Every 6 or 12 months drivers are required to renew their car tax either on line, over the telephone or via a Post Office branch. There are some reasons though that you may not need to renew your car tax due to certain special circumstances.
One of the main reasons for there not being a requirement to renew your car tax is if your vehicle is no longer on the road, this means that you will either not be driving the car at all or you will be declaring the car as un-roadworthy and due to be scrapped.
If this is the case then you will need to complete a SORN (Statutory Off Road Notification) form to declare your car as officially off the road on your tax renewal. When you do this you are then no longer allowed to drive your car and further more you need to keep it off the road in every sense of the word.
You will need to park your car either in a private car park, on a driveway or in your garage in order to avoid getting your car towed and receiving a hefty fine. There are many reasons why you may need to file a SORN such as:
o The vehicle has failed an MOT and isn’t fit to run.
o The vehicle is not in use as it isn’t required (you must either renew your tax or declare it as off the road, you are not permitted to simply let your tax lapse) i.e. if you’ve been banned.
o In advance, should you be leaving the vehicle unused for an extended period of time and the car will be kept off the road i.e. extended holiday abroad.
The timing of making a SORN is important and you should do so as soon as you have taken your car off the road and don’t intend to drive it any more, by not renewing your tax OR making a SORN declaration you run the risk of being clamped, towed and even having your vehicle crushed at your own expense.
There are a few situations where your vehicle may no longer be on the road but don’t need a SORN such as:
o You have sold the vehicle and so the new owner assumes responsibility.
o You have scrapped the vehicle, possibly after an accident/MOT fail.
o Your motor insurer has written the car off.
o You are taking your vehicle abroad permanently (emigrating).
A SORN has to be filed every year like a tax renewal, each SORN lasts for 12 months at the end of which you must inform the DVLA again or purchase a new tax disc. There are cases where you may need to file a SORN because your vehicle has failed an MOT but you are unable to afford the necessary repairs.
You can re-apply for your tax disc at any point during your SORN 12 month period should your car become road-legal again, if your car will likely be off the road for longer than a month then filing a SORN is the best option, if it will only be off the road for a few weeks at the most then you may be better off renewing your tax disc.
It’s important that as soon as the tax renewal letter arrives that you make a judgement as to whether you need to file an SORN or renew your tax disc, making the decision early will help avoid any potential troubles like fines, clamps and your vehicle being seized.