Black toyota

How To Declare SORN Online

There are many reasons why a car may not be getting used, but thankfully for drivers, as long as the car is kept on private land, anyone can SORN their vehicle to save on these tax, MOT and insurance costs – all of which could end up totalling hundreds of pounds each year.

But when should you be thinking about ‘SORNing’ your car? Thankfully, Scrap Car Comparison has provided advice for those who may not be using their vehicles for a prolonged period of time, and may be looking for a way to save some extra pennies this year. 

How To SORN Your Car

Applying for a Statutory Off Road Notification is free of charge and is applied through the Drivers and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA). Applications can be made in one of three ways:

Online Application
By visiting the
Register Your Vehicle As Off The Road page on the Gov website.

Phone Call
By calling the DVLA on one of the following numbers:
Telephone: 0300 123 4321
Textphone: 0300 790 6201

If you’re looking to apply via post you can do so by sending off a completed V890 Application Form to: DVLA, Swansea, SA99 1AR.

When applying for your SORN you can choose when it takes effect however, you will need different information to do so. If you would like the SORN to take effect immediately you will need to go into your log book (V5C) and locate the 11-digit number. Whereas if you would like the SORN to take effect on the 1st day of the next calendar month, you will need to use the 16-digit number written on your vehicle tax reminder letter. However, you can only use this number once.

Confirmation of a SORN can take up to 4 weeks after your application is completed to come through. Confirmation will be sent via letter if you applied over the phone, textphone or post, and if you applied online it the confirmation will be sent to you via email. Once this is done you may be entitled to a tax refund depending on how much of your tax you have paid in advance.

A small car stored under a cover on a driveway

When Is A SORN Needed?

There are numerous occasions when you may need to declare your vehicle as off the road but there are certain instances when a SORN must be in place. The following are instances that the DVLA have stated a SORN must be in place for:

  • If your vehicle does not have tax.
  • If you have bought, or received, a vehicle and want to keep it off the road.
    A SORN notification cannot be transferred and so if you bought a vehicle with a SORN in place, you must apply for a new one once the vehicle is in your name.
  • If your vehicle does not have insurance.
    A vehicle must always have insurance and so, even if it’s for a short time, if your vehicle does not have insurance than it must have a SORN in place.
  • If you want to dismantle a vehicle for parts before you scrap it.

In addition to this there are instances when owners may need to SORN their vehicle for personal reasons, such as; when they know they will be unable to use the vehicle for a while, for example if they are going travelling, or if a vehicle has failed it’s MOT and is no longer running but the owner needs to wait a while to fix it. Regardless of the reasons for initiating a Statutory Off Road Notification it’s important to remember that once one is in place the vehicle cannot be used. The only exception to this is if you are driving a car with a SORN to a pre-booked MOT appointment. If you do not have a pre-booked appointment and are caught by the police driving a vehicle with an off road notification, then you can be fined up to £2,500.

Read More

Is there a set length of time you need to SORN your vehicle for?

When thinking about SORNs, many people may think that this only applies to cars that are off the road for longer periods of time – such as classic cars that are kept as collectors items and not driven, project cars that are being restored over long periods of time, or those sports cars that are only wheeled out of the garage on the odd sunny day in the summer. However, there’s no minimum length of time that a car has to be SORN-ed for; if your car isn’t being used, it’s eligible to be classified with a SORN. 

With increasing numbers of people working remotely from abroad, and students often taking advantage of their university holidays, many people may find themselves spending a couple of months, or more, out of the country – in which case, SORNing their vehicle could help them save a few precious pounds! Similarly, if car owners have an injury or surgery that means they’re unable to drive, but keep their car on a private driveway, a SORN could be used to claim back any tax for this period, rather than keeping it in its roadworthy state and essentially throwing money away.

Should I SORN a Scrapped Car?

Scrapping a car will usually involve passing ownership of the vehicle over to the scrap yard or salvage company you sell it to. They themselves are then responsible for notifying the DVLA that the car has been destroyed. Because at no point before destruction, has the car then been ‘not in use’, reporting it SORN has not been required.

