Construction Industry Scheme

What is the Construction Industry Scheme?

The Construction Industry Scheme (CIS) sets out the rules for how payments to subcontractors for construction work must be handled by contractors in the construction industry.

The scheme applies mainly to contractors and subcontractors in mainstream construction work, however businesses or organisations whose core activity isn’t construction but have a high annual spend on construction may also count as contractors and fall under the scheme.

Checking whether CIS applies to you

You can check whether CIS applies to your business and whether you count as a contractor, subcontractor (or both) under the scheme by reading the guidance below.

Deciding whether your work comes within CIS

Are you a contractor or subcontractor under CIS?

Getting started with CIS – contractors and subcontractors

What contractors need to do under CIS

As a contractor you have certain obligations under the scheme, including registering with the scheme, checking whether your subcontractors are registered with HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC), paying subcontractors and submitting monthly returns.

Read an overview of contractor obligations under CIS

What subcontractors need to do under CIS

If you are a subcontractor, you need to register with HMRC – as well as your main business name you can register up to one trading name. You must also keep HMRC informed of any changes to your business (including changes to the structure, address, business name, partners etc).

Read about CIS subcontractors’ obligations

Find out about using trading names as a subcontractor under CIS

CIS for larger businesses, public bodies and non-UK businesses

CIS for larger businesses

If you’re a larger contractor business you can choose to operate as a ‘multiple contractor’ under CIS. A multiple contractor is a contractor that has divided their business up into several sections, known as divisions, specifically for CIS purposes.

Find out about being a multiple contractor under CIS

CIS where construction isn’t your main activity

Even if construction isn’t your main activity, you’ll need to register with HMRC as a CIS contractor if you spend more than a certain amount each year on ‘construction operations’ covered by the scheme. For example this might include public bodies such as local authorities.

Find out whether your non-construction business falls within CIS

Find out how CIS affects public bodies and organisations

CIS for businesses based outside the UK

You may still need to register with CIS even if your business is based overseas – follow the link to find out more.

Find out what you need to do under CIS if your business is overseas

Making payments and getting paid under CIS

If you are a contractor under CIS you need to follow certain rules when you are paying your subcontractors. If you are a subcontractor it’s important that you register with HMRC and keep them informed of any changes to your business, to ensure that you are paid the correct amount.

Read about paying subcontractors under CIS

Find out about getting paid as a CIS subcontractor

Contractor monthly returns and record keeping under CIS

As a contractor under CIS you will need to make monthly returns each month. Doing this online is quick and easy. If you make any mistakes HMRC can help you sort them out.

Find out how to submit your CIS monthly returns

Find out how to use our CIS Online service

Find out how to correct any errors on your CIS returns

Read about late return penalties under CIS

Business changes you need to report under CIS

Whether you work as a contractor or subcontractor under CIS it’s important to let HMRC know if there have been any changes to your business since you first registered with them (including address changes, changes to the legal structure of your business, liquidation or business ceasing to trade for any other reason).

Find out about reporting subcontractor business changes to HMRC under CIS

Find out about reporting contractor business changes to HMRC under CIS

Getting more help with CIS

Every business is different. If you’ve got any questions about whether your business is affected by CIS you can call IAIS at any time.



IAIS is a network of professional firms and individuals providing Tax and Advisory services. We deliver all mainstream Accountancy and Taxation Services as well as Value Added services to clients throughout the United Kingdom and Internationally.