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Got a car or a van you never use? You can avoid having to pay for vehicle tax and insurance by keeping it off the road and filing a Statutory Off Road Notification (SORN).
Here’s how it works…
All vehicles on the road, apart from those exempt from vehicle tax because they are designed for use by disabled people or have zero CO2 emissions, for example, must be both taxed and insured.
Fail to do this, and you will face penalties such as an automatic fine of £80, plus any tax arrears.
You could even be prosecuted in court for driving without insurance.
But if you have a car or van that you do not use and is kept off the public roads, you can avoid vehicle tax and the need for insurance by registering the vehicle as off the road. To do this, you must file a SORN.
There is no need to tax and insure a vehicle that you keep on private land and never take on public roads.
But you can’t just decide to leave your car in the garage and stop paying tax on it without informing the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Association (DVLA).
You must register the vehicle as off road by sending in a completed SORN.
As all vehicles registered in the UK must now be continuously insured, sending a SORN to the DVLA is also the only way to legally avoid paying to insure it.
You can apply for a SORN by phone (0300 1234321) or online https://www.gov.uk/make-a-sorn. Alternatively, send your SORN application (form V890) to: DVLA, Swansea, SA99 1AR. You must make the application by post in some situations. These include:
- If you are recently registered as the vehicle’s keeper and have received the V5C registration certificate in the current month.
- If you are not yet registered as the vehicle’s keeper (in which case you should fill in the appropriate part of the V5C – or form V62 if you don’t have this – and send it with the SORN form).
- If you are going abroad and leaving your car in the UK (in which case you can make a SORN up to two calendar months in advance – just include a letter explaining the situation).
NB: A SORN remains valid until a vehicle is taxed, sold, scrapped, or exported. You can check a car or van’s SORN status by visiting the DVLA vehicle information website.
You cannot transfer a SORN from one owner to another. This means that if you buy a vehicle that has a SORN in place, you will need to fill in a new SORN under your name to legally keep it off the roads.
If you plan to keep or use the car or van on public roads, however, you will need to tax and insure it instead.
You can apply to tax a vehicle online https://www.gov.uk/vehicle-tax, by calling 0300 123 4321 or by visiting a Post Office that deals with vehicle tax. For all applications, you will need either:
- Your vehicle tax reminder letter (V11)
- A V5C registration certificate (log book) in your name
- A new keeper supplement (V5C/2), if you’ve just bought the vehicle
NB: A valid MOT test certificate may also come in useful if you apply at a Post Office.
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