When to make a SORN (Statutory Off Road Notification)
Every vehicle registered in Northern Ireland (NI) must be taxed if used or kept on a public road. If not it could be wheel clamped or removed. If the vehicle is kept off-road it must either be taxed or have a SORN (Statutory Off Road Notification) in force.
When SORN is needed
Make a SORN:
- if your vehicle is being kept off the road due to repair or MOT failure or isn't being used
- if you’re not renewing your tax disc and you're keeping the vehicle off-road
- if you’re applying for a refund and keeping the vehicle off the road
- every 12 months if you continue to keep your vehicle off the road
- in advance if your vehicle is to be kept off the road in Northern Ireland when you’re abroad
- if you buy an untaxed vehicle and do not tax it
SORN applies to all tax classes including historic and disabled vehicles. You can make a SORN from the fifth day of the month in which the current tax disc or SORN is due to expire. SORN cannot be backdated.
Your SORN is valid for 12 months, unless you tax, sell, permanently export or scrap the vehicle (via an Authorised Treatment Facility (ATF)) before this period has ended. You should be sent a V11(NI) reminder to let you know that your SORN is about to expire, which you can then use to renew your SORN or re-tax your vehicle.
When SORN isn't needed
SORN isn’t needed if:
- you no longer have the vehicle and the Driver & Vehicle Agency (DVA) have been informed
- you take the vehicle abroad permanently
- you apply for a refund of vehicle tax and don’t keep the vehicle
- your vehicle was last taxed before 1st December 2002
- you are keeping the vehicle off the road and untaxed for less than 14 days
Check when your SORN expires
Check the date your SORN expires by contacting DVA Vehicle Enquiries on 0845 402 4000.
Vehicle has failed MOT test or insurance certificate has not arrived
If you intend to renew your vehicle tax you should do so before your current tax disc expires. However, this isn't always possible if your vehicle has failed an MOT or you’re waiting for insurance.
You’ll be committing an offence if you use or keep your vehicle on the public road without a current tax disc. If you can't get a tax disc, you must keep the vehicle off road. While your vehicle is off the road, you have 14 days in which to get a tax disc or make a SORN.
Driving to an MOT test when SORN is in force
You can drive your vehicle to and from a pre-arranged test at an MOT centre provided you have adequate insurance cover in place for the use of that vehicle.
Registered keeper is deceased
The person responsible for the deceased person’s affairs can make a SORN if the vehicle is being taken off the road.
Vehicle involved in an accident - what does the insurance company intend to do?
You may want to leave the tax disc on the vehicle if it's likely to be repaired. If it's likely that the vehicle will be written off and you wish to refund the tax disc, then you should arrange with the insurance company where the vehicle will be stored.
The vehicle must be continuously taxed and display a valid tax disc if it’s to be kept on the public road.
If the vehicle is to be kept off the road whilst unlicensed, a SORN declaration should be in force.
To discharge your liability for the vehicle, you must complete the V5C/3(NI) (section 9 of the V5C(NI)).
- Refund of vehicle tax
Buying a vehicle that has SORN on it
If you keep the vehicle off the road then you’ll need to make a SORN when you become the registered keeper. The previous SORN comes to an end on the date you buy the vehicle.
Using or keeping a vehicle on a public road
A public road is a road maintained at public expense, including grass verges and ground adjoining the road. Contact your local Roads Service if you have any doubt about an area where you want to park your vehicle. All vehicles that are used or kept on a public road must be taxed and must display a valid tax disc at all times.
Change of address
DVA requires a current address for SORN purposes. Make sure the details on your registration certificate V5C(NI) are up-to-date to ensure you receive a reminder when your SORN is about to expire.
Vehicle abroad on a temporary basis
If you are taking your vehicle abroad temporarily, you must ensure that your vehicle is taxed for the whole duration you are away, as you can not make a SORN if your vehicle is outside the United Kingdom.