SORN & Tax: What you need to know

young and old man fixing engine in garage
Every now and again at our Vasstech garage in Knaresborough, we’re asked about taxing and SORNing your car. Also known as Statutory Off Road Notification, SORN is the classification you receive if you tell the DVLA your vehicle is “off-road”.

This doesn’t mean you plan on taking the family estate rallying on some dirt and gravel tracks but instead that your car won’t be used on roads and won’t need to be taxed. Off-road refers to the fact that your car isn’t legally allowed on public roads or public property, even when stationary; it has to be, quite literally, off the road.

Why go SORN?

There are a number of reasons why you may want to do this and, if anything, the past lockdowns have encouraged some to take their cars “off-road”.

While in our Knaresborough car garage, we expected to see a dip in visitors with car problems during lockdown due to fewer people driving. People still used their cars, but they were for making essential journeys or visiting the supermarket. However, if you found that you could make the necessary essential journeys on foot or by bicycle, and likewise to the supermarket, but then have continued to do so now we’re out of lockdown, then it may be cheaper to put your car as SORN.

Similarly, if you’re lucky enough to own a classic car, you may find that in the colder months, you hardly use it. If you choose to save your rides for when the weather is warm, it may also make sense to only pay road tax when you know you’re going to be driving. Those who bought a car to renovate may also find it beneficial to wait until they’re ready to take to the road before taxing their vehicles again.

What do I have to do?

The process of registering your vehicle as SORN is straightforward. There’s no need to wait in lines for hours or and you definitely don’t need to bring your car to our garage in Knaresborough to have us change anything. In fact, all you need to do is visit this government website and follow the steps. The process is really very simple, only takes a few minutes and handily, is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

You’re able to choose whether to start the process immediately, or you can choose to delay it till the first day of the following month. You will also be required to update your logbook with your correct address if you haven’t already done so. If this is something you feel you may need a hand with, then pop into Vasstech or give us a call on 01423 867 924, and we can point you in the right direction.

You may also be wondering if it’s worth keeping your car insured during this period, seeing as you won’t be driving it, and while it’s not legally necessary, we’d advise you to continue to do so. While you might not be driving your car, you’ll still want to protect it from damage, fire or even protect it on the off chance that someone else may choose to break in and drive it for themselves! It’s also worth noting that if you have a pre-approved MOT booked in with us, for example, you can travel to and from the garage but only when having an MOT.

My car is now registered as SORN; what do I do?

Well, firstly, don’t drive it! Secondly, make sure your car isn’t on a public road. It doesn’t have to be hidden away in a cave, but it isn’t allowed to be on public land unless it’s taxed, so it’s best to keep it on your driveway or in a garage.

Unlike your MOT at Vasstech, you’re not required to go through the process once a year, so you don’t have to worry about registering and then registering the following year, there’s no admin required.

Last but not least, if you’ve already paid taxes for your car that year, you can sit back and wait for a refund from the DVLA for all the months you haven’t used that year.

If you fancy registering your car as SORN and would like us to give it a checkup, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us here.

Written by
Vasstech Garage Manager
Paul Atkinson
Co-founder & Director


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