Iowa Foreign Qualification

Foreign qualification is the process by which a business entity from another state seeks permission to operate in Iowa. This involves registering with the Secretary of State in Iowa to ensure compliance with local laws and regulations.

There are 2 different ways to foreign qualify in Iowa depending on your legal entity type and tax classification. Follow the guide below to help you register with the Secretary of State in Iowa or use Mosey to do it.

Use Mosey to register with the Secretary of State in Iowa.

Iowa Foreign Registration for LLC

If you are “transacting business” in Iowa, you must register with the Secretary of State by filing a Limited Liability Company Application for Certificate of Authority. Iowa provides a non-exhaustive list of activities that do not constitute “transacting business” in lieu of defining “transacting business.”

  1. Acquire a Certificate of Existence

    Iowa requires a Certificate of Existence from your home state issued within the last 90 days to be included with the Registration Statement.

  2. Establish a Registered Agent

    You must continually maintain a registered agent in Iowa to accept service of process. Your registered agent can be either an individual who resides in Iowa, a company registered in Iowa, or a registered agent service.

  3. Create a Secretary of State Online Filing Account

    Visit Iowa's Fast Track Filing website and select "Create Account" to create an online filing account.

  4. Fill Out Your Limited Liability Company Application for Certificate of Authority

    Fill out your limited liability company Application for Certificate of Authority and save it in PDF form to submit in Fast Track Filing.

  5. Register Your Business in Fast Track Filing

    Log into your Fast Track Filing account to upload your Application for Certificate of Authority and Certificate of Existence and pay the filing fee to register your business with the Secretary of State.

Iowa Foreign Registration for C Corporation

If you are “transacting business” in Iowa, you must register with the Secretary of State by filing a Foreign Profit Corporation Registration Statement. Iowa provides a non-exhaustive list of activities that do not constitute “transacting business” in lieu of defining “transacting business.”

  1. Acquire a Certificate of Existence

    Iowa requires a Certificate of Existence from your home state issued within the last 90 days to be included with the Registration Statement.

  2. Establish a Registered Agent

    You must continually maintain a registered agent in Iowa to accept service of process. Your registered agent can be either an individual who resides in Iowa, a company registered in Iowa, or a registered agent service.

  3. Create a Secretary of State Online Filing Account

    Visit Iowa's Fast Track Filing website and select "Create Account" to create an online filing account.

  4. Fill Out Your Foreign Profit Corporation Registration Statement

    Fill out the Foreign Profit Corporation Registration Statement and save it in PDF form to submit in Fast Track Filing.

  5. Register Your Business in Fast Track Filing

    Log into your Fast Track Filing account to upload your Foreign Profit Corporation Registration Statement and Certificate of Existence to register your business with the Secretary of State.

What else do I need to know?

Once you are registered with the Secretary of State, you may have additional requirements to maintain your "good standing" in the state. Failing to do so can result in fines, back taxes, and forfeiting certain priveleges within the state.

Maintaining a Registered Agent

Most states require that you have a registered agent that can receive important mail from the Secretary of State should they need to contact you. There are many commercial options available or you can use Mosey to be your registered agent and keep your information private in Iowa.

Annual Reports and Taxes

In addition to maintaining a registered agent, most states require you to file a report annually. Registration can also trigger state taxes such as a franchise tax or income tax. You can use Mosey to identify these additional requirements to maintain good standing in Iowa.

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