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Is COVID-19 Going to Impact My State Registration or Renewal Application?

North Carolina Franchise Registration Lawyers

The short answer is NO! Many of the states that require franchise registration are taking steps to allow franchisors to file registration and renewal applications later, or online.

However, the COVID-19 outbreak is impacting all franchise filings in some ways, nationwide. State examiners are working from home while still diligently working through franchise registration and renewal applications.

California allows for e-filing of franchise registration and renewal applications. Although California has not granted an extension for franchisors to file annual renewals, the state has agreed to temporarily allow franchisors to use DocuSign in lieu of physical signatures if the filing is made electronically.

Hawaii allows for e-filing of franchise registration and renewal applications. Otherwise, Hawaii has not made any changes at this time.

Illinois has not agreed to any changes regarding state registration or renewal applications at this time.

Indiana has not agreed to any changes at this time but is willing to discuss possible issues on a case-by-case basis.

Maryland has granted an extension for any franchisor that is registered or deemed exempt. This extension grants franchisors a 30-day extension to file registration or renewal filings. During this extension, franchisors may offer franchises, but cannot sell them until the state has processed and approves the filing. Maryland is also allowing franchisors to file registration and renewal applications on CD-ROM alone, rather than on both CD-ROM and paper.

Michigan has not agreed to any changes at this time.

Minnesota allows for e-filing of franchise renewal applications. However, franchisors will be required to mail the annual report fee and a copy of the online submission confirmation page. Minnesota has agreed that the deadline for franchisors to file annual reports that were due by April 30, 2020, has been extended to June 30, 2020. Additionally, Minnesota has temporarily issued a waiver for notarizing forms for all new franchise registration applications, amendments and annual reports through June 30, 2020.

New York has extended the deadline by 90 days for any filing that would be due between March 1, 2020 and April 30, 2020. Additionally, New York is allowing franchisors to email filings to the state as long as they also mail the appropriate payment and email a copy of the check along with the filing. During this extension, franchisors may offer franchises, but cannot sell them until the state has processed and approved their filing.

North Dakota has not agreed to any changes at this time, but the International Franchise Association has stated that North Dakota is willing to discuss possible exceptions to state registration and renewal application deadlines on a case-by-case basis.

Although Rhode Island has not posted any information on their website at this time about any changes, the International Franchise Association has stated that Rhode Island will not issue penalties for filings due in March or April.

  • South Dakota

South Dakota has not agreed to any changes at this time to account for COVID-19, but the International Franchise Association has stated that South Dakota is willing to discuss possible exceptions to deadlines on a case-by-case basis.

Virginia has declared that any franchise whose registration is due to expire is granted an extension for 21 days to minimize any impact.

Washington allows for e-filing of franchise registration and renewal applications. During the COVID-19 outbreak, Washington is waiving any notary requirements for registration and renewal filings. According to the International Franchise Association, the State of Washington is willing to discuss possible exceptions to deadlines on a case-by-case basis.

Wisconsin allows for e-filing of franchise registration and renewal applications.

We urge franchisors to make every effort to file their franchise renewals within the normal time frames. However, if delays are necessary due to the COVID-19 outbreak, then rest assured that many of the states are granting extensions to allow for delays.

Franchisors should be reminded that state examiners continue to work on processing franchise registration and renewal applications, to minimize the impact of COVID-19. Please be patient with the state examiners and know that they are doing everything they can.

If you need help with your franchise registrations or annual reports, please reach out to our Franchise.Law team at 980-202-5679 or email us at info@franchise.law.

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