What is a SORN?
A SORN – which stands for ‘Statutory Off Road Notification’ – lets the government know that your vehicle is no longer in use.
With a SORN, you don’t have to pay for vehicle tax or buy insurance for your car – as long as it’s kept off the roads. A SORN car can be kept in a garage, a driveway or on private property.
If you park your car on the street, you’ll still need to pay taxes and insurance, even if you’re not driving it.
How do I declare SORN?
There are three main ways to declare SORN:
· Online, through the government’s website
· By phoning the DVLA on 0300 123 4321
· By sending an application form by post
Whichever method you choose, it’s completely free to apply for a SORN.
To complete a SORN declaration, you’ll need to give information from your V5C – that’s your vehicle’s logbook – or a DVLA tax reminder letter. If you don’t have a logbook, you can apply for a new one – but you’ll be charged a £25 fee.
If you’ve already paid vehicle tax in advance, you’ll be refunded for every full calendar month your car is off the road.
How long does a SORN application take?
SORN applications are usually processed within four weeks. If you apply for a SORN online, you’ll receive a confirmation email once your application is complete. If you’ve applied by phone or post, you’ll receive a letter.
Your car is only considered off the road once you’ve received this confirmation, so make sure you keep your vehicle taxed and insured until it arrives. Otherwise, you may face a fine.
You can’t backdate a SORN, so if you’re not using your car it will save you money to apply for a SORN as soon as possible.
How long does a SORN last?
Once you take your car off the road, a SORN lasts indefinitely, and you don’t need to renew it. However, it is not transferable. This means that if you buy a car that’s been taken off the road and you don’t want to pay road taxes or car insurance, you’ll have to apply for a new SORN.
What happens if I don’t declare my car SORN?
If you’re no longer using your car, you can’t simply stop paying tax and insurance. The government keeps a registry of all untaxed vehicles, so you’ll receive an automatic fine and you might have to pay the outstanding vehicle tax at 50% more than the usual rate.
You may also be at risk of prosecution, and your car could even be seized and destroyed.
How do I get a SORN car back on the road?
If you want to start using your car again, simply start insuring your car again and resume paying vehicle tax to cancel SORN.
You need to make sure your car has a valid MOT before you take it back on the road. If you don’t have one, you’re allowed to drive your car to an MOT centre while it’s still untaxed and uninsured - provided you have pre-booked the appointment. This is the only case in which it’s permitted to drive a SORN car on public roads.
Make sure you book your MOT in advance – that way, if you’re pulled over, you’ll be able to prove that you’re not driving illegally. Otherwise you’ll face a fine of up to £2,500.