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Everything you need to know so you can deal with HMRC compliance and contractor issues like a pro.


How does the CIS scheme work?

The Construction Industry Scheme, or CIS, is a statutory tax regime that all construction enterprises must follow to avoid penalties. Contractors utilise the Scheme to withhold money from subcontractor payments and pay HMRC and Customs. Tax and NI contributions are considered advance payments.

How do CIS sub-contractors get paid?

The contractor will get an invoice from the subcontractor once the job is finished to the required standard. His contract stipulates that if a task takes several weeks, it will be paid under a “draw-down” basis. They may also be paid on a “day rate” basis, which means they are paid in arrears, usually weekly but possibly fortnightly or monthly.

Can I pay a sub-contractor without a UTR Number?

Yes – but they must be verified with HMRC first and will have to be paid under the higher rate of deduction – at 30%.

Do Limited companies pay CIS?

Yes, if they follow CIS rules. Incorporated or unincorporated working entities are subject to the same rules. The only exclusions are charities, charitable trusts, and school boards or principals.

What falls under the CIS scheme?

The scheme covers all construction work carried out in the UK, including jobs such as:

  • site preparation
  • alterations
  • dismantling
  • construction
  • repairs
  • decorating
  • demolition

The UK includes UK territorial waters up to the 12-mile limit.

Why must I register with the CIS?

All builders must register for the scheme. Contractors must verify subcontractors’ authenticity before paying them and report any payments to HMRC on a regular basis.

Who must register with the CIS?

CIS registration is not essential to work as a self-employed contractor in the construction industry, but if they do not register, contractors must deduct 30% of their subcontractors’ earnings instead of the customary 20%.

All subcontractors are entitled to a monthly payment deduction statement from their contractor and must complete an annual tax self-assessment.

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