Buying a V8 with the tax expired, then take care how you make the SORN to the DVLA
We have received an email from James Fairchild of the Transport Yorkshire Preservation Group highlighting an extraordinary difficulty he has had with a SORN. (21.1.05)

I came across your website and the SORN pages via Google and thought you might be interested in our recent experience following the submission of a SORN for a vehicle we had bought for spares - the DVLA are presently trying to sting us for an £80 fine for a SORN related issue.

My friend and I run the Transport Yorkshire Preservation Group (and the website when I get te chance) who own seven preserved buses. The background to the case is we purchased a Freight Rover Sherpa panel van, which will be used as spares for the two Freight Rover Sherpa minbuses we own. Whilst we were in the previous owners' front room and on the day the tax expired on the vehicle, we filled in the V5C and he (presumably) sent it off to the DVLA to advise them of the change of ownership. I then sent off a SORN form and later had a standard letter referring to the SORN as a reply from the DVLA a few weeks later - and the V5 VRD had come back before that.

However, a little while later, we received another letter from the DVLA, saying that we need to pay an £80 fine for not registering a SORN. It was only on re-reading the 'standard letter' that we realised that the letter said words to the effect that "as you are not the registered keeper on our records you cannot declare a SORN" for the vehicle - despite the fact that another department on a different floor at the DVLA was processing the change of keeper there and then!!!!

Please make your members aware of this potential problem, and of the need to file all DVLA paperwork to back oneself up.


James Fairchild

PS - as Freight Rover is tenuously connected to MG Rover, I attach a photo of the van - D 705 HUA - taken in central Leeds when it was new in 1986.

V8 Register - MG Car Club

Freight Rover Sherpa minibus D 705 HUA, taken when acquired as a new vehicle (No 1705) by the West Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive in 1986, and now preserved by Transport Yorkshire Preservation Group. (Photo: © Malcolm King)

James Fairchild
of the Transport Yorkshire Preservation Group reports he is being fined £80 by the DVLA despite having sent in a SORN. It is an extraordinary case which could easily hit V8 enthusiasts who buy a car where the tax has expired and a SORN is due, then register the change of ownership in the usual way, and send in a SORN but do so before the change of registration has taken effect. Yes it seems incredible but the DVLA has fined James for sending in a SORN and refuses to accept it because on the day the SORN declaration was made he was not the registered keeper - although legally he was the owner at that stage having completed the purchase of the vehicle. This type of heavy handed nonsense by the DVLA is clearly unreasonable but as we have already noted the DVLA approach to SORN has been aggressive from the start with an unpleasant and slightly sad macho management style

For overseas members, "DVLA" is the Driver & Vehicle Licensing Agency which is a UK Goververnment agency, and "SORN" is a Statutory Off Road Notification, a formal document the registered keeper of a vehicle has to return to the DVLA if the vehicle is not taxed for the road use on public roads through the payment of a road fund licence.

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