Private Hire Operator's Licence
A private hire operator's licence is required to enable a person to accept or invite bookings for private hire vehicles. Any premises at which the licence holder operates must be in the Winchester City Council district, and the address must be provided to the Council. If an operator does not have premises, all provision for inviting and the acceptance of bookings must be undertaken in the Winchester district and records must reflect this.
One operator can be licensed and employ/sub-contract an unlimited number of licensed vehicles. However, a licensed private hire driver cannot accept any bookings unless he either holds or works for a licensed private hire operator. An operator may sub-contract a booking to another licensed private hire vehicle operator if they are unable to fulfil that booking.
Members of the public have initial contact with the operator and make the contract with them, even if the operator does not provide the vehicle and/or the driver.
How to apply
Applicants are required to complete the online application form. You will need a credit/debit card to pay the application fee of £227. Once the application has been submitted, you will need to make an appointment to visit the City Offices to discuss your application with a Licensing Officer.
Applications can be made either by an individual or a registered company. All applicants will be required to provide identification to demonstrate their right to work in the UK, and in some cases a person’s status will be verified with the Home Office. When applying as a registered company, all officers of said company must provide identification to demonstrate their right to work in the UK.
All applicants must also obtain a basic Disclosure and Barring Service Check from GOV.UK. If the applicant is already a licensed driver with Winchester City Council, then they will already have an enhanced DBS certificate and do not need to reapply. We recommend that all applicants sign up to the DBS Update Service upon receipt of their certificate.
Before an operator's licence is granted the applicant must satisfy the Council that the address from which they intend to operate is suitable and, where applicable, satisfy any conditions that may be attached to the licence in order not to disturb the amenity of the area. A Certificate of Public Liability Insurance is required where the public have access to the premises i.e. waiting room etc. However, where no public access or waiting facilities are provided or if you wish to operate your own vehicle from home, this insurance is not necessary. The Public Liability must be up to £5 million. If an operator wishes to operate from a residential address, such as their home, they must ensure that any necessary planning permission has been obtained from the City Council allowing use of the building for this purpose.
All applicants for an operator licence must undertake a safeguarding training course with the Blue Lamp Trust, and provide the certificate to the Council. The virtual classroom-based safegaurding course must be undertaken; elearning courses will not be accepted. If the application is made by two or more applicants, all applicants must complete the safeguarding training.
Additional documentation required:
- Certificate of Public Liability Insurance (if applicable)
- Right to Work identification document(s)
- Basic Disclosure and Barring Service certificate(s)
- Safeguarding certificate(s)
- Evidence of a complaints procedure or policy, for dealing with any customer complaints
- A list of all vehicles which you will operate under your business, including their licence numbers
- A list of all staff members employed for the purposes of taking telephone calls/emails and making bookings
- Evidence of basic Disclosure and Barring Service certificates for all staff members employed for the purposes of taking telephone calls/emails and making bookings. These must be renewed every 3 years.
Applications will not be accepted without production of the above.
Once your application has been accepted and the fee has been paid, a licence will be issued.
If you have any difficulty with any of the forms or have any questions, please contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01962 848 188.
You can apply to renew your Private Hire Operators Licence for a period of 12 months or 5 years. Renewal applications can be made using the online application form. You will need a credit/debit card to pay the application fee of £227 (one year) or £514 (5 years).
We advise all operators to read the section on this webpage about Tax Conditionality prior to April 2022, as renewals after this time will require additional checks.
Renewal applications must be accompanied by the following documents:
- Basic Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) certificate (required every year)
- A list of all licensed Private Hire vehicles operated by you / your business
- Proof of Public Liability Insurance (if the public have access to your operating address)
- Basic Disclosure and Barring Service certificates for all staff members employed for the purposes of taking telephone calls/emails and making bookings (required every 3 years)
The government is putting in place new tax requirements for applications to certain licences. This is supported by a new digital service developed by HMRC. It helps people in the taxi and private hire industries complete a new tax check.
Most people are registered to pay tax and this is about ensuring everyone pays the tax they should, creating a level playing field for the compliant majority. HMRC are working with industry bodies to make this as straightforward as possible. The check should take a few minutes every few years and is simply to confirm that someone is appropriately registered for tax.
You will need to complete a tax check when you renew your licence as a:
- hackney carriage driver
- private hire driver
- private hire operator
About the tax check
You will be able to complete this tax check on GOV.UK, through your Government Gateway account. You will only need to answer a few questions to tell HMRC how you pay any tax that may be due on income you earn from your licensed trade. If you do not already have a Government Gateway account, you can sign up on GOV.UK.
The tax check should only take a few minutes. There is guidance on GOV.UK and anyone who needs extra support will be able to complete the tax check by phone through HMRC’s customer helpline: 0300 200 3300
When you have completed the tax check, you’ll get a code. You must provide this code on your renewal application form. The licensing authority cannot proceed with your licence application or renewal until the tax check is completed and they have received the code.
The licensing authority will only receive confirmation from HMRC that you have completed the tax check, they will not have access to information about your tax affairs.
How to complete your tax check
Complete your tax check online: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/complete-a-tax-check-for-a-taxi-private-hire-or-scrap-metal-licence
To carry out a tax check, you need a Government Gateway user ID and password. If you do not have a user ID, you can create one when you start the check.
You’ll also need to know:
- when you first got your licence
- the length of your most recent licence
- how you pay tax on the income you earn from your licensed trade
You will not be able to complete the tax check if the information you give about your tax affairs does not match HMRC’s records.
Your tax check code is valid for 120 days. If you licence is due to renewal in April 2022, you may wish to obtain your tax check code now.
Registering for tax
You may have to pay tax through Pay as You Earn (PAYE), Self Assessment and/or Corporation Tax, depending on your circumstances. If you should have been registered to pay tax and have not been, HMRC will work with you to get you back on the right track. It is your responsibility to get your tax right, but HMRC are there to help.
If you’re an employee: Pay As You Earn (PAYE)
Most employed people pay Income Tax through PAYE. This is the system employers use to take Income Tax and National Insurance contributions before they pay wages.
See more information on PAYE online: https://www.gov.uk/income-tax/how-you-pay-income-tax
If you’re self-employed: Self Assessment tax returns
If you’re self-employed you’ll pay Income Tax and National Insurance through Self Assessment. You’ll need to fill in a tax return every year.
You must send a tax return if, in the last tax year (6 April to 5 April), you were:
- self-employed as a ‘sole trader’ and your annual gross trading income was more than £1,000
- a partner in a business partnership
See more information on registering for Self Assessment online: https://www.gov.uk/register-for-self-assessment
If you operate through a company: Corporation Tax
Companies need to register for Corporation Tax when they start doing business or restart a dormant business.
See more information on Corporation Tax online: https://www.gov.uk/corporation-tax