Should I SORN my car during the coronavirus lockdown and how do I do this?

If you're not using your car at the moment, a Statutory Off Road Notice will allow you to save money on tax. But a What Car? reader has questions...

Ford Focus ST long term

While the coronavirus is active and restrictions are in place, I have decided to make a Statutory Off Road Notice (SORN) declaration for our main vehicle, a 2019 Audi Q5, and to keep it off the road. 

The vehicle cost more than £40,000 and I pay for my car tax up front, including the additional £310 premium for more expensive cars.

How much car tax will I get back, and will the additional fee be taken into account when the DVLA gives me a refund, or will it be based on the basic £145 fee?

Audi Q5 TFSIe

I have another hypothetical question: if I decided to keep the vehicle on a SORN notice until it was six years old, would I then only have to pay the base Vehicle Excise Duty rate each year for it, or would the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Authority (DVLA) demand that I also pay the premium vehicle charge when I put it back on the road?

 Jason Spencer

What Car? says…

If you are not using your car for a few months or more during the coronavirus pandemic, and can keep the car off public roads, it is a good idea to make a SORN declaration for it and get a refund of the money you’ve paid out. 

However, if you can’t keep the car off public roads, and are likely to be using it over the next month, you will still need to keep it taxed. And, if you do make a SORN notice, you’ll need to re-tax it when you want to start driving it again. 

It’s easy to make a SORN declaration online by going to the following page on the government's website:

To do it with immediate effect all you need is the 11-digit number on your vehicle log book (V5C). 

The DVLA has confirmed that the refund of VED when a car is registered as SORN is for all remaining complete unused months, and that the refund includes the relevant proportion of the additional rate of tax for vehicles with a list price of more than £40,000.

If you did decide to keep your car off public roads until it was six years old, you would not be liable for any back-payments of the premium vehicle fee.

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