It might seem to be a self-explanatory process to make a DVLA Statutory Off Road Declaration – after all, it’s surely simply a case of performing an online search for ‘declare SORN online’ and finding the appropriate page of the .gov.uk website, before following the subsequent instructions.
But why would you want to make a SORN declaration anyway, and what are the consequences if you fail to do so? Plus, what are the various exceptions to the rules?
The proper way to report your car off the road
Of course, as the very term ‘Statutory Off Road Declaration’ suggests, the procedure is very much about reporting your car off the road in a legal manner. If you are a driver, then every six or 12 months, you will need to renew your car tax.
However, there are certain circumstances in which you may not be required to do so. One of the most common such circumstances is your car simply no longer being on the road, which means that you are either no longer driving your car or you intend to declare it as un-roadworthy so that it can be scrapped.
If this is the case, then at the usual time when you would have otherwise renewed your tax, you will need to declare SORN online. Once this has been done, you really will be barred from driving your car and will need to ensure that it quite literally stays off the road. The car will need to be parked on a driveway, in your garage or in a private car park so that it does not get towed and land you with a heavy fine.
Reasons why you may, or may not, need to file a SORN
There are various reasons why you may, or may not be required to file a SORN, but the really important thing to remember is to at least make such a declaration or renew your tax when the time comes, as failure to do either means that your vehicle could be clamped, towed or even crushed at your expense.
Possible reasons to declare a SORN include if the vehicle has failed an MOT and it is no longer fit to run, or if the vehicle is not being used as it is simply no longer required. It’s also possible that you will be taking an extended holiday or the car will be left unused for any other extended period of time and will therefore be kept off the road, in which case you may make a SORN declaration online in advance.
And of course, there are some situations in which your vehicle may no longer be on the road, but you won’t actually need to file a SORN. It may be the case, for example, that you are emigrating and therefore permanently taking your car overseas, or you may have scrapped it after an accident. You may have even sold the vehicle, which will pass responsibility onto the new owner.
Remember to keep yourself informed and plan ahead in advance when the time nears to declare SORN online!