How to declare your car SORN

With the current Covid-19 outbreak, many of us will be finding ourselves working from home or self-isolating.

That means there’s going to be a lot of cars sat at home unused for long periods of time, potentially months, resulting in drivers possibly spending money on taxing their vehicle when declaring it off the road may be a cost-saving solution.

Though not possible in all cases, some of us may be able to pocket a few months of tax by declaring the vehicle SORN. Here we detail how you can do that and, more importantly, if you should.

What does it mean for my car to be SORN?

If your car is SORN, it’s declared off the road in the eyes of the DVLA. This exempts you from paying tax on the vehicle monthly, with the premise of the vehicle not being used on public roads.

Should I SORN my car?

If you’re not planning to use your car for a lengthy amount of time, as may be the case with the current Covid-19 pandemic, declaring your car SORN can be a good way to save a little bit of cash.

That said, if it’s only a short-term plan to leave your car parked up we’d recommend avoiding doing this. It works best for cars left months at a time.

How can I declare my car SORN?

Declaring a car SORN is incredibly simple. Head to and follow to online steps.

You’ll first be asked to enter the 16 digit code on your V11 reminder if you have one, though if not you can take the reference number from the vehicle’s V5C. If you have just purchased the car and do not have the V5C, you can also use the V5C/2 new keeper’s supplement the previous owner should have given you.

One confirmed, the SORN declaration should be almost instantaneous.


Does it cost?

Using the website, as you should be, it’s totally free to declare your car as SORN.

I’ve seen other websites charge me to declare my car SORN, can I trust them?

A multitude of services offering to declare your car SORN for a small fee have popped up in recent years, but you should not trust these.

They are no more efficient or effective than using the tool, which is free.

Can I get a refund on my car tax if I declare SORN?

If you have paid an annual rate for your car tax, you will receive a refund on full remaining months when you declare your car SORN. If you pay monthly via direct debit, you won’t receive any.

Can I use my car while it is SORN?

You should not use your vehicle when it is SORN, as doing so puts you at risk of a £2,500 fine as well as the vehicle being clamped.

Using the car on private roads is permitted, and the only exception to using a SORN car on public roads is driving to or from a pre-booked MOT appointment. If the latter applies, you should ensure you have written proof of the appointment.

Where can I leave my car while it is SORN?

If your car is declared SORN, it can be parked up on private land. This includes private driveways and garages, though if you’re parking in private residential areas it may be wise to check with the land owners.

You should not leave the car parked in public places, such as street parking or accessible car parks. Doing so risks the vehicle being clamped or seized.

While awaiting recovery for the Citroën we have stopped a second vehicle which was shown as SORN and uninsured.

Checks have shown the policy was cancelled in January and that the vehicle was still SORN.

It has been seized and the driver also prosecuted

— Roads Policing Unit (RPU) – Surrey Police – UK (@SurreyRoadCops) April 5, 2019

What happens if I don’t declare my car SORN or tax it?

If you don’t declare your car SORN and fail to tax it, you’re putting the vehicle at risk of being seized as well as landing yourself a fine.

You’re likely to receive an automated letter with an £80 fine in this case if you fail to do either, though this is reduced to £40 if paid within 28 days. Failing to do that can see the case taken to court though, with a maximum fine of £1,000.

How long do I need to wait to bring it back on the road?

If you’ve declared your car SORN, there is a short period before you’re able to tax it again for road use. This is typically a few days and applies vice-versa.

Do I need to renew my SORN?

Though it used to be a case of vehicles declared SORN needing that status renewed annually, that no longer applies. Once you’ve declared the vehicle SORN, it will remain that way until it’s taxed again.