What is SORN? Statutory Off Road Notification Explained

When it comes to automobiles, the lengthy and complicated jargon and the working system can become exhausting. If that is not enough, you have to be well versed with the road and traffic rules to keep yourself updated and out of trouble. Surely, owning a car is a luxury and brings comfort and convenience into your life, but there are some things you should know if you’re a car owner.

You might already be well-versed with the many benefits of regular car servicing and MOTs. In this article, we will be looking at Statutory Off Road Notifications (SORN), and all the rules and regulations involved with it. Let’s get started. 

What is SORN?

If you have a vehicle that you are not currently using, you can avoid the tax on it by completing a SORN. With the current uncertain time when we are not using our cars, it is a good chance to save some money and learn about this. 

As you know, SORN stands for Statutory Off Road Notification. It is used to inform the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) that you’re not using a certain vehicle, and hence won’t be paying any tax on it. It is also termed as registering your car as ‘off the road’. Now once you have declared SORN, you will not be allowed to drive the car on public roads until you retract SORN. 

Why do I need to declare SORN?

If you’ve multiple cars and are not using a few, or have no intention of driving the current car on roads for some amount of time, you must inform the DVLA, and register the cars as being off the road. This will help you to avoid paying the extra tax that would anyway be going out of your pocket if you were actually driving it. 

Since you can be fined for failing to tax a car, you must declare SORN to keep yourself away from trouble. It is not possible to just stop paying tax, as non-payment of tax without SORN can reach up to £1,000 in a court settlement when left neglected. 

As soon as you declare SORN, the remaining full months of tax on the said vehicle is refunded back to you. 

When can I declare SORN?

You can declare SORN in the following circumstances:

  • If you’re planning to keep the vehicle in a garage or private land, or on a driveway for a long period of time. You have to keep it away from public roads. 
  • If your vehicle is uninsured, even for a small-time, due to some issue with renewing the policy. 
  • If you’re looking to retrieve parts from the vehicle before it is scrapped.
  • If you’re buying a new car and keeping it off the road for a certain amount of time. 

How can I apply for SORN?

As a legal owner or keeper of the vehicle, you can apply for a SORN using the DVLA Service contact number (0300 123 4321 – 24 hours service). Alternatively, you can also contact gov.uk or apply via post by completing a V890 application form. The application form should be sent to DVLA, Swansea, SA99 1AR.

In other cases, if you’re not the registered owner of the vehicle, you can apply for a SORN by post. For this, you will need to complete the applicable section in the V5C logbook. If you don’t have this, you will have to fill the V62 form and apply for a logbook. You can also ask for advice with the best car garage in town and make an informed decision. 

When does my SORN start?

The SORN application allows you to choose the start date of the off-road period. 

If you want the SORN to start from the first day of the next month, you will need the 16-digit number present on the V11 document – also known as the tax reminder letter. 

In case of the car being in an unworthy condition to be on the road and you cannot afford the repair, you can apply for a SORN immediately. For this, you will need the 11-digit number found on the V5C vehicle log book. 

Do I need to renew my SORN?

No, once you’ve declared SORN, it will remain in place indefinitely until the vehicle is sold, scrapped, or exported outside of the country.

How do I rescind my SORN?

Once you have decided to bring your car back on the road, just remember that you have valid car insurance and an up-to-date MOT in-place. If your car previously failed the MOT or the test has expired, you can be heavily fined for being on the road. 

When you’re ready to get behind the wheels, you can take back the SORN online or over the phone with DVLA by getting your vehicle taxed again. You will need the 11-digit number of the V5C. Additionally, the UK government also allows you to pay the tax at a Post Office branch. 

Can I transfer my SORN to the new owner?

Unfortunately, SORN cannot be transferred from the previous owner or to the next owner. Even if you buy a car with a SORN, you will have to apply for a new one in your name. The new owner will have to re-tax or re-insure it. 

Can I drive my car for an MOT with a SORN in place?

The UK Government allows you to drive to the MOT appointment if you have a SORN in place, or an expired MOT. You will need to show proof, either an appointment confirmation message or a talk with the garage, to show that you’re actually driving to an MOT appointment. Failure to do so can lead up to a fine of £2,500.

This brings us to the end of this short guide on SORN. Please feel free to comment below with your questions or doubts. 

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What is SORN? Statutory Off Road Notification Explained