In order to notify the DVLA that your car is no longer on the road you need to declare a SORN on your car. This is important if your car is going to be off the road for an extended amount of time and you want to avoid paying road tax or insurance while your car is not in use, you want to declare a SORN.

3.4 million cars are declared SORN in an average year.

Why SORN your car?

There is a few situations where declaring a SORN on your car is necessary. It is mandatory you SORN your car if the following applies to you:

  • You have no intention of driving it on public roads for the time being.
  • You want to salvage parts from your vehicle before scrapping it.
  • Your vehicle is not insured or taxed, even if it is for a short time.
  • You want to buy a vehicle or receive a vehicle that will not be on the road for the time being (SORN notices can not be transferred from owner to owner)

Where can I SORN my car?

The process is quite simple, you can do it all on the DVLA website here

You will need the 16 digit reference number from your V11 tax renewal reminder, or the 11 digit reference from you VC5 to do this.

What happens when you SORN your car?

Once you have made a SORN on your vehicle it must be kept on private property and off any public roads. This means you will need a driveway, garage or any private land that you own or with permission of the owner.

Your vehicle details will be passed into the MID (Motor Insurance Database), this is the central database for every vehicle that is insured in the UK. With this being the case the police have the ability to scan your license plate and stop you if you are found to be driving a car that has a SORN on a public road.

The car must not be driven on public roads whilst it has a SORN, the only time you can drive it is when you are driving to a prebooked MOT appointment, take proof of the appointment with you on the drive.

How long is a SORN valid for?

A SORN is valid indefinitely. Previously it was only valid for 1 months but this as changed in recent years to make the process simpler and cut down on the number of uninsured cars counted on the road. A SORN is valid until the vehicle is taxed again.

a car that has been declared SORN parked offroad

How do I unSORN my car?

In order to unSORN a car you simply need to tax it again, which you can do on the DVLA Tax Your Vehicle page. Keep in mind that you need to have a valid MOT certificate if you want to tax your car, if you dont have a valid MOT you will need to get one first.

Without vehicle tax you are allowed to drive to a prebooked MOT appointment as long as the car does not have a dangerous fault.

As the car will be back on the road, by law you also need to ensure that your vehicle is insured again. This is of the upmost important as the implications of driving without insurance can be very costly.

I paid tax for the next year but now I need to make a SORN?

If you have months of Road Tax available but need to SORN your vehicle, you will understandably want to know what happens to the money you already paid. Thankfully there is a good news, the DVLA will automatically refund any tax paid for periods when the car will not be on the road.

How will my Road Tax refund be paid?

Once you have told the DVLA that you need to make a SORN, if you paid via Direct Debit then the Direct Debit will be automatically cancelled.

You will automatically receive a refund cheque for any months remaining on your vehicle tax. The check will be sent to the name and address in the vehicle log book.

Please note that you will not receiving the following with your road tax refund:

  • Any credit surcharge fees
  • The 5% surcharge that applies to some Direct Debit payments
  • The 10% surcharge for a single 6 month payment

If you dont receive your refund within 8 weeks you should contact the DVLA.

a car that has been declared SORN being ticketed

Penalty for driving a car that has a SORN

Driving a car that has a SORN notice is an offense, the police do have the authority to stop you and issue penalties. You will be liable for the following if you drive a car that has a SORN:

  • Fine up to £2500.
  • Potential court prosecution.
  • The police can seize or even destroy your vehicle.

You can only drive a car that has a SORN to a prebooked MOT test.

So in summary a SORN is just a way to declare your vehicle is off road to the DVLA. It is important as you no longer need to tax or insure the vehicle (as long as you keep it off public roads).

Find out more about Road Tax

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