Vehicle tax during a lockdown

As it’s recommended that we avoid any unnecessary travel during the lockdown, the majority of people are finding that they’re using their motor vehicles much less, in fact, many people aren’t using their cars at all. 

With so many vehicles sat on the curbside or gathering dust in the garage, you may be asking ‘do I need to tax my car?’ during such uncertain times. Indeed, especially if a household’s income has been affected by measures put in place, saving extra cash wherever you can is a welcome relief, however, you don’t want the freeing up of finances to result in a hefty fine either.

Do I have to pay car tax during a lockdown?

While there’s a six-month MOT extension available, car tax rules remain unchanged, and if you’re planning to be out on the road then your vehicle must be fully taxed. No matter the circumstances, failure to prove your vehicle is taxed if you’re out on the road can result in a fine of up to £1,000. 

With that being said, there are ways to go about not paying for your car tax if you know you’re going to be out from behind the wheel for a while and can cope just fine without the help of a car. 

If you inform the DVLA (Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency) that you’re removing your vehicle off public roads, you’re able to invoke what is known as a SORN, a Statutory Off Road Notification.

What is SORN?

A SORN allows you to keep your vehicle on private property, e.g. on the driveway of your home or in a garage, however, this does not apply to the curbside.

Many people get caught unawares in this manner, so be mindful that if your vehicle is not taxed then it’s also not allowed to be parked on the street outside of your house as this is classed as a public road.



Should I SORN a vehicle?

A SORN is probably an unknown entity to most drivers; perhaps anyone other than classic car owners or fans of a “doer-upper” will not have had to use one, as generally speaking, our cars are purchased with a view to being driven on the road. 

With so many people only using their vehicles for essential travel or indeed not at all, a SORN could now be widely viewed as a viable and tempting cash-saving option.

Initiating a SORN will allow you to avoid the expense of having to renew your car tax while the vehicle is not in use, while you’re also able to claim a refund on any remaining full months on an agreement if you’ve already paid in full. 

What’s more, if your motor is officially off the road then you’re not legally obligated to keep paying out insurance on it, although you should be aware that this will affect any coverage against damage and theft too. 

Once you’re ready to get back on the road, you’ll be able to renew your car tax having avoided months of unnecessary expense and maybe even benefit from a little reimbursement too. 

How to SORN a vehicle

If you’re wondering how to SORN a car, then wonder no more. You’re able to register for a SORN both by phone (on 0300 123 43231) or online by clicking here.

To register online, the vehicle will need to be registered in your name and current address, while you’ll also need to have your 11-digit reference number from the car’s V5C logbook handy too. Should the vehicle not be registered in your name, you’ll need to apply for a SORN by post with the relevant forms and necessary parts of the logbook in tow. 

Once you have a SORN in place, it will not need to be renewed or replaced, it will stay active until you’re ready to use your vehicle again (and don’t forget, you’ll need to get it taxed again too to avoid any fines). 


Searching for more up-to-date motoring advice and essential information? Browse our blog page where you’ll find everything from test drive tips to regular car checks.