I declared my car SORN for lockdown. I now want to drive again. How do I unSORN it?

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Declaring a car SORN (Statutory Off-Road Notification) is a simple way to save money because you can stop paying tax on the car and don’t have to insure it for the road. But there’s a good chance you will have to unSORN it at some point. Here’s how you go about it.

How do you unSORN a car?

It’s simple: all you do is go to the Gov.uk website and apply to tax your car. As soon as you tax your car, it lifts the SORN automatically. You can then drive it again immediately, assuming you’ve got insurance in place.

To SORN a car is free

If you do a web search on SORNing a car you will doubtless come across some helpful websites saying they will do it on your behalf for a small fee. Declaring your car SORN from the government is free. It’s also very quick and easy.

One thing to remember if you do it is that you will only be refunded whole months of tax. To get your money’s worth from the tax you’ve already paid for, it’s best to declare your car SORN at the end of the month.

Can you drive a car on a SORN?

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You might think twice before driving the one on the left but drive either on a SORN and it could cost you

It’s illegal to drive a car on a SORN. With their Automatic Number Plate Recognition cameras it’s easy for police, the DVLA and Motor Insurance Bureau to see whether a car has been SORNed or not. And there are plenty of cameras out there waiting to enforce the law.

Driving a SORNed car attracts a hefty £2500 fine and a court appearance. The only time you can legally use a SORNed car on the road is going to and from a pre-booked MOT appointment.

If you are caught driving a car that isn’t taxed, an £80 fine will be dispatched. Pay this within two weeks and the authorities will halve it. If you fail to pay and the case goes to court, you could be fined up to £1000.

Why is this relevant?

After the government-imposed lockdown at the end of March 2020, a huge number of drivers declared their car SORN. This was to save on tax and insurance. A Freedom of Information request by This is Money revealed that 544,887 requests were made between 23 March and 19 April 2020. Over the same period 12 months previously, 252,820 SORN requests were made – fewer than half.

The government eased lockdown restrictions in mid-May 2020. Car owners can now drive an unlimited number of miles to beaches and beauty spots. A large number of drivers who SORNed their car will want to tax them so they can use them legally again.