Starting a business that sells items to the public may require that you apply for licenses and permits in your area. If you buy from a wholesale vendor and sell to end users, obtaining a wholesale license will allow you to purchase products without paying sales tax. You can then charge your customers the tax and pay the amount to your state. In Tennessee, a wholesale license is called a Certificate of Registration, and must be obtained through the state Department of Revenue.

Step 1.

Log on to the Tennessee Department of Revenue's website to access the application to register your business. As an alternative, you can visit one of the regional offices to apply in person.

Step 2.

Answer the questions about your business on the application. Identify what your business does by checking the appropriate box.

Step 3.

Fill in your Federal Employer Identification Number (FEIN), which identifies your business to the government, suppliers and others. You can apply for an FEIN at

Step 4.

Complete your application by including your business mailing information, business type and contact person. You must complete a separate application for each location of your business.

Step 5.

Submit your application online or in person once it has been completed. If you are using the website, click "I Certify" and then "Submit" after you have carefully reviewed your application for accuracy. Print the confirmation page if using the online registration service.

Step 6.

Wait about one to two weeks to receive your certificate in the mail. You can then send copies to vendors who request your wholesale information, which will exempt you from paying sales tax.