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How to File a Certificate of Organization in Iowa

Written by:

Natalie is a business writer with experience in operations, HR, and training & development within the software, healthcare, and financial services sectors.

Edited by:

David has been writing and learning about business, finance and globalization for a quarter-century, starting with a small New York consulting firm in the 1990s.

How to File a Certificate of Organization in Iowa

In Iowa, as in most states, the primary step in creating a limited liability company (LLC) is to file a certificate of organization with the state. This is an absolutely crucial document that helps define your business, so it’s important to do it correctly.

An LLC is a business entity that offers liability protection for owners, as well as pass-through taxation, much like a sole proprietorship. 

What is a Certificate of Organization?

The certificate of organization is a legal document you need to file with the state to form your LLC. It will specify details about your company and establish your LLC as an officially registered business entity in Iowa. 

The document is similar to the articles of incorporation you would file to form a corporation instead of an LLC. 

closeup view map of iowa, usa

How to File the Iowa Certificate of Organization

In Iowa, the process to file a certificate of organization is quite simple. The crucial first step is gathering the required information about your new LLC, before proceeding with the filing itself. 

Here are the steps you’ll need to take to create your new business entity: 

  1. Gather the required information about your business.
    • Entity name
    • Entity address
    • Registered agent name
    • Registered office address
    • Effective date
    • Expiration date
  2. Visit the Iowa Secretary of State website

In Iowa, there is no standardized certificate of organization form. You will need to draft your own document based on the requirements outlined below. It’s easiest to complete the process online and file immediately, but you can also mail in a hard copy of your drafted document. Find the instructions for drafting an Iowa certificate of organization here.

Certificate of Organization for LLC Guidelines
  1. Filling out Certificate of Organization Document

If you don’t already have an Iowa Fast Track Filing account, you’ll need to create one to file your certificate of organization online.

NOTE: In order to submit payment online, you must set up your payment information under the “My Profile” section. Take care of this before you begin filling out your form, otherwise you’ll be forced to start the filing process all over again once you reach the end.

Once you create an account and enter your payment information in the “My Profile” section, click on “File Business Entity Document” from the “Helpful Links” menu on the right hand side. On the next page, click “Form an Iowa limited liability company”. 

Filing Certificate of Organization in Iowa Online

On the following screen, select the appropriate chapter and enter your business name in the “Name of Entity” field. Click “Check Name” to make sure it is available. Enter in an effective date and time of your filing. Enter an expiration date or click the checkbox next to “Perpetual”. 

The next section asks you to upload your drafted certificate organization in PDF format. Refer to these guidelines to make sure your document contains all of the required information.

You will then be asked “Does the limited liability company hold an interest in agricultural land in Iowa?”. Click “yes” or “no”. In the next sections, fill in your registered agent contact information and your principal office address. At the bottom of the form, type in an electronic signature and click “Review & Pay” to head to the payment screen.

When filling out the certificate of organization online form, be sure to double-check that all the information is accurate and up-to-date. Maybe you’ve just moved, or use your middle initial in official documents, such as with your bank account. If you get it wrong now, changing it later can be a real pain. So accuracy is crucial. 

  • File Certificate of Organization – 

The final step in the process is to submit payment through the website’s payment screen or mail in all documentation. The filing fee in Iowa is $50.

Certificate of Organization in Iowa Filing Fee

Iowa Secretary of State Contact Info

Main website: Iowa Secretary of State

Online portal website: Fast Track Filing

Iowa Secretary of State
First Floor, Lucas Building
321 E. 12th St.
Des Moines, IA 50319

Business Services
General: 515-281-5204
TTY: Call 711 followed by 515-281-5204
Fax: 515-242-5953
Email: [email protected]
Hours: Monday – Friday 8:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

The Bottom Line

In Iowa, it’s relatively easy to create an LLC, but you do need to jump through a few hoops. You now have all the information you need to officially create your new business and begin your entrepreneurial journey in The Hawkeye State.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Do I need an attorney to file a certificate of organization in Iowa?

You do not need an attorney to file articles of organization in Iowa. You can easily file online yourself, or use a business formation service. ZenBusiness’s online LLC formation service will enable you to form your LLC in just a few minutes.

How do I amend my LLC certificate of organization?

To amend your certificate of organization, you will need to draft and submit a document based on these guidelines. You can either complete this through your Fast Track Filing account or mail in your document. The filing fee is $50.

How do I get a copy of my certificate of organization in Iowa?

You can request a copy of your certificate of organization by calling the Iowa Secretary of State Business Services office at 515-281-5204. The fee for certified copies is $5 plus $1 per page.


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How to File a Certificate of Organization in Iowa