How to Find the Best Registered Agent in Iowa
What is an Iowa registered agent?
A registered agent in Iowa is the point of contact between you and the Iowa Secretary of State.
The agent or service you appoint will be responsible for accepting service of process and official correspondence, including:
- Certificate of Organization – the formation documents for an LLC in Iowa
- Articles of Incorporation – the corporation formation documents submitted to the Secretary of State
- Biennial report fee– due every odd-numbered year between January 1 and April 1
- Certificate of Standing– proof that an Iowa business is in good standing
- Iowa franchise tax – due April 30 every year to the Iowa Department of Revenue
A registered agent is the physical presence you need
The Iowa Secretary of State requires a business to have someone physically available at a street address during regular business hours to receive notices and other important documents.
An appointed registered agent’s address can be the business address to keep it from being listed in the searchable public record database.
An agent is the go-between between you and the state of Iowa
The Iowa Secretary of State requires all businesses to have a point of contact between it and the state so that they know that someone is available during business hours to receive service of process.
You have 14 days to respond to a legal summons in Iowa. If a business owner fails to respond, it can result in default judgments and other monetary sanctions.
A registered agent is a helpful reminder
The biennial report fee is due every odd-numbered year between January 1 and April 1, which is complicated and hard to keep up with.
A professional registered agent service keeps a compliance calendar to alert you when a due date is near and helps you file the proper biennial report documents and pay the correct fees.
Cost of a registered agent in Iowa
For no cost to you or your business, you can appoint yourself as your own registered agent or choose a family member or trusted friend.
The Iowa state registered agent requirements are that you are at least 18 and have a physical address in the state.
Depending on state fees, an outside registered agent service will cost between $50 and $50.
When to appoint a registered agent
You provide the registered agent information when you submit formation documents to the Iowa Secretary of State.
A limited liability company (LLC) gives the state the information by submitting the Certificate of Organization.
Corporations in Iowa submit the Articles of Incorporation to notify the Iowa Secretary of State of who the agent is.
Regardless of structure, a business organization must appoint and maintain a registered agent when forming the business.
Other business structures include:
- Sole proprietorships
How does an Iowa LLC appoint a registered agent?
You will list the agent when you submit the Certificate of Organization to the Iowa Secretary of State.
File the Certificate of Organization
You can read and follow the instructions to submit your LLC Certificate of Organization by mail or fax to the Iowa Secretary of State.
Lucas State Office Building
321 E 12th St
Des Moines, IA 50319
If you prefer to file online, you can use the Iowa Fast Track Filing System to file the formation documents.
Appoint your registered agent
The Certificate of Organization is not a form.
Instead, you must provide information in writing regarding your registered agent in section 2b, including:
- registered agent name
- registered agent’s address
The registered agent will consent to the appointment by signing the written document you submit to the Iowa Secretary of State.
Pay your Iowa filing fees
The cost for an LLC to file the Iowa Certificate of Organization is $50
The Iowa Secretary of State does not offer any expedited services.
The cost to file Certiciate of Organization in Iowa is $50.
How to change your registered agent
When you change registered agents in Iowa, you must notify the Secretary of State of the switch.
Submit the statement of change of registered agent online
You will use the Iowa Fast Track Filing website to file the statement of change of registered agent form.
Submit the statement of change by mail, fax, or in person
You will download and complete the statement of change of registered agent form and submit it to the Iowa Secretary of State by mail, fax, or in person.
The fee for filing a change of agent is $5 for partnerships and no charge for other business entities.
Iowa doesn’t offer expedited services for changing registered agents.
The cost to switch registered agents is $5 for partnerships. Iowa does not charge other business structures for changes to the agent or address changes.
Submit the change of registered agent in the biennial report
Each odd-numbered year you submit a report. On that report, you can make changes to the registered agent.
You can only use the biennial report to update agent information if it’s near the filing period.
How to resign as a registered agent in Iowa
You will first deliver the statement of the resignation of the registered agent to the company you’re resigning from.
You will then submit the original to the Iowa Secretary of State by mail, fax, or in person.
The statement of the resignation of the registered agent form will ask for specific information.
- business entity name
- principal office address
- registered office address
Iowa does not charge for withdrawing as a registered agent unless you file a fax. The fee for filing by fax is $1.
Benefits of appointing a registered agent in Iowa
Your compliance calendar is kept for you
The biennial report fee is due every odd-number year, which makes it a hassle to track.
If you fail to pay the fee on time, you risk losing asset protection and good standing in Iowa.
An appointed registered agent service will send notifications when the due date nears and assist you in filing the correct report forms and fees.
You keep personal addresses out of public records
New small business owners and entrepreneurs regularly work from home addresses or private offices.
When appointing themselves, the owner’s personal addresses are at risk of becoming public records.
Private citizens can search the Iowa Business Entities Search by business name or number.
Appointing an outside registered agent allows you to use the service’s address as the business address rather than a personal one.
You maintain a good reputation
Receiving legal documents like subpoenas is some of the primary responsibilities of a registered agent in Iowa.
The agent will accept those legal notices and correspondence from law firms and process servers on behalf of the company to keep it out of the view of clients.
You work when you want, not when you have to
Iowa state law requires all registered agents to be available during normal business hours, Monday through Friday.
If you appoint yourself, you are responsible for that mandated availability.
An outside resident agent service makes themselves available during those times so that you can work wherever you want.
The Iowa Certificate of Standing is at your fingertips
Banks and creditors require that you show proof of good standing when applying for loans and opening new bank accounts.
When you appoint a professional registered agent service, you get 24/7 access to your formation documents and the Certificate of Standing.
You can form a foreign LLC with ease
Expanding your LLC into a different state means you must appoint a registered agent for the process.
If you already have one appointed, the agent has the tools to keep the business formation process straightforward and fast.
Does Iowa require a registered agent for corporations?
According to the Iowa Secretary of State, regardless of the structure, all businesses must appoint a registered agent or service upon formation. Corporations are no exception.
What happens if I don’t have a registered agent in Iowa?
The Iowa Secretary of State can dissolve a business if it fails to appoint and maintain a registered agent.
Does Iowa require a registered agent for an LLC?
All businesses, regardless of the structure, must elect a registered agent upon formation, including LLCs.
Can I have my business mail delivered to a registered agent service?
A registered agent or service doesn’t handle all of your mail. Some commercial agents will charge for mail-forwarding if it’s not official correspondence or notices.
How does an Iowa registered agent get served?
A process server or sheriff will arrive at the registered agent’s office in Iowa. The agent will accept the service of the process, and the server will notify the court.
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