When you are the registered keeper of a car you are required to tax and insure your vehicle. If you don’t use your car, don’t keep it on a public road and don’t pay tax and insurance you must immediately apply for a Statutory Off Road Notification (SORN). While your car sits in the garage or on the driveway it is still supposed to be taxed and insured unless you have a SORN. You can be fined or prosecuted if you don’t either have a SORN or pay tax and insurance.
Continuous Insurance Enforcement (CIE) regulations will fine you if you don’t have a SORN or insurance for your vehicle. You may think that as long as the car sits somewhere on your property and you don’t pay tax and insurance you can avoid a SORN. But you would be wrong! Cars that are uninsured can be identified by comparing DVLA records against the Motor Insurance Database (MID) so you can be found out. Also, another thing to beware of is that SORN can’t be backdated so you need to do it quickly.
If you take this risk and get caught out you will be sent an Insurance Advisory Letter (IAL) which will inform you that you will be fined if you don’t arrange car insurance and ensure you pay all road tax owing.
What are the penalties?
For a start there is a fixed penalty notice of £80, your car can be clamped, seized and even scrapped. There is also the chance that you could be hit with a count court judgement (CCJ) which can affect your credit rating and you could receive a fine of £1,000.
How to declare SORN
Firstly, contact the DVLA as you will need the reference number that appears on your V5C registration certificate, V11 or V85/1 reminder form. Once you’ve sent in your application you will get confirmation from the DVLA. If the car isn’t registered in your name fill in the relevant section on the V5C form and send it to the DVLA with the V890 SORN FORM. Should you not have the V5C then fill in form V62 and send it with the SORN application.
Remember that SORNS have expiry dates as a SORN is valid for 12 months. Therefore be sure to note when yours is due to expire so that you can renew the SORN or make other arrangements. You will be sent a V11 form to remind you to renew the SORN if you haven’t disposed of or taxed/insured the vehicle. You can use this form to renew the SORN or re-tax your car. If you aren’t at home when the expiry date comes up you can send a V890 form to the DVLA up to two months before the expiry date to let them know your circumstances.
Should you decide to use the vehicle again you will have to arrange tax, insurance and a MOT. When you apply for tax using the V5C form the SORN expires and you can get back on the road once you’re insured. You are allowed to drive an untaxed vehicle to a pre-arranged MOT but you must be insured. If you buy a car that has a SORN then this will expire once you purchase the vehicle. It is then up to you to arrange tax and insurance or make a new SORN application.
The only exceptions are for those who are not required to pay duty such as historic and disabled tax classes. You don’t need a SORN if you have sent the vehicle abroad on a permanent basis, have applied for a refund of vehicle tax and no longer have the vehicle or if you are keeping the car off the road and untaxed for less than 14 days. If the car is abroad temporarily you don’t need a SORN but you do need to pay tax. Motor traders don’t need SORNS as long as they keep the untaxed and uninsured vehicles at their business premises and only retain them for a while until they sell them on. The registered keepers must also have told the DVLA that they have sold or transferred the vehicle to the trader. Companies who are scrapping the vehicle or are an insurer taking care of the car while a claim is being settled or who are a finance company licensed to temporarily hold a vehicle following a repossession order also don’t need SORNs.
For more information visit the DVLA.