Usually, you verify that the name you want to use is available.
And then you prepare and submit a simple, one page statement that identifies the name and address of the LLC, the registered agent, the duration of the LLC (if the LLC’s life is limited from the very start), along with a brief description of the LLC’s purpose. You then sign this statement as the official “organizer” of the LLC and submit the document to the Iowa Secretary of State.
If you’d like to see examples of the one page statement, which becomes your certificate of organization, as well as other forms, you may want to to purchase our kit for $37.95. We also offer these free step-by-step instructions on getting the formation paperwork filed below.
1. Check if the LLC name you want is available
As a first step, you should check if the LLC name you want to use is even available. Here’s an easy and free way to do this: You can search for a similarly named LLC using the Iowa Secretary of State’s online database at:
Although not necessary, you can reserve a name for $10. This would be important if you do not plan to get your forms in immediately.
2. Identify the name you want to use for your new LLC
The first article, or statement, of your certificate of organization should identify the business or investment name. In Figure 1, I used the example name, “Acme Explosives LLC.” Note that a limited liability company name must contain the words “Limited Company” or “Limited Liability Company” or the abbreviation “L.C.” or “L.L.C.” For example, all of the following names should be acceptable:
- Acme Explosives Limited Liability Company
- Acme Explosives Limited Company
- Acme Explosives L.L.C.
- Acme Explosives L.C.
3. Provide your name and address as the registered agent
The second article, or statement, of your certificate of organization should name a registered agent and provide the registered agent’s address. A registered agent is an individual who is a resident of Iowa that the state and other parties can contact for official purposes. Note that you can outsource this registered agent duty to a third-party, but it’s really easiest (and cheapest) to just be your own registered agent.
4. Indicate the address in which the LLC office is located
The third article, or statement, of the certificate of organization specifies the address of LLC office.
5. Business activity info (optional)
The fourth article, or statement, briefly describes your business activities.
6. State the duration of your LLC (optional)
If you plan to dissolve your LLC, include a fifth article, or statement, that states the planned LLC dissolution date. By the way, if you don’t have a pre-planned end date, you don’t need to include this article. Or, alternatively, you can specify that the duration is perpetual, which is typical.
7. Identify yourself as the LLC organizer
At the bottom of the certificate of LLC organization, you provide your name, signature and the date of your signature.
8. Submit the application
After you complete the Certificate of Organization, mail the document and a check for $50 to:
Secretary of State
First Floor, Lucas Building
321 E. 12th St.
Des Moines, IA 50319
Processing lead times vary, but in general, it takes several weeks to get your LLC certificate back from the Secretary of State’s office.