How to find a registered agent in Iowa

Iowa registered agent requirements

The primary role of a registered agent is to receive service of process and other critical business mail on behalf of a business. It’s important that your company knows right away if it is served with legal documents or receives important information about taxes or incorporation from the state.

For this reason, one of the most important requirements for any registered agent in the state of Iowa is to have a physical street address where the registered agent will be reliably available Monday through Friday, during normal business hours. The address cannot be a P.O. box address.

Hiring an Iowa registered agent service

In addition to the requirements outlined above, if you want to hire a registered agent service company, they need to be registered to provide registered agent services in the state of Iowa. They also must be prepared to forward important documents to your business in a timely manner.

Being your own registered agent

Individuals who want to be registered agents must be 18 or older and residents of Iowa. They also must be prepared to accept and forward important documents for your LLC or corporation.

Recommended registered agent services

Northwest Registered Agent will scan all documents you receive for your business so that you can easily see them in your online account. There, you’ll have unlimited cloud storage as well as strong business data protection, and help from their friendly customer service staff when you need it. A yearly subscription for their registered agent services costs $125.

See the full Northwest review here.

ZenBusiness is one of the most popular registered agent services, and many say they’re the best. They can help you with the process of LLC formation while also becoming your registered agent, and the total fee is just $99 per year — a great price. ZenBusiness is known for its competitive pricing, excellent customer service, and easy-to-understand plans.

See the full ZenBusiness review here.

Incfile will include their registered agent services free for the first year when you purchase their LLC formation services. After that, you’ll pay $119 per year to keep them on as your registered agent. With Incfile, you can instantly see and access your business’s important documents and legal notices by using their convenient dashboard. So that you know instantly when your business receives new mail, you’ll also receive a direct SMS notification and an immediate email.

See the full Incfile review here.

Why you need a registered agent

If you have a corporation or limited liability company (LLC) that is registered to conduct business in the state of Iowa, you must have a registered agent. Appointing a registered agent is a critical step in the formation of your business.

Your registered agent will be in charge of handling your business mail — documents like service of process notifications, tax forms, and other correspondence from the state, the courts, or the public. For critical documents that are time-sensitive, your registered agent should forward these to you on the same day that they are received.

A quality registered agent will keep you in good standing with the state so that you do not miss any deadlines or become forced to pay penalties or fees.

When you need a registered agent

You will need to choose your registered agent when you incorporate your business in Iowa. Some types of Iowa businesses won’t need to go through the incorporation process, but most LLC and corporations will.

Choosing a registered agent is the second step in this process. Before this step, businesses need to choose an available business name.

Do a business entity search on the Iowa Secretary of State website to be sure the name you’ve chosen is available. Selecting more than one name is a good idea so you have backups in case another business has already chosen your most-desired name.

Next, follow the requirements (outlined below) for choosing your registered agent. Keep in mind that it’s best to outsource this role to a professional registered agent service. Doing this will streamline the operation of your business and ensure you remain in good standing with the state.

The rest of the incorporation process will involve holding an organizational meeting where you will complete your Articles of Incorporation (Articles of Organization), create your company’s corporate bylaws, appoint the initial directors of your new business, and execute an Incorporator’s Statements.

One of the last steps will be to officially file your Articles of Incorporation. You’ll also have to pay the state filing fees and get an EIN or Employer Identification Number.

Why use a registered agent service

While some Iowa businesses decide to be their own registered agents, there are generally more benefits to having a commercial registered agent service serve as your registered agent.

Below, we’ve outlined all of the major advantages of choosing this option as you fill out the formation documents for your Iowa LLC or corporation.

More time to put toward the betterment of your business

First and foremost, using a registered agent service frees up your time. And as a business owner, your time is more important than anyone else’s. You should be using it to do the things that are needed to make your business a success. In this way, leave legal documents and business correspondence to a registered agent company.

More flexibility to work remotely, travel, and be on-the-go

As a new business owner, you need to be able to get up and go at a moment’s notice. Work trips, business lunches, seminars, and other events are all crucial to your leadership abilities.

But if you’re your own company’s registered agent, you can’t have this flexibility. That’s because registered agents need to be at one reliable address during regular business owners at all times. Leave this to your registered agent company.

The assurance of compliance

Systemizing your business filings and corporate documents can be a complex matter. The best registered agent services ensure your business stays organized and in good standing with the state at all times.

This means helping you meet annual deadlines for documents such as your Annual Report. With their help, you’ll avoid missing due dates and having to pay expensive penalties.

Privacy for your home and family and professionalism for your business

Putting your home address into the public domain isn’t a good idea. But if you’re your own registered agent, that’s exactly what you’ll have to do.

It’s better to use a professional registered office address (the address of your registered agent company). That way, whenever someone searches for your business, they won’t then know your home address, and you can keep your work and business separate from your personal life.

It’s also worth noting that using a professional registered agent address will keep service of process documents from ever being delivered to your home or business street address. This is a more professional setup and can help you avoid embarrassment were you to be sued.

Iowa registered agent costs

If you are your own company’s registered agent, you will not need to pay any fees. The Secretary of State of Iowa does not charge fees for registered agents.

You will need to pay a company if you hire them to be your official registered agent, however. Fees are generally charged by the year and are typically between $50 and $300 annually.

If you are a new business who is just starting out, you might want to go with a commercial registered agent’s most inexpensive payment option. This option won’t have all the bells and whistles, but it will fulfill the need for this role.

Ideally, your business will grow with each subsequent year, and you’ll be able to increase your level of services to meet your business needs over time.

How to change your Iowa registered agent

For businesses in Iowa who need to change who their registered agent is, take the following steps:

  • Select your new registered agent. You should have your new registered agent ready to go when you notify your old registered agent that you are moving on. This will ensure you have seamless service and are never without a registered agent.

  • Fill out the necessary paperwork. For the state of Iowa, a document called the Iowa Change of Registered Agent form is necessary. Complete the document, or inquire with your new registered agent to see if they will complete it (and file it) on your behalf.

  • Submit your Iowa Change of Registered Agent form to the Iowa Secretary of State (SOS). You’ll need to send in this form by fax or mail, or you can deliver it person. Direct the documents to the Business Services Division of the Iowa SOS, specifically.

    There are no filing fees for changing your registered agent in Iowa.

List of forms

Utilize the links and forms found below as you incorporate your Iowa company and navigate the registered agent process.

FAQs

Can I be my own registered agent in Iowa?

Yes. If you are incorporating a new business in the state of Iowa, you can act as your business’s own registered agent. Keep in mind, though, that this job comes with its own responsibilities. Likewise, you’ll have to have a physical street address in Iowa and be there reliably Monday through Friday during business hours.

What does a registered agent do with my documents?

A registered agent is tasked with accepting official correspondence for your business from the government, the public, or the courts. If your company is sued, they will receive service of process documents on your business’s behalf. These documents will be organized and/or filed and forwarded to you so that you can take action on them immediately.

What’s the difference between a resident agent and a registered agent?

A resident agent is the same as a registered agent. Both of these terms refer to a role that is necessary for all businesses in the state of Iowa. Iowa LLCs and corporations need to have registered agents so that they can accept critical legal and government documents on their behalf. ‘Statutory agent’ is another term for this position.

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