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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
  • 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.

You only need to tell the Driver & Vehicle Agency (DVA) once your vehicle is off the road. Your SORN will remain in force until your vehicle is either taxed, sold, permanently exported or scrapped (via an Authorised Treatment Facility (ATF).

When SORN isn't needed

SORN isn’t needed if:

  • you no longer have the vehicle and the DVA have been informed
  • you take the vehicle abroad permanently
  • you apply for a refund of vehicle tax and don’t keep the vehicle
  • you are keeping the vehicle off the road and untaxed for less than 14 days

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)).

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.

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't make a SORN if your vehicle is outside the United Kingdom.

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