Advice

How to SORN a car

If you’re looking to declare your car off the road, we explain how to make a Statutory Off Road Notification (SORN) with the DVLA.

Words by: First published: 19th June 2018
  • SORNing your car only takes a few minutes online.
  • If you car is not taxed or insured, and off the road, you need to SORN it.
  • Statutory Off Road Notifcation (SORN) is a legal requirement in the UK.
If you’re looking to declare your car off the road, we explain how to make a Statutory Off Road Notification (SORN) with the DVLA.

If your car is not being used on the roads – and you no longer need to pay road tax or have insurance – you need to SORN your car.

Declaring a Statutory Off Road Notification (SORN) is a legal requirement, so you need to make sure you do it properly, to avoid getting fined.

SORNing your car is easy to do, and it will only take you a couple of minutes on the DVLA website.

You need the car’s registration number, and make and model info, along with the 11-digit reference from the car’s V5C logbook, or the 16-digit reference number from the V11 car tax renewal reminder.

If you don’t want to SORN your car online, you can do it by post – you’ll need form V890, which you can pick up from the Post Office – or over the phone by calling 0300 123 4321.
When you need to SORN a car, and what happens if you don’t
It’s important to note that a car has to be off the road, in a garage, or on private land before you can SORN it. If it’s still parked on a road, even if you’re not driving it, you can’t SORN it, and it will still have to be taxed and insured.

The DVLA knows when your road tax has expired, and it can also cross-reference that information to see if you’re properly insured. If you’re not, and haven’t SORNed your car, you’ll get a warning letter – although you shouldn’t wait until this point, and the DVLA don't have to send you a letter.

If you don’t SORN your car after the letter, you’ll get an £80 fine if your road tax has expired, and a £100 fine if you’re not insured.

If you keep ignoring it, you’ll have to go to court and could get fined up to £1,000 – plus costs – for tax or insurance.

If you’re driving an untaxed or uninsured car around, you’re also liable to police prosecution and a fine of up to £2,500, so just don’t do it.

You’ll also need to SORN your car if you buy it and don’t tax and insure it straight away (remember tax doesn’t transfer to a car’s new owner any more), if you buy a car that’s already been SORNed by the previous owner (although it doesn’t expire, they’re non-transferable, so you'll need to SORN it yourself), or if you scrap your car.
How to un-SORN a car
If you want to get your car back on the road, you just need to tax and insure it again.

A SORN declaration doesn’t run out, so it’ll keep going until you tax the car again, when it will be automatically cancelled.

If the car’s been off the road for a long time, and you want to get it back on the road, you’ll most likely need to book in an MOT. You can drive your car untaxed to or from a pre-booked MOT, but then you’ll need to get it taxed again.
Related topics:
Car ownership