SORN stands for Statutory Off-road Notification and is a legal way of keeping a car without taxing it or getting an MOT or insurance for it. They’re easy to get and cancel. But if you’re buying a car with a SORN there are some things you should look out for.
Is SORN transferable?
SORN is very similar to car tax. You deal with the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) to register and cancel one. And they’re not transferable. As with tax, if you buy a car with a SORN, you have to apply to the DVLA for another one in your own name. And you must do it from the moment you buy the car or you could be in line for a fine. Not continuously taxing or putting a car on SORN attracts an £80 fine.
Declaring vehicle SORN when it’s just been bought
If you own a car that you want to SORN, you just contact the DVLA by phone, online or post. You need to complete a V890 form and send it to the DVLA.
If you don’t own a car yet, the only way to apply for SORN is to do it by post. If you’ve just bought the car, you must complete the relevant part of the V5C logbook, quoting the 11-digit number.
How to tax SORN cars
This couldn’t be easier. You simply apply to the DVLA to tax the vehicle and it cancels the SORN .
When you SORN your car
Once you declare your car SORN, you must keep it off the public road, on private land, a drive or in a garage.
You don’t need to renew a SORN on a car or reapply for one. It is in force until you decide to cancel it.
If you are declaring a taxed car SORN when its tax runs out, you need the 16-digit number on the V11 tax reminder document.
When NOT to declare SORN
If you’re planning on driving the car at all, a SORN isn’t for you. The only time you can drive a SORN car on a public road is when you’ve insured it and are taking it to a pre-booked MOT. If the police stop you, check with the garage, and you haven’t got an appointment, you can be fined up to £2500.
Things to remember about SORN
- If you want to declare a vehicle SORN or remove a SORN , remember that car tax is now done in whole months. You’ll get the most out of your tax if you SORN a car at the end of a month. Or if you tax it from the very beginning of a month.
- Declaring vehicle SORN is a completely free service. However, there are companies that will happily take your money for doing it on your behalf. The thing is, they can’t do it without the information you supply them with. By the time you’ve done that, you might as well have done the SORN yourself. And saved yourself the £30-plus they charge in the process.
- You can find out if a car is declared SORN easily. Simply go to the DVLA website here. Input the registration number and it’ll tell you if the car is taxed, on a SORN, and whether it has an MOT.
I’ve been writing about cars and motoring for more than 25 years. My career started on a long-departed classic car weekly magazine called AutoClassic. I’ve since pitched up at Autosport, Auto Express, the News of the World, Sunday Times and most recently the Daily Telegraph. When I’m not writing about cars and motoring, I’m probably doing some kind of sport or working in my garden.