Statutory Off Road Notification (SORN)

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The Complete Guide to SORN: DVLA

Tax is payable for all cars that are currently on the roads and it is illegal for drivers to not pay tax on their car. There are certain instances that make a driver exempt from paying car tax like those who have taken their vehicle off the road and are storing it in a garage or driveway. You will not automatically be declared as ‘off the road’ so it is important to contact DVLA and register your car as such. Here is a comprehensive guide on what to do if you declare your vehicle off the roads, how to register and how to apply for a car tax refund with your SORN (Statutory Off Road Notification).

How and when to register your vehicle for SORN

SORN is only applicable for drivers that currently hold a Statutory Off Road Notification meaning their cars are off the road. They will be exempt from paying car tax but will not be able to use their car on any roads with this notice. For any months of remaining tax you should be able to claim it back and you cannot use the vehicle until it is taxed again.

You can choose when you want your SORN notice to come into effect. Immediate start will take your car off the roads immediately so you will not be able to use it. To do this, simply use your 11 digit code displayed in your log book. It is possible for your SORN notice to take effect in a month’s time using the 16 digit code on your vehicle tax reminder letter (V11). This number can only be used once.

If your car is not registered in your own name then you will need to register for SORN via post using the application form (V890). In this form you will need to specify the date that you want to take your car off the road. It can be any day that you choose and can include this coming month or the previous month, although you will not get any refund for previous months of road tax. If you are applying for your car to be taken off the road next month or a month in the future, you will have to include a letter outlining why. Send this form and letter to:

DVLA
Swansea
SA99 1AR

Appeals to DVLA

There are circumstances under which you may be expected to pay a penalty if you do not adequately inform the DVLA that your car has been taken off the road – but there are further circumstances under which you may wish to appeal against a decision made that finds you in breach of SORN rules.  Therefore, the government have made it easy for you to be able to appeal against any decisions made if you feel that they are unjust or non-applicable to your situation.  It must be noted, however, that you will not be eligible to make an appeal if you simply forgot to register your car for a SORN, or if you were away at the time of your need to register.

You will find information on how to appeal a decision made by the DVLA on any documentation you receive regarding a fine – or via any SORN form documents you may have received – but it remains to be said that the government agency will accept appeal requests via their main designated centre regardless of the nature of your complaint.  Write to the following address and include your vehicle’s registration number:  This way, the department will be able to check and log your vehicle accordingly.

DVLA Enforcement Centre

D12

DVLA

Swansea

SA99 1AH

You must then wait to hear from the DVLA directly to learn more about what to do with your complaint going forwards.  They will contact you to advise on whether or not you have a case, or if you will be required to continue to pay your SORN fine.  Rest assured, you will receive advice from DVLA within a short delay.

How to pay SORN fine and penalty charges

If you are not applicable for a SORN fine appeal, you are expected to clear any SORN fees as soon as possible, or risk incurring further action.  This action may even include the impounding or clamping of your car – meaning that it is very important you clear all fees expected of you by the dates requested.

You can easily pay for any SORN fine or charges you have incurred through the DVLA’s useful online portal – but you can also pay by phone via 0843 903 3770 or via post by way of a cheque or postal order made payable to the DVLA.  You can send such a payment to the following office:

DVLA Enforcement Centre

D12 Longview Road

Morriston

Swansea

SA99 1AH

Be prepared to have as much information as possible to hand when it comes to your car and your SORN – and if paying online, that you have a valid UK credit or debit card to hand to clear the fines.

SORN expiry

It’s a common myth that a SORN expiry date exists – in fact, anyone able to handle a SORN enquiry will tell you that there is no need to renew.  It does, however, automatically cancel off when you choose re-tax your vehicle or if you choose to scrap it or sell it.  Therefore, once you register – you are covered for as long as you retain ownership, or as long as it remains off-road under your jurisdiction.  This measure was only brought in recently, as drivers were affected from 2013 onwards.

SORN refund

Submitting your vehicle for SORN will result in you receiving a discount on your vehicle tax for however much you’ve paid up for on the year ahead.  Once you’ve informed the DVLA that you are applying for SORN and that you request an applicable SORN refund, you’ll be contacted and will receive a refund cheque should any further full months have been left on your vehicle tax schedule.  Beyond this, if you were paying by Direct Debit, the DVLA will shut down the instruction for you before a SORN refund is issued.  It therefore makes financial sense for you to apply for SORN as soon as possible – as otherwise you will have been subject to unnecessary taxation.

SORN Explained – FAQs

What is DVLA SORN?

SORN, or the Statutory Off-Road Notification, comes into play when you are taking a vehicle out of use.  This means that your vehicle will no longer be subject to standard taxation and related fees as it is not considered road-usable.  It is important to register for SORN status if you know your vehicle will no longer be driven, as it will essentially mean that you receive a refund for any car tax that you have paid in advance.

DVLA did not receive SORN – What do I do now I’ve been fined?

In such circumstances, you may be entitled to a SORN refund if you have evidence of such a request being made.  Do ensure that you retain any data you provide to DVLA, this includes postage receipts and proofs as well as time and date-stamped correspondence.  If the DVLA decides that your case is valid, you will be contacted regarding the status of your fine.  There are a few circumstances through which you’ll be entitled to a SORN refund – and this may well be one of them if you can back yourself up.

When did DVLA introduce SORN?

SORN is a relatively new phenomenon – it was brought into effect as of January 31st 1998 – meaning that it was then required to put a SORN in place on any vehicles not used on the roads or in active service for taxation.  SORN and tax have been clearly defined to motorists ever since, meaning that the procedure has become ingrained in governmental advice.

Do DVLA send SORN reminders?

The DVLA will send reminders if you fail to pay SORN fines in any shape or form – but a SORN will automatically renew until you re-tax a car.  You will be pursued to purchase SORN cover if you are caught driving an untaxed car.

How to pay DVLA SORN fine

You are able to clear a SORN fine either online, via post or via telephone – please see the information we have collated above for more details.  You’ll likely need a card to hand and as much information on your vehicle as possible.

Do I need to inform the DVLA when to SORN my vehicle?

Yes – you can either let them know immediately or in advance.  If you fail to apply for SORN, you will risk paying additional and unnecessary tax on your vehicle – and it is important to remember that you may not drive or use your car again unless you re-start taxation, or if your vehicle is sold on or scrapped – or even shipped overseas.