This was updated on April 15, 2020, to reflect changes issued by Illinois and Indiana.
This was updated on April 6, 2020, to reflect changes issued by Virginia.
This has been updated to reflect changes issued by Florida, Hawaii, Indiana, Minnesota, New York, and Washington.
Good things come to those who wait … except when you are referring to state franchise registration timelines. This is one of the busiest times of year for franchisors with fiscal year ends that coincide with the calendar year, as the Franchise Disclosure Document (“FDD”) for those franchisors must be updated no later April 30 of each year. This is compounded by the fact that certain franchise registration states, New York, Minnesota and Illinois to name a few, also align their franchise renewal registration timelines with the same 120-day fiscal year end. This is (likely) further compounded by deadlines for other franchise registration states generally coinciding with this timeline.
So what is a franchisor to do when a global pandemic arises during the height of franchise registration season? Thankfully, many of the franchise registration states have issued guidance extending deadlines for submissions. Because certain of the state regulatory bodies are continuing to work remotely, however, some regulators are not extending any deadlines but may be making other concessions. As such, we have put together a list, current as of March 30th, with the guidance proffered by each state regulator thus far:
|California||No extensions but will accept DocuSign documents, waive late fees and franchisors are strongly encouraged to submit filings through online filing system. Any paper filings must include a waiver of the automatic effectiveness.|
|Florida||Deadlines are tolled 45 days from original date of expiration if the expiration falls within March or April.|
|Hawaii||Deadlines extended to April 30, 2020. Online filings are encouraged.|
|Illinois||Any franchisor that is currently and properly registered or exempted under the Illinois Franchise Disclosure Act, whose registration or exemption is due to expire between April 1, 2020 and June 1, 2020, is automatically granted an extension of 60 days from their anniversary date to file their franchise renewal application without penalty.|
Deadlines will not unilaterally be extended by the Division. The Indiana Securities Portal is fully operational and a majority of registrations can be submitted electronically. If filing through the Portal, and an item cannot be completed because of impact to business operations due to the COVID-19 pandemic, a franchisor must contact the Division for assistance. The Division is receptive to requests for certain regulatory relief.
Effective period for franchise registration that was set to expire between March 16, 2020 and May 31, 2020 is automatically extended to June 30, 2020.
Extension of deadlines for franchise renewal registrations and exemptions that expire during the “Coronavirus State of Emergency” (announced on March 5, 2020) for 30 days after the end of “Coronavirus State of Emergency” issued by the Governor of the State of Maryland.
Franchisors may offer under a FDD that is not registered with Maryland so long as: (a) the FDD has been updated in accordance with the FTC Rule on Franchising; (b) the franchisor does not enter into a franchise agreement with the prospect until the 2020 FDD is approved in Maryland; and (c) the franchisor follows proper re-disclosure requirements with respect to the Maryland-approved FDD (including provision of the changed pages in response to Maryland).
Online submission is unavailable.
|Minnesota||Deadlines extended to June 30, 2020. Online filings are encouraged. Notarization requirements are waived.|
Franchisors are granted a 90-day extension of renewal deadline to July 29, 2020 if such renewal deadline is between March 23, 2020 and April 30, 2020 (the “Relief Period”).
A franchisor that is filing a franchise registration renewal nor an amendment may offer franchises, but not sell, until the IPB reviews the application and notifies the franchisor in writing that its FDD has been accepted.
All filings can be submitted in email form in addition to the required paper copies. The emailed copies must include a copy of the front and back of the filing fee check and include the following statement: “I will cause this filing and payment to be mailed to the Department of Law forthwith.” The email submission should be sent to: IPBFRANCHISE@AG.NY.GOV.
After email correspondence with a representative from New York, we were informed that any submissions that arrived in NY before March 11, 2020 for which no response has been received, it will need to be “re-submitted” electronically. If the franchisor received an acknowledgment, the emailed submission should be sent directly to the applicable examiner along with the acknowledgment letter. This includes send the clean copy of the FDD, the red-lined pages of the FDD, and Form A in separate attachments. If the franchisor did not receive the acknowledgment, the franchisor would need to resubmit through the general submission email noted below.
|Rhode Island||No penalties for registrations due in March and April (per internal guidance).|
Deadlines are extended indefinitely during the Judicial Emergency Declaration (as defined in Executive Order No. 51).
Online submission is unavailable.
|Washington||Deadlines will not unilaterally be extended. Online filing system is fully functional and Division has been working remotely since March 12. Division is waiving requirement for notarized documents.|
|North Dakota and South Dakota||No extensions but can discuss issues with examiner on case-by-case basis.|
|Wisconsin, Michigan||Pending response from regulatory body.|
We are wishing all of you safety and health during this tumultuous time. We will update this list as we receive further guidance from any state examiners.