construction industry scheme

How do my business register in the Construction Industry Scheme (CIS)?

Construction Industry Scheme (CIS) is a tax deduction scheme in the UK that applies to contractors and subcontractors in the construction industry. Its primary purpose is to ensure that tax is collected at source on construction-related payments of self employed tax. Thereby reducing the likelihood of tax evasion within the sector.


Contractors and subcontractors in the construction industry must register with HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) under the CIS scheme. Contractors are businesses that pay subcontractors for construction work, while subcontractors are those who provide construction services.


Before making payments to subcontractors, contractors must verify their subcontractors’ tax status with HMRC. This verification process helps determine the appropriate tax deduction rates.

Tax Deductions:

When a contractor makes a payment to a subcontractor, they are required to deduct a portion of the payment as tax. The deduction rates vary based on the subcontractor’s tax status and registration with HMRC. There are two main deduction rates:

• Standard Rate (20%): Applied to subcontractors who are registered with HMRC and have met their tax obligations.

• Higher Rate (30%): Applied to subcontractors who are either not registered with HMRC or have failed to provide the necessary information.


Contractors must submit monthly returns to HMRC, detailing the payments made to subcontractors and the tax deductions made. These returns are typically submitted online.


The tax deducted from subcontractor payments is held by the contractor and paid to HMRC on behalf of the subcontractor. Contractors are responsible for ensuring these payments are made on time.

Compliance and Penalties:

Both contractors and subcontractors are expected to comply with CIS regulations. Non-compliance can result in penalties, including fines and restrictions on participation in the scheme.

Record Keeping:

Contractors and subcontractors must maintain accurate records of all CIS-related transactions, including payments, CIS deductions, and verification records. These records are essential for compliance and may be subject to inspection by HMRC.

How do CIS refunds work?

Construction Industry Scheme (CIS), subcontractors who have had tax deducted from their payments by contractors. It can potentially claim refunds if the amount of tax deducted exceeds their tax liability. Here’s how CIS refunds work:

Eligibility: To be eligible for a CIS refund, subcontractors must meet certain criteria, including being registered under the CIS.  you Need to provide valid information to contractors. You will get  an actual tax liability that is lower than the tax deducted from their payments.

Tax Returns: Subcontractors need to file an annual Self employed tax return with HMRC. This tax return includes details of their income, expenses, and any CIS tax deducted by contractors throughout the tax year.

Refund or Payment

 Depending on the calculation, one of the following scenarios can occur:

  • Additional Tax Owed: If the tax deducted is less than the subcontractor’s actual tax liability. They will need to pay the remaining tax owed to HMRC.
  • Refund Due: If the tax deducted is more than the subcontractor’s actual tax liability. They are entitled to a CIS refund. HMRC will issue a refund for the excess tax deducted.
Self employed

Appeals: If a subcontractor disagrees with the refund calculation or faces any issues with the refund process. They have the right to appeal the decision and seek clarification from HMRC.

Need to file your CIS tax return?

The Construction Industry Scheme helps the UK government combat tax evasion within the construction sector. It ensures that taxes are collected promptly from self employed. It also helps subcontractors meet their tax obligations. The CIS simplifies the tax process for those involved in the construction industry. Contractors and subcontractors need to understand and adhere to CIS rules to avoid potential penalties and ensure compliance with tax laws.