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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 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 documents.

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