Whether you’re starting a new LLC or updating the registered agent for your existing business, it’s important to choose the best Iowa registered agent for your needs.
This article will help you to choose the registered agent that best fits your business, go over the basic functions of registered agents, and answer common questions about registered agents.
If you haven’t yet formed your LLC, you can get one year of registered agent services for free if you form your LLC with Northwest Registered Agent ($29 + state fees). (This is a great deal!).
An Iowa registered agent is an individual or business entity that is appointed by an Iowa LLC or corporation to receive tax and legal documents such as service of process, government correspondence, and compliance documents on behalf of the business.
Best Iowa Registered Agent Service
When choosing a registered agent service, you want someone who understands the importance of staying compliant and being diligent about legal processes and paperwork. That’s why Northwest Registered Agent is our #1 registered agent service choice for Iowa businesses.
Recommended Registered Agent Service
Northwest Registered Agent is our #1 overall pick for registered agent services. Their cost is $125/year – or get a year of service free when you form your LLC with them ($29 + state fees).
We recommend Northwest Registered Agent, which offers everything that you need to form your LLC along with Registered Agent services. The company boasts over 20 years of operations helping small businesses start or grow.
Northwest has a 100% Error-Free Guarantee with outstanding customer support, exceptional services, and high prices to match. If data privacy and access to customer support are top on your list, the extra costs of working with Northwest Registered Agent may be well worth it for you and your business.
See how Northwest Registered Agent compares to other registered agent services in StateRequirement’s Best Registered Agent Services review.
What Does an Iowa Registered Agent Do?
A registered agent does a few things for a company. Their main task is to be present when or if the company needs to receive tax or legal paperwork. These would be documents that can’t be sent to a mailbox or delivered to a front desk; rather, documents that must be handed directly to the person who represents the company.
A simple example would be a service of process, which is the delivery of legal documents in a lawsuit. These service documents must be delivered directly to the company’s representative – the registered agent – to ensure they are received.
This may seem like a small task, but the caveat that makes this a critical position is that the registered agent is required to be at the documented location to receive these papers during all “regular business hours.” This is the main reason that most people choose to use a registered agent service rather than operating as their own agent.
Other forms that your registered agent may receive on your behalf are:
- Tax forms
- Legal documents
- Official government correspondence
- Service of process
Another function of a registered agent is to file official documents with the state in which the LLC or corporation is established. In most states, businesses are required to file an annual report once per year to keep the business in “good standing” with the state.
Learn more about why your business needs a registered agent.
Can I Be My Own Registered Agent in Iowa?
The short answer is yes, you can be your own registered agent.
Whether or not that’s the best plan for you or your company is another question entirely. If you are looking to spend the absolute, bare minimum amount of money on your business, then being your own registered agent may not be a terrible choice. Still, even in that scenario, we don’t recommend it.
Benefits of Using a Registered Agent Service
There are only a few realistic options when it comes to whom you file as your registered agent:
- An attorney
- A registered agent service
As mentioned above, being your own agent has pitfalls and isn’t recommended. What’s more, an attorney in this position would be quite expensive and is generally only a viable option if you had them form your business for you.
So, that leaves you with the option of using a service. Here are the biggest benefits of using a professional registered agent service:
When you form an LLC or corporation, your formation data goes into a state database which is open and searchable to the public. The information in this database can include:
- Business name
- Formation date
- Registered agent name
- Registered agent address
While you can’t stop the state from publishing this information, you can retain the privacy of your name and your address by using a registered agent service. Since this information is public, marketing companies use these databases to gather information to market their products and services to business owners. Your mailbox will thank you for keeping your business address private.
Another major privacy benefit is having legal documents delivered to your agent and not you personally. If, for some reason, someone brings a lawsuit against your company, would you rather have your agent call you with these documents or have them served to you in front of your customers, clients, or employees?
Along with privacy, another of the main benefits of using a registered agent service is that they will help to keep your business in “good standing” with the state.
Some states require LLCs and corporations to file annual reports or other timely documents. While these generally aren’t difficult tasks, they are often easily forgotten or lost in the day-to-day work that your business hands you.
Your registered agent will send you reminders that this work needs to be completed, and some will even provide you with the proper documents to make your work even easier.
How Do I Elect a Registered Agent in Iowa?
LLCs in Iowa are required to have a registered agent. A registered agent is responsible for receiving any official paperwork sent to the business, which may include tax bills and notifications, service of process papers, and other documents.
