Construction Industry Scheme (CIS)

The Construction Industry Scheme (CIS) is tax scheme introduced by HMRC to regulate payments made by contractors to subcontractors in the construction industry.
The main goal of the CIS is to improve tax compliance and reduce tax evasion within the construction sector.
Here are the key elements and functions of the CIS:

Who Is Involved?

  • Contractors: Businesses or individuals who pay subcontractors for construction work. This includes mainstream contractors (construction companies) and deemed contractors (non-construction businesses that spend a significant amount on construction work).
  • Subcontractors: Businesses or individuals who are paid by contractors for carrying out construction work.


Key Features of The CIS

  1. Registration:
  • Contractors and Subcontractors must register with HMRC for the CIS.
  • Subcontractors can register for gross payment status, allowing them to receive payments without any deductions if they meet the criteria.


  1. Deductions:
  • Contractors are required to make tax deductions from payments to Subcontractors.
  • The standard deduction rates are 20% for registered Subcontractors and 30% gor unregistered Subcontractors.
  • These deductions cover the Subcontractor’s Income Tax and National Insurance contributions.


  1. Monthly Returns:
  • Contractors must submit monthly returns to HMRC detailing the payments made to Subcontractors and the deductions taken.
  • The returns are due by the 19th of each month following the tax month to which they releate.


  1. Record-Keeping:
  • Contractors must keep detailed records of payments and deductions for at least three years.
  • Subcontractors should also keep record of their income and any deductions taken.


  1. Verification:
  • Contractors must verify Subcontractors with HMRC before making payments to determine the correct deduction rate.
  • This verification process helps HMRC to track and monitor the tax status of Subcontractors.

Exemptions and Scope

  • Not all construction work falls under the CIS. Certain types of work, such as professional services (e.g., architecture, surveying), are generally exempt.
  • The scheme applies to a wide range of construction activities including site preparation, demolition, repairs, and installation of systems like heating, lighting, and air conditioning.

Benefits of CIS

  • Helps ensure that the correct amount of tax is paid on construction work.
  • Reduces the risk of tax evasion in the construction industry.
  • Provides a structured process for Contractors and Subcontractors to manage tax deductions and payments.


  • Non-compliance with CIS requirements can result in penalties and interest charges from HMRC.
  • Both Contractors and Subcontractors must ensure they adhere to the regulations to avoid financial and legal repercussions.


The CIS is an essential framework within the UK construction industry, helping to ensure fair taxation and compliance with HMRC regulations.

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