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Dealer Licensing in Illinois

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Interested in cars? Always had a knack for landing the sale? Then you’ll want to apply for your Illinois car dealer license with the Dealer/Remitter Licensing Section of the Secretary of State’s Vehicle Services Department.

On this page we’ll go over the basic requirements for obtaining your IL dealer license.

Who Needs an IL Dealer License?

You need an Illinois motor vehicle dealer license if ANY of the following apply to you:

  • You’re engaged in selling at least 5 motor vehicles in 1 year (on consignment or otherwise).
  • You work as an agent, broker, or intermediary for a licensed dealer or purchaser.
  • You advertise/represent yourself as an active or future motor vehicle seller.

If you’d like confirmation as to whether you’ll be required to apply for a dealer license, call the IL Dealer/Remitter Licensing Section at (217) 785-8239.

Apply for Your Dealer License

There are a few different steps involved in the application process for an Illinois dealer license, including:

  • Requesting your required application materials.
  • Submitting your application, forms, and fees to the IL SOS.

Requesting Dealer Materials

Conveniently, the Illinois Dealer/Remitter Licensing Section provides the following dealer documents online:

You can also request a dealer license application and informational packets by calling the Dealer/Remitter Licensing Section at (217) 782-7817 or by writing to:

Illinois Secretary of State
Dealer/Remitter Licensing Section
501 S. Second St.
Room 069
Springfield, IL 62756

Submitting Your Application

The keys to submitting a successful dealer application is reading the instructions and regulations CAREFULLY and to completing the application in its ENTIRETY.

Below is a basic outline of the items you must provide to apply for your IL car dealer license:

  • If this is the 1st time you’re applying for a dealer license, proof you completed the dealer training program.
    • Contact SOS at (217) 785-2050 for information on registering for a class.
  • The notice of proper zoning.
    • A copy of the city business license is sufficient for car dealerships in Chicago.
  • A copy of:
    • The location’s lease, if applicable.
    • Your franchise agreement if you’re selling new vehicles.
  • Proof you have (or have applied for) a hazardous waste generator number, if your dealership has a repair shop.
  • The receipt from your criminal background check.
    • Contact the Illinois State Police Bureau of Investigations at (815) 740-5160 for a list of approved live-scan fingerprint vendors.
  • The Certificate of Insurance, valid until December 31st, that includes:
    • $100,000 for bodily injury.
    • $300,000 for each accident.
    • $50,000 for property damage.
  • The original $20,000 vehicle dealer’s bond OR certificate of deposit.
  • The applicable dealer licensing fee(s).

Illinois Dealer Regulations & Taxes

The Illinois Secretary of State recommends reviewing the Regulations for Vehicle Dealers (Form RT DS 21.16) for details on:

  • Requirements regarding a car dealership’s status as an established place of business.
    • An investigator will inspect your location to make sure it meets these requirements.
  • Information about supplemental lots, off-site sales, and exhibitions as they apply to your business.
  • How dealers can use dealer plates and requirements for recording their use.

Avoid hours of future hassle and take a few minutes to read over these regulations.

Additionally, because motor vehicle dealers collect Illinois sales tax, you need to meet the taxation and licensing requirements set out by the Illinois Department of Revenue (DOR).

The Illinois Aircraft/Watercraft and Vehicle Use Tax Information Guide (Form STS-76) includes all the information you need to understand IL dealer sales tax requirements.

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