To carry out these responsibilities, your chosen registered agent must have a physical address in the state (i.e., not just a P.O. box). They also should be willing to sign for official correspondence if necessary and be broadly available during normal business hours.
You can file for a registered agent yourself, or you can choose to have an LLC formation service take care of the matter for you. A service will include this as a standard step of creating an LLC in Iowa.
When filing a Certificate of Organization. Iowa is unique in that the state doesn’t have an official certificate form to complete. Instead, should you choose to notify the state of your registered agent yourself, you can file using the following steps:
Create your own Certificate of Organization with the following information:
- Name of your limited liability company
- Name of your initial LLC registered agent
- Address of the initial registered office
The registered office is the (non-P.O. box) mailing address for the registered agent. You can choose to include additional information, but these are the minimum required details. Full details are available from Iowa’s Revised Uniform Limited Liability Company Act.
- If filing online, you must use Iowa’s Fast Track Filing System. You’ll need to create an account using the name of your LLC, an active email address, and a credit card that you’ll use to complete your filing.
- If filing by mail or by fax, you can send a hard copy of your LLC’s Certificate of Organization to the Iowa Secretary of State – Business Services Division using the contact information found below. Along with the document, you must include the payment for the filing fee. The new Iowa LLC filing fee is $50 made payable via money order, check, or credit card to the Iowa Secretary of State. If using a credit card, the Credit Card Payment Authorization Form must also be completed and submitted.
How Do I Change My LLC’s Registered Agent in Iowa
If you ever need to change your LLC’s registered agent, the state provides one avenue for filing.
- File Change of Registered Office or Registered Agent
Complete and submit a Statement of Change of Registered Office and/or Registered Agent. The same form should be used if you keep the same registered agent but they move within the state. The new registered agent must sign the Statement of Change document, as well as an authorized representative of the LLC. This document can be mailed or faxed to the Iowa Secretary of State – Business Services Division. The contact information is seen below. LLCs don’t have to pay a fee when changing their registered agent. To file online, you must use the Iowa Secretary of State’s Fast Track Filing website and select “Change of Registered Agent”. Complete the form and have your new agent sign it electronically. There is still no filing fee for online filing.
If you choose to use or switch to a registered agent service, they should complete and file the changes for you. For more information about our recommended Registered Agent service for your LLC, check out our Northwest Registered Agent review.
Recommended Registered Agent Service
We recommend Northwest Registered Agent, which offers their Iowa registered agent service free for one year along with your LLC formation.
Iowa Secretary of State Contact Information
Iowa Secretary of State
Business Services Division
First Floor, Lucas Building
321 E. 12th St.
Des Moines, IA 50319
Iowa Secretary of State
321 E 12th St #1
Des Moines, IA 50319
Hours: Monday – Friday, 8:00 am – 4:30 pm
Phone: (515) 281-5204
Fax: (515) 242-5953
Iowa Registered Agent FAQ
Who can be an Iowa registered agent?
Anybody who meets the necessary requirements can act as your registered agent. These requirements include:
Must be at least 18 years old
Must have a physical street address in the state of Iowa
Must be available during typical work hours (i.e., 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday)
Is a statutory agent the same as a registered agent?
Yes. Some states refer to registered agents as statutory agents. Other names for registered agents include resident agent and agent for service of process.
Can I be my own registered agent?
While you can be your own registered agent, it comes with a lot of responsibility. This could take you away from the parts of your business that you enjoy the most. It can also be stressful trying to keep up with all compliance requirements, and your information will also be available on the public record.
Can I get a free registered agent?
Yes, as long as they meet all of the necessary requirements and follow the state’s guidelines. It can lead to trouble if you use someone that doesn’t follow all rules and regulations. Many LLC formation services offer free registered agent services with their packages for a certain amount of time.
Why do I need a registered agent?
All states require that LLCs have a registered agent. Businesses need registered agents because there needs to be a point of contact for every business, for legal processes, communication, and staying in compliance. Check out StateRequirement’s guide on why you need an LLC registered agent.
How do I choose a registered agent?
The best registered agent or service will be responsible, helpful, and honest. They should have a track record of being on time and working with other influential businesses.
How much does a registered agent service cost?
A registered agent service can cost as low as $99/year for some services, but others may charge considerably more depending on what services they offer.