Get a License to Buy Merchandise Wholesale to Resell on eBay
If you want to buy wholesale merchandise from another business to resell on eBay, you require your state’s resale license, which identifies you as being in the business. Some people also call this a resale certificate because when you want to purchase goods from a wholesaler within your state, you must produce this number (thereby certifying your legitimacy as a seller) so the dealer can sell you the merchandise without collecting sales tax.
When you have a resale number and purchase merchandise from another business — known as a business-to-business (B2B) transaction — you probably won’t be charged sales tax when you purchase your stock because you’ll be paying sales tax when you sell the items.
If your state has a sales tax, a sales tax number (the number you use when you file your sales tax statement with your state) is required before you officially sell anything. If sales tax applies, you may have to collect the appropriate sales tax for every sale that ships within your state.
When you have your resale number, you can go anywhere you want to buy merchandise. If you want to buy direct from a manufacturer, you can. Unfortunately, many manufacturers have a minimum order amount, which may be more than you want to spend (and you’d get more of a particular item than you’d ever want at once). To remedy that, see whether you can find independent retailers who buy in quantity — and who will (perhaps) let you in on some quantity buys with manufacturers. For example, you could buy in with a couple of local shops when they purchase their orders.
To find the regulations for your state, the Federation of Tax Administrators Web site supplies links to every state’s tax board, which should have the answers to your questions.