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It's worth noting that a lot of things we've taken for granted for years have subtly been eroded. we no longer operate to the spirit but to the letter of the law, and that combined with the 'ignorance is no defence' caveat, beloved of the prosecution council, means that you've got to have your wits about you more than ever.

If you think you have got a month's grace to tax your vehicle before you're in trouble, think again: you never did beyond an informal postal delay and now the DVLA will fine you if your vehicle is not currently taxed, even if you can tax it retrospectively to the beginning of the month and thereby ensure continuity of the service, and there would seem to be no right of appeal.

If you've got a bike that is SORN'd, and you are expecting to get a reminder off DVLA to tell you when it's expired, don't hold your breath: they're not obliged to do so, apparently, and of course you threw away the confirmation letter when it landed. Be aware that a failure to keep SORN up to date will lead to a fine equivalent to a year's roadtax, and there would seem to be no right of appeal.

And don't assume that the whizzy new computerised MOT system has your details correct. While you're in checking the status of your vehicles - and I recommend you do it, and do it today - you'd be advised to check the MoT status using the site hooked into the central database used by DVLA and the police. If it's wrong, you will be unable to tax your vehicle on-line so go to your original test station with the certificate, they will resend the data and that will bring it up to date. I daren't imagine what would happen in a roadside check situation - quite apart from giving the police legitimate grounds to stop you - but I suspect it would be messy.

To check everything you need to know, follow the links below:

To check the road tax/SORN status of a vehicle - you'll need reg number and manufacturer.

To check the MoT status and history - you will need your V5 or an MoT certificate

Sadly there isn't access to the existing centralised insurance database to make sure that's held accurately, but by the time we've finished with the buggers there will be.

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