I bought a new car yesterday. Private seller, no car dealers involved. The guy I bought it off was kind enough to drive it to my house. It's now parked on my drive (off the road).

I'm not planning on driving it until I sell my other car (I have someone coming to view this on sun, probably going to buy). There's one week left of this month.

So I'm thinking to save me some money I won't tax the car (or drive it) until the start of the next month.

Being as I haven't taxed the car do I need to send a SORN (Statutory Off Road Notification) to the DVLA (Driver & Vehicle Licensing Agency)? I haven't received the V5C yet.

I know with the old tax disk system, none of this would matter because the tax disc would cover the car but with the new system I don't know if this is checked automatically. When the DVLA get the V5C from the old owner will they notice a gap in the tax? Do they check this kind of thing?

  • 3
    You really should expand initialisms/acronyms the first time they are used.
    – JPhi1618
    Commented Jan 26, 2018 at 15:46
  • 12
    @GaneshSittampalam, I'm sure they are, but its an international site, and I like reading questions to learn about other countries.
    – JPhi1618
    Commented Jan 26, 2018 at 15:54
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    That doesn't seem to be a thing that's done very often on this site? I'm often baffled by the terminology of other countries tax systems, etc. That said, I'll update now.
    – user24734
    Commented Jan 26, 2018 at 16:06
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    @JPhi1618 if you don’t know what the abbreviations mean you aren’t going to be able to answer the question. It may be an I international site but it’s a UK based question
    – Stevetech
    Commented Jan 26, 2018 at 20:42
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    @Stevetech Even if we can't answer the question, we might be able to usefully vote on it and other folks' answers, if we can figure out what the question is asking.
    – 1006a
    Commented Jan 26, 2018 at 22:08

1 Answer 1


So I rang the DVLA in the end.

Basically, as soon as you buy a car you must either tax it or SORN (Statutory Off Road Notification) it. There is no grace period, etc. Wouldn't go into details if this is checked electronically or not but the answer was clear, you've got to tax it straight away. This applies if it is off the road too, though you can then issue a SORN instead of paying.

Tax is valid from the beginning of the month being taxed. So even though I taxed it in the last week of Jan the tax date starts on the 1st Jan. So the government gets paid twice for this month :(, Once by me, once by the previous owner.

For the SORN to be valid it must be off the road, i.e. on a private driveway. The SORN must be dated from the day you bought the car (the date on the V5C). Car tax is 100% non-transferable now (unlike tax disc that could be transferred).

If you don't have the V5C (yet) you can't complete a SORN online, so you have to print and post the paper SORN. You can fill in the paper version using the V5C/2 (the section the seller gives you when they sign over the car).

  • Funnily enough I was in a very similar position and ended up taxing my van for one round trip this month (to its MOT!) after taking over the legal ownership
    – Chris H
    Commented Jan 26, 2018 at 16:53
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    In the end I just taxed it. The SORN thing seemed like a pain for what boiled down to about £10
    – user24734
    Commented Jan 26, 2018 at 16:54
  • @ChrisH thought you're allowed to not be taxed when going to or from a pre-booked MOT? Commented Jan 26, 2018 at 21:52
  • @GaneshSittampalam, possibly. I had expected to use it more.
    – Chris H
    Commented Jan 26, 2018 at 22:16
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    Ministry of Transport, technically. It’s used to refer to the mandatory annual test of roadworthiness. Commented Jan 27, 2018 at 10:36

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