The Scottish Board of Customs was established following the Act of Union of 1707. In 1722 this was replaced by a single Board of Customs (9 Geo.I c.21), but some commissioners continued to reside in Edinburgh for the transaction of Scottish business. In 1742 an independent Scottish Board of Customs was re-established but was again replaced in 1823 by a unified board for the United Kingdom (4 Geo.IV c.23). Certain powers were delegated to a subordinate board in Scotland which was formally abolished in 1833 (3 & 4 Will.IV. c.51).
The administration of excise in Scotland after 1707 was entrusted to Commissioners appointed in 1723. The administration of salt duties, however, was the responsibility of the Scottish Commissioners of Customs until 1798. In 1823 the administration of the excise throughout the United Kingdom was entrusted to a single board, certain powers being delegated to a subordinate board in Scotland (4 Geo. IV c. 23). The constitution of this subordinate board was modified in 1829 (10 Geo. IV c. 32) and it ceased to function in 1830. In 1849 the Board of Excise was amalgamated with the Board of Stamps and Taxes to form the Board of Commissioners of Inland Revenue. In 1909, (8 Edward VII c. 16) responsibility for excise duties was transferred from the Inland Revenue to the Board of Customs, which was re-named the Board of Customs and Excise.
The local work of the Boards of Customs and Excise was carried out by staff stationed in customs outports or excise districts. Although in many instances officials from both Boards were stationed in the same locations, the administrative structures of the two Boards were not identical. The Customs Board established outports which reported directly to the Board in either Edinburgh or London, and which in some cases had supervisory responsibility for subordinate ports or creeks. Excise was administered by local collections which were sub-divided into districts and divisions. Although the districts and divisions were subordinate to the collection, in many instances they also communicated directly with the Board in Edinburgh or London.
In addition to customs and excise work, local officers frequently maintained shipping registers and sea fishing boat registers on behalf of the Registrar-General of Seamen and Shipping.