits you need to obtain.

If you are in a hurry to get your LLC up and running, you may want to consider using an online formation service, which can expedite the process significantly.

However, if you have a more complex business structure or need to apply for multiple licenses and permits, it may take longer to complete the process.


How Much Does An LLC Cost in Iowa?

The cost of forming an LLC in Iowa is comprised of two main components: the filing fee for the Articles of Organization and the biennial report fee.

The filing fee for the Articles of Organization in Iowa is $50. This fee is paid at the time of filing your LLC formation documents, either online or by mail.

In addition to the filing fee, Iowa LLCs are required to file a biennial report every two years to maintain their active status. The biennial report fee for Iowa LLCs is $60. The first biennial report is due within 60 days after the LLC’s formation date, and subsequent biennial reports are due every two years thereafter.

There may be additional costs associated with forming an LLC, such as fees for obtaining a business license or professional license, but these costs will vary depending on the industry and location of the LLC.

Overall, the total cost of forming and maintaining an LLC in Iowa is relatively affordable compared to other states, with a $50 filing fee for the Articles of Organization and a $60 biennial report fee.


Is a Business License Needed for an LLC in Iowa?

Iowa does not require a general business license for all businesses. However, certain businesses and professions may be required to obtain a license or permit to operate in the state. One of the most common licenses required is the sales and use tax permit, which allows businesses to collect and pay the 6% state sales tax to the Department of Revenue.

In addition to the sales and use tax permit, many professions, including accountants, architects, real estate brokers, and appraisal management companies, require a license from the Iowa Professional Licensing Bureau.

If your business involves selling specific products such as alcoholic beverages or tobacco, you will need a special license. Those who handle hazardous waste will also require a special license due to the high level of regulation in this industry.

To ensure compliance with state and local laws and regulations, it is crucial to research and obtain any necessary licenses and permits. If you are uncertain about the license or permit requirements for your business, consulting with a local Small Business Administration (SBA) expert is recommended. These professionals can help evaluate your business and determine the necessary licenses and permits. By obtaining the required licenses and permits, businesses can operate smoothly and avoid legal penalties.


Should I Hire an LLC Filing Service in Iowa?

Whether or not to hire an LLC filing service in Iowa depends on your specific needs and circumstances.

An LLC filing service can be helpful if you’re unfamiliar with the formation process, need assistance with paperwork and filing, or simply want to save time and hassle. LLC filing services can take care of the paperwork and filing process for you, so you can focus on running your business. Additionally, some LLC filing services may offer additional services, such as registered agent services or tax advice.

However, if you’re comfortable with the formation process and have the time and resources to handle the paperwork and filing yourself, hiring an LLC filing service may not be necessary. You can file the Articles of Organization yourself by mail or online, and the process is generally straightforward. Additionally, hiring an attorney or accountant to review your documents and provide guidance can be a more cost-effective option than hiring an LLC filing service.

Ultimately, the decision to hire an LLC filing service in Iowa is a personal one and depends on your specific needs and circumstances. It’s always recommended to do your research, compare costs and services, and consult with professionals before making a decision.

Conclusion

In summary, while the process of obtaining an LLC in Iowa can take a bit of time, it is a relatively straightforward process that can be completed with a little bit of effort and attention to detail.

By following the steps outlined above, you can get your LLC up and running and start pursuing your entrepreneurial dreams in no time.

author avatar
Brian Wilson Writer and Editor
Brian Wilson is the content manager and founder of LLC Radar. Brian grew up in North Texas, just outside of Dallas, and has a bachelor's degree in business from Southern Methodist University. Since graduating from SMU, Brian has gained over 10 years of experience in business writing for several online publications. Brian resides in Plano, Texas and he can be reached by email:   info@llcradar.com Phone: 972-776-4050

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