The wholesale trade in Illinois requires an official business registration, which means that in order to purchase goods directly from wholesalers or manufacturers, you will first need to establish a legal business. This will require some important preparations before you even begin the process of registering for wholesale trade. But as long as you have a plan and file the necessary paperwork, you can get started in a matter of weeks, whether you wish to buy wholesale goods for resale, or sell wholesale merchandise to retailers.

Obtain an Employer Identification Number, also known as a federal tax ID. This is required for any business that conducts financial transactions in Illinois, and therefore you must acquire it before applying for your state ID. To obtain your federal tax ID, fill out the EIN form at the IRS website (see Resources). You will receive your number instantly.

Obtain a DBA, or business name. If you plan to conduct business using only your legal full name, or using a registered corporation that you own or co-own, you can skip this step. But if you plan on conducting wholesale business using any type of assumed name (such as “The Wholesale Kings” or “Wholesale Unlimited”), you must register your assumed name with the county in which you plan to conduct business. Contact your county clerk to obtain the necessary form.

Fill out the Illinois Business Registration application. You can do this online at the Illinois Department of Revenue website (see Resources), or you can print out a copy of the REG-1 form (see Resources) and mail it to the address at the bottom of the form. You must enter your full name (and the names of any partners), the nature of your business (make sure to check the “Wholesale” option), your federal tax ID number, your DBA, Social Security number and other business related queries. The Department of Revenue will process your application in two to five business days. If you mail your application, the process may take six to eight weeks.

Fill out any additional forms as requested by the Illinois Department of Revenue. If the department approves your application, you can begin conducting business. However, depending on the nature of your wholesale enterprise, the department may request that you fill out additional forms, such as the REG-1-L (Business Site Location Information), REG-1-O (Owner, Officer and General Partner Information), or REG-1-R (Responsible Party Information).