CIS Returns

CIS Returns

If you work in the construction industry, you will know that there are specific rules and regulations which apply. This is no different when it comes to the financial side of things, however our team have years of experience in dealing with this and are here to help.

Much more information can be found on the government website, however the key return for this industry relates to the Construction Industry Scheme, known as CIS.

Specifically, this scheme affects payments from contractors to subcontractors, with some of the payment being deducted and paid to HMRC as an advance in lieu of the subcontractor’s tax and National Insurance.

All contractors must be registered with the CIS, however subcontractors have a choice whether to register or not. The amount of money which will be deducted from the subcontractor’s payments will be higher if the subcontractor is not registered.

So how do you know whether you should be considered part of the construction industry or not? We’ve pulled together some basic guidelines below, to help you identify whether you should register as a contractor or subcontractor.

You should register as a contractor if either:

– you pay subcontractors for construction work; or
– your business doesn’t do construction work, but you spend an average of more than £1 million a year on construction in any 3-year period

You can choose to register as a subcontractor if you do construction work for a contractor.

You must register as both if you fall under both categories.

CIS covers most construction work to:

– a permanent or temporary building or structure
– civil engineering work like roads and bridges

For the purpose of CIS, construction work includes:

– preparing the site, eg laying foundations and providing access works
– demolition and dismantling
– building work
– alterations, repairs and decorating
– installing systems for heating, lighting, power, water and ventilation
– cleaning the inside of buildings after construction work


You don’t have to register if you only do certain jobs, including:

– architecture and surveying
– scaffolding hire (with no labour)
– carpet fitting
– making materials used in construction including plant and machinery
– delivering materials
– work on construction sites that’s clearly not construction, eg running a canteen or site facilities

The CIS guide for contractors and subcontractors has more details on what is and isn’t covered by the scheme.

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