For more info on notifying the DVLA when scrapping your vehicle – read our guide here.

Tip: If you have left have un-spent tax and insurance you can claim those back too after scrapping.

Why Do I Need A SORN?

Under the Continuous Insurance Enforcement (CIE) legislation you are legally required to have your vehicle taxed and insured at all times. The only exception to this is when your vehicle has a SORN in place. If there is not a SORN in place then your vehicle must be taxed and insured and if it is not then you will be automatically fined £80, on top of a separate fine for not having insurance.

Please note that if a vehicle does have a SORN in place then it must be kept on a driveway, a garage or on private land, as if it is kept on a public road it is breaching the terms of the SORN and won’t be classified as valid, meaning the vehicle will still be liable for tax. This means that if you applied for a SORN but the only space you have available to park the car is on a public road, then the SORN will not be valid. In addition to this a SORN is only valid if a car is never used on the road, it is not active if a car is occasionally used. To use a vehicle whilst a SORN is in place is illegal and if your vehicle has a SORN in place and is caught on public roads, you can face fines of £2,500.

How Long Does A SORN Last?

Once you have requested a SORN it lasts indefinitely, so the vehicle will be declared as off the road, until you cancel the SORN by re-taxing your vehicle. The SORN will also be cancelled if the vehicle is scrapped, exported or sold. Statutory Off Road Notifications cannot be transferred and so if the vehicle is sold and the new owner would like to keep the vehicle off the road, they will need to apply for their own SORN. You can find out more about scrapping a SORN car here.

Neglected car on the driveway

Is it difficult to get your SORNed car back on the road?

Though many people may think that getting a SORNed car back on the road involves tons of admin and forms, it’s actually incredibly simple. 

The only thing needed to get a car back on the road is to re-tax it online. Of course, the car needs to have a valid MOT and insurance to be driven legally on the roads too, but a SORNed vehicle can still be driven to a pre-booked MOT in preparation for getting it back on the road full-time. 

In 2022, Scrap Car Comparison revealed that a quarter of Brits had delayed getting their car repaired due to the costs involved, with more than a fifth feeling stressed about the costs associated with driving on a weekly or daily basis. With the cost of repairs and insurance rising and making it harder than ever for many people to afford the upkeep of their vehicles, SORNing could be an option to consider while searching for other quotes, or saving up for any work needed.

Selling A SORN Car – Can You Do It?

Selling a car which has a Statutory Off Road Notification can be done however, as you cannot take it onto public roads it can be problematic to do so privately. Especially as most people who are looking to purchase a vehicle, want to take it for a test drive before parting with their money. If you would like to sell your vehicle privately you will need to ensure that it has a valid MOT, tax and insurance in place in order to do so.

If getting tax, MOT and insurance for your vehicle is not something you are able to do there are other ways in which you can sell your vehicle, in the same way that it’s possible to sell a car without MOT. The first is to sell your vehicle to a registered car buyer. Because vehicles are only in a trader’s possession for a short period of time, they have trade license plates which means they are not bound by the same vehicle tax legislation as everyone else and do not need to tax every vehicle in their possession.

Alternatively, you can sell your vehicle through our service! Scrap Car Comparison is a price comparison site for scrap and salvage vehicles which means, no matter the condition of your vehicle, we’ll be able to find a buyer for your used vehicle. Our service spans nationwide and all of our buyers collect vehicles with their recovery vehicles so the car won’t be driven on public roads and once the vehicle is scrapped, or the ownership of the vehicle is transferred over, the SORN is no longer active so no laws will be broken.

If you’d like to get a quote for your vehicle regardless of whether or not it has a SORN in place – you can fill out the quote form at the top of this page or call one of our advisors on 03333 44 99 50.

Get Quote Now

Get Offers For
Your Scrap Car In
Less Than 30 Seconds


Your request is processing

Your request is processing...