Car tax warning: Thousands may be issued penalties this summer as restrictions ease

Martin Lewis gives money-saving advice on VED car tax

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Experts warn drivers must make sure their car is “taxed, insured and ready for the road” before heading out as restrictions ease. The RAC warns SORN status “only applied to vehicles that are unused” meaning drivers could be penalized for making even the smallest of trips.

RAC spokesman Rod Dennis said SORN “meant very little” before the pandemic but many had used the service to save money.

However as restrictions begin to ease, the RAC has waned thousands may be at risk if they do not understand the strict rules around SORN.

Mr Dennis said: “Before the pandemic, it’s likely the ‘SORN’ acronym meant very little to most people.

“But within weeks of the first lockdown hundreds of thousands of extra drivers had already stopped using their cars and made a SORN application to the DVLA.

“Now, with restrictions lifting we’d urge every driver who uses their car – no matter how infrequently – to make sure it is taxed, insured and ready for the road.

“It’s vitally important drivers remember that SORN status only applies to vehicles that are unused and parked off public roads.”

The DVLA has confirmed drivers cannot keep a car which has been SORNed on a public road.

Vehicles must be kept in a garage, driveway or on a piece of private land at all times.

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Breaking down some myths, they warn SORN’s are not transferable to the next owner when they buy a vehicle.

Despite misconceptions, SORN applications do not need to be made annually with applications lasting until the vehicle is re-taxed, sold or permanently exported.

After declaring a car as SORN, the registered keeper will get a refund for any remaining tax.

For drivers who wish to “unSORN” their cars, they will simply need to retax it and make sure the insurance is in place.

According to the RAC, driving a car which has been declared as off the road can result in a fine of up to £2,500.

The only time drivers can use a car which has been declared as off-the-road is if they are driving to a pre-booked MOT appointment.

DVLA Chief Executive, Julie Lennard said it takes drivers just a “matter of minutes” to tax their car properly ahead of a journey.

She said: “Myth-busting aims to help motorists understand what they need to do with a vehicle when it is declared SORN, including taxing it before using or keeping it on the road again.

“It’s really easy to check online if a vehicle is taxed.

“And motorists can even check by asking Amazon Alexa or Google Home. It takes just a matter of minutes to tax it.”

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