Anderson announces plan to modernize business filings in Iowa Print
News Releases - Politics & Elections
Written by Sam Roecker   
Thursday, 13 February 2014 10:33
Also … Meet Nate!

DES MOINES, Iowa – Today, Iowa Secretary of State candidate Brad Anderson announces his plan to modernize Iowa’s business filing system by allowing new businesses to easily file a new business and pay online within minutes.

The Iowa Secretary of State Business Services Division is the records center for businesses and business filings in Iowa.  Last October, according to the most recently available public information from the Secretary of State’s office, 1,497 new Iowa business filings were filed with the Secretary of State’s office. 

More than 1,000 new businesses are filed in Iowa each month, yet Iowa currently has one of the most outdated business filing systems in the Midwest. New businesses in Iowa are forced to endure a complicated maze of electronic downloads, fax machines, phone calls and snail mail, and then wait days to receive their filings in the mail.  This process adds time and expense to new Iowa businesses, and stands in stark contrast to Secretary of State filing systems in Missouri and Minnesota where new businesses can easily file and pay online within minutes.

“New businesses created in Iowa will help us grow our economy and bring jobs to our state, so it is incredibly important that we have a business filing system that is welcoming, affordable and efficient,” said Brad Anderson. “The current system is bureaucratic, complicated and requires new business owners to pay a filing fee with a credit card over the phone then wait for days to receive the filing in the mail.  This process must be modernized if Iowa wants to promote a strong, pro-business climate. My goal is simple - a new business should be able to log into the Secretary of State’s website and easily file their paperwork and pay the filing fee in under ten minutes.”

MEET NATE:

Nate Reagen and his wife Erin are small business owners from Des Moines who recently filed for a new business in the Secretary of State’s office.  The process consisted of: determining the correct filing among several options, having to draft and upload their own documentation, calling the Secretary of State’s office with their credit card information only to receive a letter and handwritten note in the mail several business days later stating the credit card had been declined.  In actuality, the office had written down the wrong credit card number.  Upon calling back, the Secretary of State’s office instructed Nate to hang up, resubmit the paperwork and call back (a third time) with credit card information. 

“I went through this process living in Minnesota and we were able to do everything pretty easily online,” said Reagen.  “I was pretty surprised to see how difficult the process is in Iowa and I strongly support Brad’s effort to modernize and simplify the process.  This is not a partisan issue at all; it is really more about finding a common sense solution to a cumbersome and tedious business filing process.”

ANDERSON 3-STEP PLAN TO MODERNIZE IOWA BUSINESS FILINGS:
  • Step #1: Create an Online Checklist to Help New Business Owners Determine Which Filing is Needed for Their Business. There are currently many different types of business filings on the Secretary of State website, but little information to help new, prospective business owners determine which filing is needed for their business.  We should develop an online checklist to easily help new business owners determine the appropriate filing for their new business.

  • Step #2: Create an Online Filing Template for New Business Owners. Today, new business owners are left on their own, or must hire a lawyer to draft their business filings required to be filed with the Secretary of State’s office to start a new business.  For example, if an individual wants to start a business and create a certificate of organization to file with the state, the Secretary of State website simply directs the individual to the Iowa code, which is filled with legal jargon complicated text, such as “section 489.112, subsection 3.”  This is unhelpful and could actually discourage some from taking further steps necessary to start a business.  Moving forward, the Secretary of State office must provide an online template that allows new business owners to simply plug in their information.  A user-friendly template will save time and money for the prospective filer.

  • Step #3: Pay Online. In the year 2014, there is no excuse to have a filing system of any kind that doesn’t allow the filer to pay online.   In many cases the current process requires the a prospective new business owner to call the Secretary of State’s office and pay with a credit card over the phone.  A simple, electronic payment system is more secure for the consumer and would lead to fewer processing issues with the office.  Ultimately, an online payment system would enhance safety and save both the filer and the state time and money.
Within Anderson’s first 100 days in office he will create a bipartisan commission made up of business owners, technology experts and interested parties to develop a business filing modernization plan to be implemented as soon as possible.
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