Do I need to pay road tax on my car?

If you no longer have use for your car - if you now work from home for example - or if your vehicle is currently not running etc, we look at if drivers will still need to pay for road tax as they're not using the vehicle. We'll also look at how to claim the money for unused tax back. Here's all you need to know about cars road tax.

Do I need road tax in lockdownFind out if you need road tax during as many of us work from home (Credit: FlikrTico 24)

Do I need to pay 'road tax' if I am not using the car?

Yes. If you are using your vehicle at all, or leaving it parked on public roads, you will need to pay road tax regardless of how often - if at all - you use the vehicle. 

If you are certain you won't be using the vehicle at any time, and you have private land to store it on – such as a driveway or garage – you can make a standard off-road notification, or SORN as most will know it. This will mean you no longer need to pay road tax.

You can make this declaration online, by post, or phone, after which you'll receive a refund for the remaining unused period of tax. Or, if you pay monthly, money will not be taken out for the next full month.

Once you have declared your vehicle as SORN, you will no longer be legally obliged to have it insured, so you could also cancel/not renew your policy. However, you will not be covered if the vehicle is damaged or stolen and cancellation fees may be high.

Cars stored on public roads or car parks will need to be taxed and insured at all times.

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How to SORN your and not pay road tax

Here's what you'll need to declare your vehicle as SORN and who you will need to contact.

Online: To declare you car SORN online, you will need it to be registered in your name at the correct address. You'll also require the 11-digit reference number found on the V5C logbook. You can also use the 16-digit code from your road tax renewal letter. You can SORN the vehicle immediately, or set for the first day of the following month – which makes most sense as you'll only get refunds for fully unused moths.

Declare online here: Head to this site to declare your vehicle as SORN

By phone: To put your vehicle on a SORN by phone, you'll need to call 03000 123 4321, with the same information required to do it online (see above). The number operates 24-hours.

By post: Prefer to contact the DVLA by post, download the V890 form here

If the car is not registered in your name: If this is the case, you can apply by post, and fill in the relevant part of the V5C logbook. If you haven't got this, you can request on by filling out a V62 application form – which can be downloaded here

Getting a new V5C logbook will cost £25.

Do I need to apply for the road tax refund after putting my car on a SORN?

No. You should automatically receive a cheque for any fully unused months within six weeks.

Do I need to contact my bank to stop a DVLA standing order?

The payments should stop automatically, but keep an eye on your balance to make sure they have. Contact the DVLA for a refund if they don't.

Do I need to renew my SORN every year?

No. The SORN will last until you decide to get the car taxed again.

Author: Pete Barden:

Twitter: @pete_barden

Pete Barden is a qualified journalist who has written and produced for publications including The Sun (, New Statesman Media Group, Whatcar? ( Stuff Magazine (, Fastcar Magazine (, Maxim Magazine and UK broadcast stations within the Heart network (Formerly GCAP). Pete specialises in motoring and travel content, along with news and production roles. You can find out more about Pete Barden on LinkedIn.

Read all articles by Pete Barden