How Much Is A Business License In Iowa?

Business licenses, also called sales or tax certificates, are an important legal requirement for business in the United States. All businesses who want to operate a branch or main office in Iowa are required by law to register for a tax certificate or business license that guarantees tax compliance with the state.

How much is a business license in Iowa? Business licenses in Iowa cost from $15 and up to register. Fees are non-refundable, and have to accompany the application whether it’s made online, via the mail or in person at a registration office.

Business licenses or tax certificates are required for any company who wants to trade or operate a branch within the state of Iowa, but there is no general business license for this state.

Instead, businesses in Iowa apply through the office of their individual town or city, and license applications cost $15 and up.

No business can trade without a tax certificate in Iowa, but there is no general business license for coverage in the entire state. Instead, businesses who register here have to seek out their indiivudal town or state office for the correct business license per-town. Costs can differ from one city to the next, and might be different if additional licenses are necessary.

Business License Registration in Iowa

Iowa requires a business license for any company who wants to operate a main office or branch within the state, but there’s one thing Iowa does differently to other states: there’s no general business license that will cover sales in the whole state.

An Iowa business license has to be registered with the city or town in which the main branch is designated. If any other branches of the business are registered throughout Iowa, these branches of the business will need their own city or town business license certificate to operate legally.

Individual state licenses are in place to lessen pressure on the Iowa processing system. If you apply for a business license through a city or town office, it will arrive much faster thanks to this step.

Business licenses in Iowa cost from $15 and up to register. Fees are non-refundable, and have to accompany the application whether it’s made online, via the mail or in person at a registration office.

If an application has been successful, the applicant will receive a copy of their certificate via the mail. An online certificate also becomes available to display for legal reasons until the printed certificate arrives.

Online submissions can take up to 14 days to arrive, though any applications that are made in person can sometimes take longer.State resources recommend that applicants follow up after 31 days.

Applications throughout Iowa cities and towns are valid for 2 years from the application date. Renewals are automatic in some parts of Iowa, although it is the applicant’s responsibility to check their certificate validity.

Without a tax or sales certificate, any business in Iowa could face closure by the state authorities for not complying with the law. Businesses without certificates in Iowa are usually given massive fines, and can only operate again once they have obtained the right licenses.

Where do you apply for a general business license in Iowa?

The state of Iowa has no state-wide business license, but instead tax licenses for each individual city and town. Business license and other permit applications should be done through the web portal of office of the town or city where the business intends to be based.

How long does a business license in Iowa take?

Iowa business license applications can take up to 31 days when they are done through a physical office, but online applications will process much faster than this. 

When does a business license in Iowa expire?

Business licenses in Iowa last for approximately 2 years from their approval date. Some permits will renew automatically when they expire, but it is still the applicant’s responsibility to check whether their certificate is valid.

What can happen without a business license in Iowa?

Business licenses or tax certificates are a legal requirement for all business types who want to operate within an Iowa town or city.

What if my business license is delayed?

Business licenses applications require time for processing, though more than a month is the recommended time to follow up with your city or town office. Delays can be normal at busy times of the year.

Types of Business Licenses

A General Operating LicenseA general operating license is the general business license that most states require, but Iowa has no general state license. Instead, individual city and town licenses exist.
A Food LicenseA food license is a separate type of permit that a business in Iowa might need if they sell, process or provide food and beverages. A liquor permit is separate. 
A NonprofitNonprofit licenses are registered for through the same channels as business licenses, though cost less as general business registration.

Business in Iowa Facts

• Manufacturing is one of the largest industries in Iowa, and accounts for more than 16% of total businesses in the state.

• Small businesses in Iowa employ more than 630, 000 people according to official state resources.

• Small businesses account for approximately 83% of total business in Iowa.

Business Licenses By-City in Iowa

The state of Iowa requires every business to have the correct permits to operate. General business licenses aren’t granted on state-level, but through the city or town where the business is operational.

Business licenses in Iowa cost a minimum of $25 per license, and they are valid for 2 years from a successful application date.

Iowa requires the same from all business types, including LLCs, food, retail and sales companies – even ones that sell online. Businesses must register with their city or town for tax compliance. 

Without a business license, a business operation could be forced to close by the state until the relevant licenses have been obtained. Heavy fines are issued for businesses who are found to be operating without a license – even for those who claim they didn’t know about license regulations.

Here are the business license costs in other states: