You did it. Your Iowa LLC is officially up and running, ready to take on challenges, roll in the profits, and change the world.
There’s no doubt that this is an exciting time in your business journey. After starting your LLC, it’s easy to get carried away in all the excitement and expectations. After all, as a new business owner, you’ve got a lot on your plate.
But the state does too. They need to keep updated records on thousands of businesses so that they can effectively reach out with any important tax or legal communications down the road. How do they do it? With your cooperation, of course.
In Iowa, an LLC must file a biennial report once every other year to keep the state up-to-date regarding your business structure and management. Unsure how to go about it? Never even heard of it? No worries at all. That’s why we’re here. Keep reading for everything you need to know.
If you’d like to hand off this responsibility to save time and focus on running your business, affordable LLC services are a great solution. Not only will they form your business in the first place, but they’ll also manage ongoing requirements like ongoing report filing. Once you're ready to lock it down, have ZenBusiness file all the paperwork.
What Is an Iowa Biennial Report? Why Is It Important?
Consider a biennial report the state’s yearly checkup on your LLC. It’s similar to a census in that its purpose is to collect the necessary contact and structural information about each Iowa business.
Each state has its own annual or biennial reporting requirements, and some don’t even require them. But in most states, you’re required to submit one per year that includes your LLC name, principal office address, registered agent information, and member/manager names and addresses. Whether you run a domestic or foreign LLC, you should plan on submitting biennial reports.
Don’t be intimidated, but it’s not something you want to take lightly. This is how the state updates your LLC’s record with the most recent information. They need to know how to reach you with important information about your business status, upcoming filings, taxes, and service of process.
For example, if you change your registered agent, or your current agent resigns, you’ll need to keep the state informed so they can update their contact information. Miss one of their communications and your LLC in Iowa might end up falling out of good standing or, even worse, administratively dissolved.
Moreover, keeping your information current will help other businesses and potential customers find you. Anyone who performs a name search on the Secretary of State website will see your most recent information, so keeping it updated is crucial.
How Much Does the Iowa LLC Biennial Report Fee Cost?
If you’re putting together a budget for all your LLC’s costs – like formation costs, name reservation fees, and initial operating expenses – it’s important to include biennial filings like this one, just so that there are no surprises.
Costs vary from state to state. Some are free while others can be several hundred dollars. Iowa biennial reports, however, won’t break the bank. You’ll only need to pay $60 for hard copy submissions and $45 for online ones.
Due Date and Frequency for a Biennial Report in Iowa
Iowa is one of the states that only requires its businesses to file reports once every two years, hence the name biennial report. No matter which year you formed your LLC, you will need to file by April 1st on every odd-numbered year, starting with the first odd-numbered year after you form your LLC.
For example, if you initially file your Certificate of Organization to register your LLC in 2021 or 2022, you won’t need to file your first report until 2023.
What Happens if You Don’t File?
You might be thinking, “that sounds like a pain. How bad could it be if I just fly under the radar?” The short answer: don’t try it. Failing to file your biennial report can yield some serious consequences.
There’s no fee for late filings, but don’t let that mislead you into thinking there are no penalties. Missing the deadline will cause the state to label your LLC “delinquent.” Remain in delinquent status long enough and the state can administratively dissolve your business. At this point, you would need to file an Application for Reinstatement and any outstanding reports.
Whether April 1 of an odd-numbered year is coming up or you still have several months, it’s good to know what information you’ll need to provide. Here’s what each biennial report will require:
- LLC name
- Registered office street address
- Registered agent name
- Principal office street address
- Signature of the LLC’s authorized person
It’s that easy! You probably have all of this information nearby, if you don’t already know it off the top of your head. The filing shouldn’t take much longer than a few minutes, especially if you’re filing online.
If you’re reading this in January, February, or March of an odd-numbered year, it’s filing season! You can submit your biennial report either online or as a hard copy. They’re both equally effective, although online filing is both faster and cheaper.
Online: Head over to the Secretary of State’s biennial report filing page. Enter your business name and temporary code, which you or your registered agent should have received in the mail. From there, you can follow the instructions to file your report. You will also need to pay the $45 filing fee.
Filing by Mail: You can access a print form from the same biennial report filing page. Enter your business name and code, then click “Print Form.” Complete the form and include your $60 payment. Then mail it to:
Secretary of State
Lucas Building, 1st Floor
321 E. 12th Street
Des Moines, IA 50319
Does the State Send Reminders?
Reminders are always nice. They help you stay on top of your business requirements and ensure that you won’t fall out of good standing.
The Secretary of State will mail out a biennial report postcard in early January of every odd-numbered year. This postcard isn’t just a reminder, though – it also contains your business’ temporary code, which you’ll use to access and print your report, so don’t lose it! If you didn’t receive a postcard reminder, check with your registered agent.
Even though you’ll receive notification from the state, it’s still a good idea to set your own reminders. Use your planner, phone, calendar, post-it notes, whatever helps you remember, so you can avoid the penalties for delinquent reports.
There you have it, everything you need to know about Iowa’s reporting requirements. Follow this guide to a T and your LLC will be prepared to operate smoothly and in good standing long into the future.
And remember, if at any point it seems overwhelming, you’re not alone. A good LLC service like ZenBusiness (or LegalZoom) can be a valuable resource, taking care of all the little details, so you can focus on growing your business.
Frequently Asked Questions
About Filing the Iowa Biennial Report
Should I use a biennial report service, hire an attorney, or prepare and file my own reports?
This question largely comes down to personal preferences, but we do have some general insights. The DIY route can be quite a bit of work, as you’ll need to keep track of your due dates and complete the entire report on your own with no assistance. As for hiring an attorney, this can be prohibitively expensive for many businesses, as a lawyer can charge hundreds or even thousands of dollars to prepare and file your biennial reports.
You can think of business services companies as a middle ground between these options. While most of these companies charge a fee to prepare and file your biennial reports, that fee will be significantly less expensive than an attorney’s fee. At the same time, you still aren’t going it alone. Instead, you have an experienced professional guiding you through the entire process.
I’ve heard the most about LegalZoom. Are they the best biennial report service?
LegalZoom is the most well-known of all business services companies, thanks to its long track record and extensive advertising campaigns. That said, all of that brand power comes at a cost, as LegalZoom’s pricing and features don’t always compare advantageously to its competitors. While we do appreciate LegalZoom’s biennial report filing service, it isn’t our top choice.
When is my biennial report due?
No matter when you formed your LLC, your biennial report due date will be April 1 of each odd-numbered year following your formation year.
Does Iowa require LLCs to file initial reports?
In some states, LLCs are also required to file initial reports. These reports are typically quite similar to annual or biennial reports, with the difference being that an initial report either accompanies your formation documents or follows their filing within a couple of months.
However, Iowa does not require initial reports from LLCs. This state gathers all of the information it needs for the first year or two of your LLC’s existence in your Certificate of Organization.
What if I need more time to complete my biennial report?
Iowa does not typically provide extensions for biennial report filings. That said, the state doesn’t immediately penalize LLCs that fail to meet the deadline for filing, as Iowa will wait a while before administratively dissolving a business that missed its biennial report deadline.
Where can I find more official information about Iowa’s LLC biennial reporting requirements?
To be honest, Iowa doesn’t provide much official information about biennial reports online. If you have questions that this article can’t answer, you might want to simply call the Secretary of State’s office for further information.