The University of Iowa


INRC Director Richard Koontz offers training sessions on nonprofit startup filings. For the next available session, watch the INRC home page.

Principles & Practices Citation 

II. A. Principle–Statutory Guidelines

Iowa charitable nonprofit organizations, whether nonprofit corporations, trusts or unincorporated associations, must ensure that they comply with statutory guidelines and common law in creation of their legal form.


  1. A charitable nonprofit organization can be organized in Iowa as a corporation, a trust, a limited liability company or an unincorporated association. While partnerships and sole proprietorships are legal entities in Iowa, the Internal Revenue Service will not give 501(c)(3) status to such entities.

a. Nonprofit corporation status under Iowa Code chapter 504 is often a preferable form for charitable nonprofits, due to the limitation on liability of all those working for the charitable nonprofit corporation. Contrast this to unincorporated associations, in which there is a higher degree of exposure for all association members.

Frequently Asked Questions about Organization