Our work is reader-supported, meaning that we may earn a commission from the products and services mentioned.

Iowa DBA / Trade Name Registration In 4 Easy Steps

Iowa DBA / Trade Name Registration In 4 Easy Steps

Advertising Disclosure


Iowa DBA / Trade Name Registration In 4 Easy Steps

If you’re planning to start a business in Iowa using a specific name, you may need to register for a business name. Business name registration is commonly referred to as an Iowa DBA, “Doing Business As,” or Fictitious Business Name, but is officially called a Trade Name. 

To see if you need to register for an Iowa Trade Name and steps on how to register, check out our guide.

Related: How to start a business in Iowa

Who Needs to Register for an Iowa Trade Name?

The requirements and need to register for a Trade Name vary, depending on the type of business entity.

Sole proprietorships and general partnerships are the most common business structures to register for an Iowa DBA. By default, the name of a sole proprietorship and general partnership is the owner(s) legal name, but if the small business owner wants to operate under a specific name, they will need to complete the Trade Name registration.

For example, if John Smith starts a business repairing computers but doesn’t use a business name, he doesn’t have to register.  If John decides to name his business John’s Computer Repair, he will need to register with the local county recorder.

Related: How to register an Iowa sole proprietorship

A corporation and Limited Liability Company won’t typically register for an Iowa DBA since a unique entity name is created during the entity formation process. However, some will want to register for a DBA if they have another business or brand name they want to operate in addition to the legal name of the business. This can allow multiple businesses to operate with the liability protection of an Iowa corporation or Limited Liability Company without having to form another entity. 

By not registering a Trade Name, the business owner could be fined up to $100 or jailed for up to 30 days.

Steps to Register an Iowa Trade Name

Sole Proprietorship and Partnership

Step 1: Obtain the Form

Many County Recorders have the Trade Name form available for download on their website, while some require it to be picked up in person.

Contact information for County Recorders is available from the Iowa State Association of Counties

Step 2: Fill out the Form

Common information requested includes:

  • Name and address of people who have an ownership interest in the business
  • Business name being applied for
  • Address of the business

Step 3: Notarize the Form

Before signing and filing the form, be sure to have it notarized.  Most county offices will have notary services available.

Step 4: Submit the Form

Submit the form and filing fee to the local County Recorder’s office.  Once filed, a Registration of Trade Name certificate will be provided.

If you would prefer to have a someone else research DBA name availability and file the required forms, Bizee and LegalZoom offer a DBA registration service for $99, plus state fees.

Corporation, LLC, and LP

Step 1: Obtain the Form

The Fictitious Name Resolution form can be filled out and filed online or downloaded from the Iowa Secretary of State.

Step 2: Fill out the Form

Information required on the form includes the applicant’s name, the business’s name, date, signature, and type of business entity.

  • Corporations will need to check the box marked “Iowa Business Corporation Act (profit corporation – Iowa Code ch. 490).
  • LLCs will need to check the box marked “Revised Uniform Limited Liability Company Act (Iowa Code ch. 489).

Step 3: Submit the Form

The form can be filed online or sent by mail. If sending by mail, the address is:
Iowa Secretary of State
Business Services Division
Lucas Building, 1st Floor
Des Moines, Iowa 50319


How much does an Iowa Trade Name cost?

Sole Proprietorships and Partnerships will pay $7 to the County Recorder for registering a Trade Name, while corporations and LLCs will pay $5 to the Secretary of State to register.

This is a one-time fee and does not require renewal.

Are there any naming restrictions when filing an Iowa DBA?

A Trade Name can’t use a business entity suffix that is different from the type of entity. For example, a sole proprietorship can’t use LLC or corporation in its name.

Trade Names also may not be registered using words related to banks, insurance, or attorney, with words like banking, savings, trust, credit union, insurance, or lawyer, unless the business is licensed to provide those services.

Words may not be used if they refer to a governmental agency, such as FBI, Treasury, State Department, etc.

Can someone use my business name after registering an Iowa DBA?

Registering your Trade Name will not stop anyone else from registering the exact same name in Iowa, nor does it stop someone else from operating a business under that name in other states.

If stopping others from using your business name is important, you can protect it through a federal trademark through the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office.

Learn more about trademarking a business name

Does a DBA need an EIN?

An EIN or Employer Identification Number (also informally called a business tax ID number) is a unique nine-digit number that some businesses will register for through the Internal Revenue Department (IRS). An EIN is required for partnerships, corporations, multi-member LLCs, or any business that has employees.

Sole proprietorships and single-member LLCs without employees can use the owner’s social security number to identify the business.
There is no cost to get an EIN when registering directly from the IRS.

Related: How to register for an EIN in Iowa

What is the difference between an Iowa Trade Name and a business license?

These are actually two different business registrations. In addition to the Iowa Trade Name registration, most businesses will also need a business license. The licenses a business will need vary depending on what the business does and local registration requirements.

Related: What business licenses are needed in Iowa?

Iowa DBA / Trade Name Registration In 4 Easy Steps

Iowa DBA / Trade Name Registration In 4 Easy Steps

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Some (but not all) of the links on StartUp101.com are affiliate links. This means that a special tracking code is used and that we may make a small commission on the sale of an item if you purchase through one of these links. The price of the item is the same for you whether it is an affiliate link or not, and using affiliate links helps us to maintain this website.

StartUp101.com is also a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.

Our mission is to help businesses start and promoting inferior products and services doesn’t serve that mission. We keep the opinions fair and balanced and not let the commissions influence our opinions.