SORN - a case study
Just how does the SORN process work and when you get a letter from the DVLA confirming your notice, and what does it look like? The V8 Registrar, Victor Smith (Harvest Gold 1089), received his Form V956 acknowledgment from DVLA which raised a few questions - here are the replies from a helpful DVLA! (Feb 04)
So what does the DVLA acknowledgment of a SORN look like?
DVLA acknowledgment of a SORN on Form V956
The reply confirms that the vehicle record for your V8 at DVLA has been changed to show the notice (your Statutory Off Road Notification) has been received and the date upon which the notice began. The SORN lasts for 12 months. DVLA says "we will send you a reminder as long as you are still the registered keeper of the vehicle and there have been no other changes". The letter then goes on to warn you unconditionally " not to use your vehicle or keep it on a public road while the SORN is in force . If you do, you could be fined up to £5,000 " .
So how can you get your V8 to an MOT test station if you cannot use your vehicle on the roads while the SORN is in force?
Well on examining this DVLA letter (Form V956) with its unconditional "hell or high water" warnings, I began to think how on earth would I ever renew my road tax if I could not take the V8 on the road to a MOT testing station first?
So I sent the following questions to DVLA by email on 22nd January 2004.
Thank you for your letter of 15th January 2004 confirming my SORN for PVJ 414 M is valid for 12 months from 2nd January 2004.
I have a couple of questions for you on the SORN procedure and requirements based on my reading of your letter. I anticipate your reply will be of considerable interest to my fellow members of the V8 Register who own an MGBV8. As the MGBV8 is a classic car, many of our members only have their MGBV8s on the road for part of the year so find themselves involved in the SORN procedure and now your latest announcement.
I note the statement in your letter to me of 15th January 2004 confirming my SORN which states "Do not use your vehicle or keep it on the a
public road while the SORN is in force. If you do, you could be fined up to £5,000." That statement is clearly unconditional so unless there is some relief by way of a waiver or express condition or provision relating to the terms of that SORN confirmation which would enable a registered keeper to get a vehicle subject to a current SORN to an MOT testing station, I regret I cannot see how the registered keeper would be permitted to drive or tow that car on a public road for the purpose of having an MOT test on that vehicle as a precondition of re-taxing the vehicle. I should be very pleased if you would clarify the position and in particular let me have your reply to the following questions.
Q1. Getting a SORN vehicle to an MOT testing station. Can the registered keeper of a vehicle for which a SORN has been sent to DVLA, drive that vehicle untaxed and whilst the SORN still applies to an MOT testing station at which the registered keeper has a prior appointment for that vehicle to be tested?
Q2. In what form is the reminder sent by DVLA to the registered keeper at the end of the SORN period? For example does the reminder come as a Form V11 reminder (in the style of reminder one would get at the expiry of a tax period) which provides sections with the convenient option to renew the vehicle licence for a further period or submit a SORN? Alternatively would the registered keeper have to go to the local Post Office or DVLA local office or go online to get a particular form to renew the SORN?
I should mention that I am seeking these clarifications for publication on the V8 Register website for which I am the webmaster. This website is for enthusiasts with MGBGTV8, MGBV8 Conversions and MG RV8 models. The new SORN provisions announced earlier this month are a considerable concern for our members, many of whom use their cars on a seasonal basis and consequently tax them for only part of the year. There are several webpages on the SORN requirements and procedures which you may care to examine.
Should you find any inaccuracies in the information set out on either of those webpages, I would very much welcome any comments or corrections you can provide so I am able to make appropriate changes to the V8 Website for the benefit of our members.
I await your reply and clarifications.