Some State Franchise Regulators Extend Deadlines for Renewal Registration in Light of Coronavirus Pandemic
Six of the 13 franchise registration states have formally extended the deadline for filing renewal applications in light of the Coronavirus pandemic, including Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, Minnesota, New York, and Virginia. These extensions mean a franchisor can avoid paying the higher filing fee which may result when a renewal application is filed late. But these extensions do not permit a franchisor to continue using an old year-end 2018 Franchise Disclosure Document (“FDD”) after the normal April 30, 2020 deadline (for franchisors with a December 31 fiscal year-end), because federal regulations still require all franchisors to update their FDD within 120 days after their fiscal year-end.
In Illinois and Virginia, this extension has an added benefit, because those states (along with Indiana and Wisconsin) generally allow franchisors, which file a renewal application before the renewal deadline, to start using an updated FDD as soon as the franchisor files the renewal application, rather than waiting for state approval which can sometimes take months in many states. As a result, the extension of the renewal deadline in Illinois and Virginia effectively means a franchisor can start using its updated 2019 year-end FDD in those states as soon as it files the renewal application, even if the application is filed after the normal April 30 deadline, as long as it is filed within the extension period.