Corporations can provide important legal liability protection. Entrepreneurs in Iowa can use the Iowa Secretary of State’s office to file several kinds of for-profit Iowa corporations. The Secretary also processes documents for Iowa nonprofits. Filers can obtain the necessary forms online, select a corporation type and name, and mail in the completed forms and fee to start a corporate business in Iowa.
Open the Iowa Secretary of State’s “Choosing a Business” page at Sos.state.ia.us/business/handbookintro.html. On this page, you can find information on various types of Iowa businesses. Iowa corporations consist of the following types: nonprofit, cooperative, professional and profit.
Check out the information pages to try to determine which kind of business you should file in Iowa. Of course, charities and other non-business entities should file a nonprofit corporation. However, business corporations vary based on the purpose of the business, the people involved, etc. For example, lawyers or other licensed residents may form a professional corporation. This can get complicated, so you may wish to consult an Iowa business attorney.
Fill out “Articles of Incorporation” for the type of business you wish to open. Legal stationery stores may have sample forms for filing a corporation in Iowa. Again, though, it may be best to at least speak to an attorney about how to fill out “Articles of Incorporation.” Note that the handbook mentioned above contains additional details about the necessary information on “Articles of Incorporation.”
In the case of a nonprofit, make sure you determine the proper articles to file to get federal tax-exempt status. In addition to the handbook mentioned above, you should also check out Publication 557. That Internal Revenue Service publication can be searched for over at the IRS.gov website. Use the search feature at the top right of the home page to get to Publication 557. Read it before you complete and file your Iowa nonprofit “Artticles of Incorporation.”
Prepare the necessary filing fees. Iowa charges $20 to file “Articles of Organization” for a cooperative corporation, $20 for a nonprofit “Articles of Incorporation” and $50 for a regular or professional business corporation. Call 515-281-5204 for additional fee instructions.
Send the form and fees to the following address:
First Floor, Lucas Building
321 E. 12th St.
Des Moines, IA 50319
Iowa Secretary of State “Choosing a Business” Page