SORN – the facts

Get caught with your car untaxed and you face a raft of penalties.  First of all, the DVLA keeps a database of vehicles registered by not taxed and not declared SORN.  An automated £80 fine is the first step, which is reduced if the fine is paid within twenty-eight days.

But if the fine is not settled, court beckons and there the fine can be raised to £1000 plus court costs.  If an untaxed vehicle is spotted on the road the DVLA can have it clamped.  That means a release fee of £100, or the purchase of valid tax within 24 hours.

If the tax is not paid, a surety is charged of £160 for cars (more for other vehicles) and if then tax is still not purchased within two weeks, the deposit is lost and the vehicle could be impounded.  Costs really escalate then; a £200 release fee is charged and there are daily storage fees to be paid that mount up quickly.  Further prosecution charges could follow.

But sometimes taxing a car is not the right option.  Maybe it has failed its MOT, or is not going to be driven on the roads for a period, perhaps because it is a rebuild project or has been involved in an accident.  In that case, the owner can register the car as SORN – statutory off-road notification.   A SORN car also does not need insurance.

The process can be carried out online at the DVLA website, or at a DVLA branch.  A phone call will also cover the procedure.

A SORN vehicle MUST be kept off road – parked on the highway, and SORN no longer applies.  If tax or insurance expires and the owner does not intend to renew it immediately, then SORN must be notified immediately – there is no period of grace.

It might be worth considering a sell my car website to sell your car if you’re not going to be using it. Especially as a fine is risked if SORN is not carried out in the following circumstances:

  • Buying a car and not taxing AND insuring immediately. Remember, tax no longer carries over once a car is sold.
  • Buying a car that is already on the register for SORN vehicles; like with tax, the process expires when ownership changes.
  • After 14 days off road with no tax.
  • Immediately, with no insurance.
  • If you break up your car, or scrap it.

It is hard to think of anything more annoying than being fined for a car that has been squashed and turned into tin cans.

Related Articles