How to Register a Business Name in Iowa

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Iowa Code Chapter 547 requires businesses to register their trade name. This is needed if the trade name isn't the same as the business owner’s name. Claim your business name as soon as you can; you'll have to chose another one if someone else claims the name you originally wanted. These steps bring you the name registration resources you'll need to quickly claim your business name.

Know that you can register your business name in the Iowa county your business will operate in. Pull up the Official State of Iowa Website, then click on the word "Government" on the Website's left side. Select "Cities & Counties" from the bulleted list, then select "Counties" on the page that comes up. Select the first letter of your county, then select your county's name. Obtain your county recorder's office address; this is where you'll be able to register your business name in person. Proceed to the next step if you'd rather file by mail.

Access the Iowa Secretary of State Webpage and click on the "Business Services" link. Look over to the right of the page for the "this guide" hyperlinked text. Click that text, then scroll down until you get to the hyperlinks under the question dealing with business name. Click on the "Application for Reservation of Name" link; this will bring up Iowa Form 635 0051.

Know that you could fill this form out on the screen, or you could print it out and fill it. Click the box right next to the kind of business you're opening. Click "OK" on the warning window that comes up; this window informs you of your ability to save, or not save, your PDF entries. Go to line 1, and type the name you want to register. Type your name and address in Line 2. Type your name in the second line of the signature section, then type the date.

Print this name registration form and sign the signature line in the signature section. Prepare a check for the $10 filing fee, put "Secretary of State" for "pay to the order of" on the check. Mail this form, along with the filing fee, to this address: Secretary of State; Business Services Division; Lucas Building, 1st Floor; Des Moines, Iowa 50319. Call at (515) 281-5204 to let the agency know that your filing fee is on the way.

If you've registered a name but changed your mind and want to give it to someone else, repeat Step 1, but click the "Notice for Transfer of Corporate Name" hyperlink. Once you have Iowa Form 635 0023 on your screen, type the date. Hit "OK" when you get the warning window informing you of your PDF saving capabilities. Complete the information designating the name transfer, then type your name and title in the signature section. Print the form and sign it. Mail it along with the $10 fee; “Secretary of State” as the payee, to the same address in the previous step.

Tips & Warnings

  • Complete these business name registration forms on the computer; then print more than one copy. Sign all copies, send one to the Secretary of State and keep the other copies for your personal files.
  • Registering your name doesn't guarantee that you'll have sole rights to it. You could always trademark your business name by contacting the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office at its toll free number at (866) 217-9197. See Resources below.

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