How to Find Business Records in Iowa
Beginning your Search for Iowa Business Records
The Iowa Secretary of State is responsible for maintaining certain
crucial businesses documents for the State of Iowa, including
documentation of the formation of a corporation, as well as UCC (Uniform
Commercial Code) filings. These documents are matters of public record
and may be accessed in person or online.
What Records Are Maintained by the Iowa Secretary of State?
When business entities such as corporations are formed, special
documentation must be filed with the Secretary of State to give notice
of the entity’s formation. This is because corporations are treated as
separate entities under the law, so it is necessary to maintain a record
of entities that will receive this treatment.
Additionally, the Secretary of State maintains UCC, or Uniform
Commercial Code, statements. These documents memorialize the security
interest that a secured party holds in collateral that is owned by a
debtor, in exchange for a loan.
Why Would a Business Not Have Documents On File?
Sometimes businesses do not incorporate. This is often the case
especially when an individual runs a business alone as a sole
proprietor. These businesses may not have documentation on file with the
Secretary of State.
Additionally, it is common for businesses to incorporate in different
states in order to take advantage of the laws of that state. Therefore,
even if a business has offices in Iowa, it may not have incorporated in
the State of Iowa.
How Can I Search for Records Maintained by the Iowa Secretary of State?
The documents maintained by the Iowa Secretary of State may be accessed
either online or in person. If you wish to visit the Business Services
division of the Iowa Secretary of State’s office, the address is First
Floor, Lucas Building, 321 E. 12th St., Des Moines, Iowa, 50319.
To search the Iowa Secretary of State’s records online, begin by going
to the Iowa Secretary of State’s website, located at www.sos.state.ia.us/.
From the home page, select the option marked “Search Databases.”
From the “Search Databases” page, select the option “Iowa Corporation”
to search for entities incorporated in Iowa. This will take you to a
page where you can input either a corporate name or number to search.
The results will be returned in list form, including the corporate
number, status, type and name. The corporate numbers are clickable links
that allow you to access additional information about the corporations.
After clicking on these links, you will be shown the expiration date of
the entity, the date of creation, the filing date, the state of
incorporation, the chapter, the address and the registered agent. You
may also click the option “Print Certificate of Standing” to obtain a
Certificate of Standing.
To search for recent UCC filings, from the “Search Databases” page,
select “UCC RA9.” This will allow you to input search terms such as the
name of an individual or business or a filing number. The search results
will be returned in list form, with the name of the individual or
business in blue. Clicking on the name will take you to a page where you
can view more specific information including the identities of the
debtor and secured party, and where you will be presented with a list of
filed documents. Clicking on the UCC number of each document will
display a scanned image of that document.
To search for UCC filings that were filed prior to July 1, 2001, from
the “Search Databases” page, select “UCC Archive.” This search will
return information as if the search had been run on June 30, 2001 and
will not contain any new filings. However, the results will permit you
to view similar information as well as scanned images of filed
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