I recently formed a corporation and within a short time I received a flyer in the mail from a company operating as IA Certificate Service. The flyer (see a similar one from a Mississippi article) explained that the next step for me after filing my Articles of Incorporation was to obtain my Certificate of Existence (the fine print did state this was optional but the language of the flyer would lead most unsuspecting new company owners to believe they needed to obtain it right away and contained a response date). The charge for this service was $67.50 and the “service” would send your hard copy certificate to you within two weeks.

Just know that obtaining a Certificate of Existence could not be easier and it only costs $5.00 to immediately download your Certificate of Service. Each company information page on the Iowa Secretary of State’s website contains a link to Print the Certificate of Existence. It is so easy I frankly would never consider charging a client a fee for the service.

Further, Certificate of Existence forms are not generally not needed unless and until requested from a third party. Examples of times you may need a Certificate of Existence include:

  • Registering your business in a different state;
  • Selling your business;
  • Obtaining a loan;
  • Registered with certain agencies.

Also¬† know that a Certificate of Existence is usually only good for a certain period of time with third parties. So, obtaining a Certificate of Existence, without a request from a third party to do so, usually isn’t going to do you any good because the Certificate of Existence time period would probably have expired if you are using a “service” like the one I described.

Bottom line, skip the “service”. You don’t need to pay the additional money for the Certificate of Existence. Simply download it yourself for $5.00 from the Iowa Secretary of State’s website if a third party ever requests it from you. Search the database for your Company’s name and then print the Certificate of Service from the link.