A simples guide

A Guide to SORN

If your car is off the road and you don’t want to tax and insure it, then it is not enough to simply remove the car from the road. You have to fill out a Statutory Off Road Notification (SORN).

Why might you need to fill out a SORN?

By filling out this simple form you are telling the DVLA that it is off the road and that it is in a garage, or on private land, where it will stay for the foreseeable future. There are many reasons why you might need to fill out a SORN. You might have a project car you’re working on that won’t be ready for a while. You might own a sports car that you like to put away for the winter months or you might just be trying to save money and want to take your car off the road for a while.

If your vehicle is not taxed or insured, even for a short time, then you have to fill out a SORN. You should also fill one out if you want to break a vehicle down and scrap it, or you buy a car and don’t want to put it on the road for any reason.

So there are a number of reasons why you would need to make a SORN. Once you have, you need to make sure you keep the paperwork up to date and correct. 

How to file a SORN

Your first step is to contact the DVLA and give them the reference number that is on your V5C, V11 or V85/1 reminder form. You can do it all online or you can give them a call. It’s entirely your choice how you get in touch, just make sure that you do.

You should receive a notification and an acceptance letter from the DVLA within four weeks. If you don’t, then you should get in touch as you don’t want to get caught out by a communication problem.

SORNS have an expiry date, so make sure you know yours and get it renewed if you haven’t taxed, insured and put the car on the road by then. If you’re going to be away when it’s up for renewal, you can use a V890 form and do it in advance. So there really is no excuse.

If you have lost the paperwork, then you can check the status online, but it is better to keep the certificate as it will make it easier to renew the SORN when the time comes. 

two cars

What happens if you fail to SORN your car?

If you fail to do the proper paperwork then you can be liable for an £80 fine and you must pay any tax arrears as the car will effectively be back on the road with no tax. Tax rules mean that the responsibility to prove it is not on the road lies with you. Nobody needs to spot you driving your car in the local high street, if you haven’t declared it off the road then that is all that matters.

You could also end up with a £1,000 fine to pay and with a County Court Judgement (CCJ) against you, so it can have serious consequences.

If you want to tax your car and you don’t want to renew the SORN, you will need a new MOT certificate. In fact, the only legitimate reason for putting a vehicle with a SORN on the road is to drive it to a pre-booked MOT, when you are preparing to get its paperwork back in order.

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Where should a SORN vehicle be kept?

Once you have completed a Statutory Off Road Notification, then your vehicle simply can’t be on the public road. You have to find some private land or a garage to store it in. If you leave it on the road it must be taxed, otherwise there are serious issues as it goes against the very essence of SORN.

How can I cancel the SORN when the car is on the road?

When you apply for your road tax, the SORN is automatically cancelled, so if you’re getting the car back in action then you don’t have to do anything else to cancel the SORN.

A SORN can be a useful tool if you use it right. Just make sure you double check the paperwork is correct or it can come with hefty fines. 

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