Understanding SORN

In the UK, all drivers must have their car taxes paid to legally drive the vehicle on the road. If taxes are not paid, it is illegal for the vehicle to be on the road. However, in certain situations, a driver may be exempt from paying car taxes, including those who own SORN vehicles.


Registering for SORN

Vehicles that are off the road can hold a Statutory Off Road Notification (SORN). Once SORN registration is complete, the owner is exempt from paying car tax on the vehicle. If car taxes have already been paid, the owner can claim back any months of remaining tax.

Owners are allowed to choose when their SORN notice comes into effect. If you opt for ‘immediate start,’ the car must immediately be removed from the road. This can be done using the 11-digit code found in your car log book. If you choose to use the 16-digit code found on your V11 (vehicle tax reminder letter), a SORN will come into effect in a month’s time.

If you are attempting to register a vehicle for SORN that is not registered in your name, you will need to complete application V890 and submit it via post. This form allows you to choose the date the car comes off the road, including the previous month or coming month(s). (You are not eligible for refunds on previous months’ road tax.) If you are asking that the car be taken off the road at a future dare, you should include a letter detailing why with your application. The application and letter can be posted to:

SA99 1AR


SORN Appeals to the DVLA

If you do not make the DVLA aware that your car has been taken off the road, you may be determined to be in breach of SORN rules and required to pay a penalty. In this case, or in other situations, you may want to appeal this decision. Be aware that you cannot file an appeal because you were away when the vehicle needed to be registered or if you forgot to register.

The process for appealing a SORN decision will outlined on any SORN documents you have received or any documents requesting a fine be paid. If this information is not available, you may submit an appeal request to the DVLA’s main designated centre. Your appeal should include:

  • The nature of your complaint
  • Your vehicle’s registration number


Your appeal should be sent to:

DVLA Enforcement Centre
SA99 1 AH

Once you have submitted your appeal/ complaint, you must wait for a direct response from the DVLA before moving forward. Typically, there is only a short delay in response time. The DVLA will advise you on whether or not you have a legitimate case.  The response will be also detail whether or not you are still required to pay your SORN fine.


Paying Your SORN Fine and Penalty Charges

If it is decided that you owe a SORN fine or other fee, you are expected to pay it as soon as possible. Failure to pay by the requested date could result in further action, which could include clamping or impounding your car.

SORN fines and other fees can be paid through the DVLA’s online portal using a valid UK debit or credit card. You also have the option of paying by phone via 0843 903 3770 or by via post. Payments made via post must be in the form of postal order or cheque made payable to the DVLA. Payments should be sent to:

DVLA Enforcement Centre
D12 Longview Road
SA99 1AH


SORN Expiry

As of 2013, there is no expiry date for SORNs and they do not have to be renewed. Once registered, the car remains covered as long as you are the owner and it remains off-road. However, SORN does automatically cancel if the car is scrapped or sold or if you opt to tax a car.


SORN Refund

After applying for SORN through the DVLA and requesting an applicable refund, you will receive a refund cheque for any additional months remaining on your car tax schedule. If you are paying your car tax through direct debit, the DVLA will stop this before your refund is sent. This is why it is so important to apply for SORN as soon as you realise it applies to your situation. Otherwise, you’ll be subject to unnecessary taxation.


What is SORN?

Statuatory Off-Road Notification, or SORN, applies when a vehicle will no longer be used. As a result, the vehicle is no longer subject to standard taxation or any accompanying fees, as long as it is not on the roads. To prevent any unnecessary taxation, it is important to apply for SORN immediately after realising your car is no longer drivable. If you have paid your car tax in advance, you will receive a refund for the remaining months.

When was SORN introduced in the UK?

SORN was first brought into effect on 31 January 1998. At that time, any vehicles that were not drivable on the roads were required to apply for SORN. Today, UK motorists are well aware of SORN and are required to apply if their car is not on the road.

I registered for SORN, but the DVLA didn’t receive it. Now, I’ve been fined. What do I do?

If you have evidence of your initial request, you could be eligible for a SORN refund. This is why it is so important to retain copies of all data you submit to the DVLA, including postage receipts, proofs, and time and date-stamped communication. Having all of these information available is the best way to back up your claim and have your fine rescinded.

Does the DVLA post SORN reminders?

No, a SORN automatically renews, unless the car is sold, scrapped, or re-taxed. However, the DVLA will post remainders for failure to pay any SORN fines or fees.

I need to pay a SORN fine. How do I do this?

SORN fines can be paid via the online portal, telephone, or post. The contact details are provided above.

Do I need to tell the DVLA when to SORN my car?

Yes. This can be done immediately or ahead of time. Failure to apply can result in fines and unnecessary taxation. Keep in mind that once a car is registered for SORN, it can no longer be driven on the road.