Laying-up a V8 - what's the SORN procedure?
The New Road Tax Rules have been designed as a tough catchall by requiring the person named as the registered keeper on the Vehicle Registration Document to be legally responsible for taxing the vehicle until the DVLA has been notified that the vehicle is off the road or has been sold, transferred, scrapped or exported. These new rules are part of the Government's progamme of reform of the vehicle licensing and registration system in the UK and are clearly aimed at tackling car crime and the problems with abandoned vehicles and uninsured motoring. That's fine and very desirable so far as all honest and responsible V8 enthusiasts are concerned but unfortunately the suggested rigidity of the new rules and the likely manner in which they will be applied by DVLA could prove to be an unpleasant surprise for any V8 enthusiast who is not punctual in submitting a Statutory Off Road Notification or SORN.

Jeff Mumford, the DVLA's deputy manager, said "the registration system in Britain has been too friendly, we are looking to slowly tighten the screw." He said the new system known as "continuous registration" would catch hundreds of thousands of drivers who skip a month or two of their road tax by falsely claiming their vehicle had been off the road when they sign the declaration at the foot of their next application form for a new tax disc. Damian Green, the Shadow Transport Secretary, agreed that something needed to be done about the huge number of untaxed cars on the roads, but said "motorists will be suspicious that this is just another stealth tax, especially in the absence of an independent arbiter for cases where genuine mistakes have been made".

So it is clear that these new rules are not a very pleasant prospect at all for V8 enthusiasts! Let's just hope the DVLA are not as aggressive and unfeeling as some VAT inspectors!

Do I need to notify DVLA when I tax the car and put it back on the road?
The DVLA information indicates that by applying for a new road fund licence and thereby taxing the car for six or twelve months, you will automatically remove the existing SORN declaration.

Whichever way you submit the SORN you must keep a record of having done so!
Whether you submit a SORN on the road licence renewal notice Form V11 submitted at the Post Office, or on Form V85 at the DVLA Local Office, or on a tax refund claim to DVLA Swansea, or on Form Online V890 to DVLA Swansea, you must keep a record of having done so. This is now vital because it seems the New Car Tax Rules do not allow any scope for contesting the DVLA fine - except evidence that the SORN was accepted by a Post Office or at a DVLA Local Office or was posted to DVLA Swansea!! Nothing concentrates the mind like the prospect of hanging!

Finally, a SORN only lasts for 12 months so you will need to make a diary note to renew it - unless of course you tax the car for another six months of fair weather motoring in the meantime! DVLA issue a reminder shortly before the expiry of the SORN.

See the reply from DVLA to several queries on the acknowledgment letter sent to confirm a receipt of your SORN - SORN3

V8 Register - MG Car Club

So for members who do lay-up their V8 for part of the year, what is the procedure to avoid being gonged for DVLA fine?
A tax disc is valid for 6 or 12 months and shortly (about two weeks) before the expiry , the DVLA sends out a renewal reminder on Form V11. You then have two options - renew the tax or if you decide to take the car off the road, you have to send in a SORN.

Renewing your tax disc by applying for a new tax disc using the Form V11 at a licence-issuing Post Office (or using a Form V10 if that is necessary) or by using a Form V85 at a DVLA Local Office. The location of your nearest DVLA Local Office can be found on the DVLA website, but usually the nearest licence-issuing Post Office will be far more convenient. You will need the usual documents - the Vehicle Registration Document, a current MOT Certificate and a valid certificate of motor insurance plus of course the payment!

Submitting a SORN by filling in the relevant SORN sections on the renewal reminder Form V11 and taking it to a licence-issuing Post Office. When you do submit a SORN at the Post Office, the essential concern is you must get a nil payment receipt from the Post Office as evidence of your submitting your SORN otherwise you will have nothing to prove it was submitted at their counter and was accepted for delivery to the DVLA!! But do remember, under the new rules, you have to submit the SORN punctually!
If you decide to submit your SORN at a DVLA Local Office then you need Form V85. You will need to show the counter-staff your Vehicle Registration Document, so do not forget to take it with you.
Now there are two more cases where you could need to submit a SORN - when you decide to claim a refund for the unexpired portion of a tax disc and are taking the car off the road or where you have simply forgotten to submit a SORN when an earlier disc expired.

Claiming a refund of the balance of the road fund licence when you take the car off the road? John Targett regularly taxes his MGBGTV8 when he is over from Ohio and then sends in a claim on Form V14 to DVLA for a refund of the unexpired portion on the disc as he returns to the US. He has noted that at the bottom of the refund application form there is a SORN declaration so if you are making a refund claim, the SORN goes in automatically. As John says "it makes sense that DVLA make you sign-off for non-use before they will return the money!"

What if I have forgotten to submit a SORN or have lost the renewal reminder Form V11?
You can download the SORN form from the DVLA website as Form Online V890, complete it and send it to DVLA Swansea. Please note, your local licence-issuing Post Office cannot accept a SORN on Form Online V890! Do keep a copy with your car's documents so you have a record of having submitted a SORN.

DVLA helpline 0870 240 0010
For more road tax, SORN and motor insurance items see our running index. More