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Everything you need to know about Statutory Off Road Notifications (SORN)

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November 1, 2018
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If you don’t need or want to take your car on public roads, you can save money on tax and insurance by applying for a Statutory Off Road Notification, or SORN. In this guide, we answer all your burning questions about SORN.

What does SORN mean?

SORN stands for Statutory Off Road Notification. It is a declaration that you must make to the DVLA (Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency) if your car is not in use on public roads. This means that you won’t need to pay tax or insurance for your vehicle.

If you stop taxing or insuring your car but have not declared it SORN, you may face a fine. This is the case even if you have a short delay in renewing your insurance policy.

You must also SORN your car if you intend to scrap it.

Image by Charlie Cars (Flickr). Also featured image.

How do I SORN my car?

If you want to declare your car SORN, you must:

  • use the government online SORN service
  • call the DVLA vehicle service on 0300 123 4321 (24 hours)
  • download and print an application form to return by post to DVLA, Swansea, SA99 1AR.

You can apply using the 16-digit number from your tax reminder letter (V11). This will mean that your car’s SORN will begin at the start of the next month.

Once your application is completed and acknowledged, your SORN will begin immediately and the DVLA will process a refund for any tax you had left on your car. Bear in mind that they will only refund for full months of remaining tax. For example, if your tax expires at the start of February and you declare your car SORN in mid-October, you will only get a refund for November, December and January.

I don’t have my tax reminder letter. Can I still SORN my car?

Yes, if you have your vehicle log book (V5C) – the document that shows you are the registered owner of the car – you can apply using the 11-digit reference number on the front.

If you have only just become the new keeper of the car you want to SORN and do not yet have a V5C logbook, you can instead apply using the reference number from the new keeper supplement. This is the slip given to you by the previous owner.

If the details on your V5C logbook are out of date, you should update the relevant sections and send it with a completed SORN application form by post.

I don’t have a tax reminder letter or V5C logbook. Can I still SORN my car?

Yes, but you’ll need to apply for a new V5C logbook at the same time by using this form and paying a £25 fee. You should send this form and the SORN application by post.

How long does SORN last? Can I cancel my SORN?

Once you have declared your car SORN, it remains this way indefinitely or until you sell or scrap your car. This means that if you change your mind at a later date and intend to drive your car on a public road, you must cancel your SORN. You can do this simply by taxing your vehicle – this process will automatically invalidate your SORN.

Can I drive my car to an MOT if it has a SORN?

Yes. The only time you can drive your car on a public road is to an arranged MOT.

Can I backdate my SORN?

It’s not possible to backdate a SORN. So, if you want to save money on tax and insurance, you should act as soon as you can.

Can I park my SORN car on the road?

Once you have declared your car SORN, you may only drive or park it on private land. Most people live adjacent to a public road and will therefore not be able to park their car on the road outside their house. You can park your car on a driveway or in a garage, if you have one.

Can I SORN my car on finance?

Possibly, but some finance companies require the car to be insured at all times. Check your contract or speak to your finance company before taking any action.

I have bought a SORN car. Do I need to do anything?

Yes. If you intend to keep the car off-road, then you need to apply for another SORN – they do not transfer from person to person. If you plan to drive the car, you must tax it and buy insurance cover, as you would when buying any car.

Can a SORN car be towed?

Your car must remain ‘off-road’. If you plan to tow your car using a rope, it must be taxed and insured. However, if you want to tow your car using a tow-bar or similar, it will be classed as a trailer, so the SORN can remain in place.

What happens if I don’t SORN my car?

If you keep a car on public land without tax or insurance, you will receive the following fines:

  • £80 for not having a SORN
  • £100 for having an uninsured vehicle.

If you don’t pay these fines, they will increase and you may face a criminal conviction.

Can I insure a SORN car?

Yes! Just because you’re not using your car on public roads doesn’t mean it isn’t at risk of fire, theft or accidental damage. As such, some people opt to buy laid-up insurance cover, which is usually much cheaper than standard insurance as your premium won’t include liability or third-party insurance.

As a specialist insurance broker, Adrian Flux offers laid-up insurance at low premiums. Learn more about what we can offer.

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