The Construction Industry Scheme (CIS) is a tax scheme implemented by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) in the United Kingdom. It is designed to regulate tax deductions at source for construction-related work and ensure compliance within the industry. If you operate a business within the construction sector, understanding the CIS is essential to meet your tax obligations and avoid penalties. This comprehensive guide will take you through the key aspects of the CIS and provide you with the knowledge to navigate its requirements successfully.

  1. What is the Construction Industry Scheme (CIS)? The CIS is a tax scheme specific to the construction industry. It applies to contractors, subcontractors, and businesses involved in construction-related activities. The scheme regulates the way payments are made, tax deductions, and reporting requirements for those operating within the construction sector.
  2. Who does the CIS apply to? The CIS applies to businesses and individuals involved in construction work, including contractors, subcontractors, and self-employed workers within the construction industry. It also affects businesses that hire subcontractors for construction-related services.
  3. Understanding CIS Registration: As a contractor or subcontractor, you must register for the CIS with HMRC before you can start trading. Registration involves providing key details about your business and agreeing to comply with the scheme’s requirements. Once registered, you will receive a unique reference number that you must provide to other parties you engage within the construction industry.
  4. CIS Deductions: Under the CIS, contractors are required to deduct tax from payments made to subcontractors at source. The deductions are made to cover the subcontractor’s tax and National Insurance contributions. The rate of deductions depends on the subcontractor’s tax status and whether they are registered under the CIS. Contractors must provide subcontractors with payment and deduction statements.
  5. Verifying Subcontractors: Contractors have the responsibility to verify the tax status of subcontractors before making payments to them. This verification process ensures that the correct deductions are made. Contractors must check the validity of subcontractors’ unique tax reference numbers (UTR) and verify their registration status with HMRC.
  6. CIS Reporting and Record-Keeping: As a contractor or subcontractor under the CIS, you must keep accurate records of payments, deductions, and other relevant information. These records will be necessary for reporting purposes, including filing monthly CIS returns with HMRC. The CIS returns provide details of payments made to subcontractors and deductions made.
  7. Compliance and Penalties: Compliance with the CIS is crucial to avoid penalties and maintain good standing with HMRC. Failure to register, make correct deductions, or submit accurate CIS returns can result in financial penalties. It is essential to stay updated on CIS regulations, keep accurate records, and meet reporting deadlines to ensure compliance.
  8. Seeking Professional Advice: Navigating the complexities of the CIS can be challenging, especially for businesses new to the construction industry. Consider seeking professional advice from accountants or tax specialists with expertise in the CIS. They can provide guidance on registration, deductions, reporting, and compliance to ensure your business operates smoothly within the scheme.

By understanding the Construction Industry Scheme (CIS) and adhering to its requirements, you can ensure compliance with HMRC and avoid potential penalties. Stay up to date with the latest CIS regulations, seek professional advice when needed, and maintain accurate records to navigate the CIS successfully and focus on growing your construction business.


✨Shaking up the accounting profession ✨Business coach ✨Book Author ✨ Multi business-owning mom & wife.

I love to make business fun & have a passion for teaching my clients how to build a life they love while making an income they deserve!

Madeleine Salariu