Iowa Filing Fees

What Are the Business Filing Fees in Iowa?

Starting a business in Iowa means paying a variety of government filing fees. We’ve compiled the most common ones here so that you’ll know what to expect.


Iowa business owners already know the story: to make money, you have to spend money. Business set-up and on-going compliance comes with all kinds of fees. Statutory structures, like limited liability companies (LLCs) and corporations may require you to pay Iowa formation filing fees. Other business types, like sole proprietorships or other common law business structures, don’t require paying formation fees but may require permits and licensing fees. Regardless, starting or maintaining a business in Iowa means paying a variety of Iowa business filing fees. We’ve compiled the most common ones below.

Step 1: Pay your Iowa business’s initial filing fees

Forming a new Iowa business typically requires paying a one-time fee. Iowa filing fees vary by business type. In other words, you’ll pay a different fee depending on whether you are forming a corporation or an LLC. Fee rates vary over time, so always be sure to check with the Iowa Secretary of State for the most current schedule of filing fees. Some documents that require an initial filing fee include:

  • Forming an LLC 
  • Forming a corporation 
  • Registering a professional corporation
  • Registering foreign corporations and LLCs

In Iowa, it typically takes about three weeks to register a statutory business, however, you can request expedited filing. You can request either two or five business day expedited service through the Secretary of State’s online filing system. You’ll need to check with the Secretary of State’s office if you need any other arrangements besides the normal or expedited filing options offered.

We can help get your Iowa business registered fast with our Expedited Filing service. We know what to do to help your Iowa businesses file formation documents quickly.

Step 2: Reserve your Iowa business’s name 

Most states allow you to reserve a name for your statutory business for a set period of time for a fee. Iowa allows you to reserve your business’s unique name for up to 120 days for a small fee. Your business name is your calling card, so it’s important to reserve it as quickly as you can. We can do this for you using our easy Business Name Reservation service. We can check the availability of your desired name and help you reserve it, leaving you free to focus on your business.

Step 3: Reserve a “doing business as” name in Iowa

A “doing business as” (DBA) name or a “trade name” is typically used only when a company operates under a name that’s not your own name, or the business’s legal name. The State of Iowa doesn’t charge a fee for using a DBA or trade name. However, trade names need to be registered with the County Recorder of the county where your business is located. 

Step 4: Obtain an Employer Identification Number (EIN)

An EIN is similar to a social security number for your business. It’s needed to open bank accounts and conduct most business activities. An EIN is issued by the U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS).  The EIN is free to obtain online from the IRS. However, we have an EIN service that can do it for you and spare you the hassle of dealing with the IRS. 

Step 5: Draft an Operating Agreement, Corporate Bylaws, or Partnership Agreement for your Iowa business

Iowa businesses don’t need to file an Operating Agreement with the state. That doesn’t mean that documents like Operating Agreements, Corporate Bylaws, and or other foundational business documents aren’t extremely important. We offer an online LLC Operating Agreement template. Our template allows you to customize an Operating Agreement to your business’s needs, without having to do it yourself or hire an expensive lawyer.

Step 6: Apply for your Iowa business’s necessary licenses and permits

While not every business pays one-time formation fees, virtually every business needs to pay ongoing licensing and permit fees. These are some of the most important ongoing fees business owners pay during the life of an Iowa business. Business owners don’t need to worry about getting a “general business license” in Iowa, since it’s not something the state offers or requires. But you might still need a variety of different federal, state, and local licenses. Our Business License Report service can help you find what licensing you need to get started. Our partner uses your business’s details and location to help customize a report detailing your licensing needs.

Step 7: Pay registration fees for out-of-state businesses

A company formed outside of Iowa is called a “foreign” LLC or corporation. This just means that the business was formed outside of Iowa, not necessarily that it was formed in another country. If a foreign company wants to start doing business in Iowa, they’ll need to comply with certain filing obligations and pay the correct fees. 

However, if you want to expand your Iowa business to other states or countries, you’ll likely need to get a Certificate of Good Standing. An Iowa Certificate of Good Standing is simply called a Certificate of Standing.  A Certificate of Standing lets others outside of Iowa know that your business has complied with Iowa filing and fee-payment requirements. We have a Certificate of Good Standing service that can help you request a certificate and make the process easy for you.

Step 8: Check Iowa’s biennial report requirements and fees

The State of Iowa requires all registered businesses to file a report every two years. Keeping up with filing deadlines can be difficult, especially when your mind is on other business functions. And it can be overwhelming to think about collecting all the required information, especially if you’ve never completed the report before. Our Annual Report service can help you easily keep track of your reporting obligations when reporting time comes. 

Step 9: Keep your Iowa business legally compliant

Business compliance isn’t just about filing annual reports or paying fees to the state. When you make certain changes to your business information, you may need to update your formation paperwork on file to stay compliant. Changes that may require filing amendments include:

  • Changing registered agent
  • Making material changes to your ownership structure
  • Changing certain material facts in your Certificate of Organization or Articles of Incorporation
  • Changing the business name
  • Making certain other changes to public information

You’ll typically have to pay filing fees when you file amendments to make these changes, which vary based on business type and filing speed. We offer an amendment service to help you stay on top of your obligations. We also offer our Worry-Free Compliance service, which includes two amendments every year (you only pay the Iowa filing fee and we do all the work). 

Let us help you keep your business compliant with Iowa law

Our goal is to let you keep your mind on your business, not on endless administrative tasks. Our many business formation and compliance services can make growing your business and staying on top of your obligations easy. We can help you focus on growth and avoid costly mistakes along the way.

Disclaimer: The content on this page is for information purposes only, and does not constitute legal, tax, or accounting advice. If you have specific questions about any of these topics, seek the counsel of a licensed professional.


  • Are there penalties for paying my fees late in Iowa?

    There may be late fees and other penalties if you don’t pay your fees on time. In other cases, your licenses, permits, and registrations may simply lapse.

  • What happens if I can’t pay my fees to the Iowa government?

    Check with the Secretary of State and local business resources. There may be options available for small business owners depending on your situation.

  • Who receives the fees for forming my Iowa business?

    Your fees are paid to the Iowa Secretary of State.

  • What is usually the biggest fee I will pay when I form my Iowa business?

    It depends upon your type of business and the licenses and permits you may need.

  • What payment methods can I use to pay my LLC or corporation filing fees to the Iowa government?

    The Iowa government will accept cash, check, or credit card. The FastTrack Filing system will only accept credit cards.

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