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Legal Counsel for Philanthropy and the Nonprofit Sector

Information and resources on nonprofit law & regulation

Iowa Registration and Compliance

Welcome to the registration and compliance page for Iowa nonprofit organizations. Below you will find information on initial filings required to form a new nonprofit organization in Iowa, annual filing requirements for existing organizations, and employment filings for nonprofits with employees. This page also contains a link to the relevant nonprofit statute for the State of Iowa. To navigate to one of these sections, click on the appropriate link on the left of this page.

Please feel free to call or email us if you have any registration, compliance or other legal needs or questions regarding your nonprofit organization. If you are forming a new organization, you may also be interested in the following additional resources:

Starting a Nonprofit Organization in Iowa: Initial Filings

1. To Incorporate in Iowa

Submit Articles of Incorporation to:

Secretary of State
Business Services
First Floor, Lucas Building
321 E. 12 th Street
Des Moines, IA 50319

Information: (515) 281-5204
Fax: (515) 242-5953
Web Site: https://sos.iowa.gov/business/FormsAndFees.html
Filing Fee: $20

2. To Obtain 501(c) Tax-Exempt Status

a. Submit Form 1023 (501(c)(3) organizations) electronically at Pay.gov. Form 1024 (for other 501(c) organizations) should be submitted by mail to:

Note new address: 

Internal Revenue Service
TE/GE Stop 31A Team 105
P.O. Box 12192
Covington, KY 41012-0192

Information: (800) 829-1040
Forms: (800) 829-3676
Web Site: www.irs.gov/charities
Form 1023 Filing Fee: $600 ($275 for IRS Form 1023-EZ)
Form 1024 Filing Fee: $600

Notes: As of January 31, 2020, the IRS requires that Form 1023, Application for Recognition of Exemption Under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, be completed and submitted online through Pay.gov. Applicants must have a Pay.gov account and payment of the user fee must be made electronically. There is a 90-day grace period during which the IRS will continue to accept paper versions of Form 1023. Learn more about IRS Form 1023.

Certain 501(c)(3) organizations, including those with gross revenues at or below $50,000 annually, may qualify to file the online Form 1023-EZ, Streamlined Application for Recognition of Exemption. For more information and to determine if you are eligible for this form, refer to our Form 1023-EZ FAQ.

b. 501(c)(4) organizations formed after July 8, 2016 must file Form 8976, Notice of Intent to Operate Under Section 501(c)(4), electronically within 60 days of formation:

Web Site: services.irs.gov/datamart/login.do
Filing Fee: $50 (This fee must be paid through the pay.gov website)

Notes: This filing must be completed by all 501(c)(4) organizations - including "self-declaring" organizations that do not file IRS Form 1024-A.
For more information about this filing, refer to the IRS website.

3. To Obtain Iowa Income Tax Exemption

Federally exempt 501(c)(3) organizations are automatically exempt from Iowa corporate income taxes and need not apply for exemption.

4. To Obtain Iowa Sales Tax Exemption

In general, Iowa nonprofit organizations are not exempt from sales taxes. Sales tax exemption is granted only to specific types of nonprofit organizations. For example, sales of items to any private nonprofit educational institution used for educational purposes are exempt. For more information refer to the Iowa Department of Revenue's "Tax Issues for Nonprofit Entities

Annual Filings for Iowa Nonprofit Organizations

1. Internal Revenue Service

Form: Annual Return Form 990
Due Date: 4 ½ months after end of fiscal year

Internal Revenue Service
Ogden, UT 84201-0027

Information: (800) 829-1040
Forms: (800) 829-3676
Web Site: www.irs.gov/charities
Filing Fee: $0

Public Charities: Refer to the IRS website to determine which form to file (Form 990, Form 990-EZ or Form 990-N).

Private Foundations: Submit Form 990PF, regardless of revenues.

Note: Effective for tax years that end July 31, 2020 and later, exempt organizations must now file their annual returns electronically, using an approved IRS 990 e-File provider. Note that some transitional relief is available to 990-EZ filers. In addition, some exceptions apply including when the organization is changing its name, filing a shortened period return due to a change in fiscal year, or has an exemption application pending. Refer to the Form 990 instructions for information on these and other exceptions. To learn more about this electronic filing requirement, read the IRS announcement. For a list of approved IRS 990 e-File providers, refer to the IRS' Modernized e-file Providers list.

2. Iowa Secretary of State

Form: Biennial Report
Due Date: Between January 1 and April 1 of each odd-numbered calendar year. (The Secretary of State should mail to the organization the required Biennial Report form.)

Secretary of State
Business Services
First Floor, Lucas Building
321 E. 12th Street
Des Moines, IA 50319

Information: (515) 281-5204
Fax: (515) 242-5953
Web Site: https://sos.iowa.gov/business/FormsAndFees.html
Filing Fee: $0

Iowa Employment Filings

If the organization will have employees, the following filings are required:

1. To Register with the Iowa Department of Revenue

Complete the online Business Tax Registration for an employer withholding account.

Iowa Department of Revenue
Registration Services
PO Box 10470
Des Moines, IA 50306-0470

Information: (515) 281-3114
Web Site: www.iowa.gov/tax/forms/withhold.html

Note: For more information, refer to the Department of Revenue's withholding tax information booklet.

2. To Register with Iowa Workforce Development

Complete the employer registration online using "myIowaUI" to obtain an unemployment insurance account.

Iowa Unemployment Insurance Services Bureau
1000 East Grand Avenue
Des Moines, IA 50319

Information: (888) 848-7442
Web Site: www.iowaworkforce.org/ui/uiemployers.htm

Notes: For more information, refer to the Iowa Workforce Development's New Business Fact Sheet and Handbook for Employers.

Important note about unemployment insurance: Many states allow nonprofit organizations to fund unemployment insurance benefits on a reimbursable basis. This method of funding unemployment insurance may require additional filings not listed here. Furthermore, electing this method may require the organization to register and file in paper format. Organizations contemplating this method of funding their unemployment insurance obligations should check with the appropriate state office administering the unemployment insurance in that state.

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Registration & Compliance Services

Hurwit & Associates offers comprehensive compliance and reporting services to nonprofit organizations and charitable fundraisers. We help clients remain in good standing with state corporate, tax, charities and employment offices throughout the U.S.

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