Starting a Business

You Will Need To...

Find out if the goods or services you will be selling are subject to Iowa sales tax.

Find out if you need to pay consumer's use tax.

  • If you purchase taxable items to use in your business in Iowa from out-of-state suppliers and do not pay sales tax, you will need to pay use tax to Iowa. See consumer's use tax information for more information.

Register for a permit if the sale of goods or services are taxable.

This is a combined business application form, which means you can register for one or more of the following:

  • Sales Tax
    • Automobile Rental Tax
    • Hotel/Motel Tax
  • Consumer’s Use Tax
  • Retailer’s Use Tax
  • Withholding Tax
  • Water Service Excise Tax

If you will be selling household hazardous material, you will need to obtain a separate HHM permit.

Keep a copy of the form. You may begin to collect tax immediately; your proof of registration is your copy until we send you your permit number in about 4-6 weeks. The sales tax permit itself is free of charge.

A sales tax permit is not a license to buy tax-free. It is a license to collect tax. For your exempt purchases, you must use exemption certificates; see below.

Learn about Iowa's local option tax.

  • Local option tax is in addition to the state rate. Iowa's state sales tax rate is 6% as of July 1, 2008.
  • For more information about the "regular" local option tax, consult the Local Option Questions (filter by LOST in the dropdown).
  • A list of current Local Option Jurisdictions is available, updated in June and in December.

Obtain exemption certificates.

You will give a completed Exemption Certificate to each supplier when you buy goods and services for resale or other exempt purposes. Similarly, you will also need to obtain exemption certificates from your customers when they purchase goods or services from you for resale or other exempt purposes. Keep these for your records.

Continue to learn more about Iowa taxes and keep up with changes in the law.