Car tax changes can help petrol and diesel drivers save £2,700 a year using little-known method

Car tax reminder letter

Car tax costs were hiked in line with inflation in April

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Felix Reeves

By Felix Reeves


Published: 21/06/2024

- 14:51

Motorists can be hit with huge fines if they continue to drive without taxing their vehicle

Drivers could save thousands of pounds every year using a little-known car tax method that has been backed by experts.

Rates of Vehicle Excise Duty (VED) increased in line with inflation earlier this year, with many expecting a similar trend to happen next year.


With the ongoing cost of living crisis and the ever-fluctuating price of motoring, many will be looking for methods to save on their overall spending, including on car tax.

Motorists are required to have valid car tax every time they get on the road, or they could face a huge £1,000 fine or five times the amount of tax chargeable, depending on which is higher.

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An untaxed carDrivers can get a tax refund if they declare their vehicle SORN PA

The Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA)outlines that the untaxed vehicle could also be clamped and the registered owner may have to pay additional fees.

For drivers looking to save on their motoring costs, they could declare their vehicle SORN - Statutory Off Road Notification.

Drivers can inform the DVLA of their plans to keep their vehicle off the road by using the SORN measure, although this means motorists would not be able to use that vehicle.

Tim Alcock from LeaseCar.uk said: “Times are tough at the moment and a lot of people are making some difficult decisions when it comes to how to save money.

“Some are choosing not to run their cars and are opting for public transport instead. But many don’t realise they could end up with a fine even if their car does not leave the drive.

“Unless they tell DVLA and obtain a SORN notification the authorities will see the vehicle as untaxed and therefore they could be fined."

The highest car tax band for vehicles registered on or after April 1, 2017, is £2,745 for any vehicle that produces more than 255g of CO2 per kilometre.

For petrol and diesel cars registered between March 1, 2001, and March 31, 2017, which produce more than 255g of CO2 per kilometre will face a £735 annual fee.

If any of the most polluting vehicles were to be declared SORN, the registered keeper of the vehicle would save almost £3,000 every year that it is off the road.

Alcock continued, saying: “Receiving a penalty fine when you are actually trying to save cash would be a bitter pill to swallow so we want to make sure all motorists are fully informed of the legal requirements.

“And once you have an approved SORN application, the penalties for taking the car on the road untaxed are extensive. Make sure you abide by the law at all times.”

If a vehicle that has been declared SORN is driven on the roads, motorists can be hit with a £2,500 fine and penalty points on their licence.

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A wheel clampThe DVLA can clamp and seize untaxed vehicles PA

Similarly, drivers who let their VED expire and do not SORN their vehicle face fines of around £80.

According to Alcock, a SORN is required if someone is breaking a car to sell the parts, while motorists who buy a vehicle that has been declared SORN will have to make a new claim under the new owner's name.

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