Thousands of taxi and private hire drivers across Ayrshire need to complete HM Revenue and Customs tax checks when renewing their operating licence, from today.

The checks have been introduced to 'promote tax compliance' within the industry and make it fairer for the vast majority of drivers who already pay their taxes correctly.

Councils will administer the process in Scotland, which involves making sure drivers have completed their tax check before their licence applications can be considered.

The checks will also be required for those in Scotland renewing their licence to operate a booking office or a scrap metal site, plus those who are metal dealers.

Marc Gill, Director of Individuals and Small Business Compliance, HMRC, said: “While most taxi drivers in Scotland pay their taxes accurately and on time, we want to level the playing field and tackle the small minority who don’t.

“The hidden economy is estimated to cost the UK Government £2 billion in unpaid taxes, which deprives funds for the vital public services we all rely on.

“By linking tax compliance to licence renewal, the government hopes to discourage participation in the hidden economy and encourage drivers to fulfil their tax obligations.”

The checks were rolled out in England and Wales in April 2022, where more than 120,000 people have already successfully gone through the process.

When renewing their licence, drivers will need to use a Government Gateway account to complete the tax check on GOV.UK, which is quick, simple and straightforward.

After answering a few questions about their tax registration, HMRC will provide applicants with a tax check code.

This code must be given to the local council before they can proceed with the licence renewal application.