Under the Construction Industry Scheme (CIS), contractors deduct money from a subcontractor’s payments and pass it to HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC). The deductions count as advance payments towards the subcontractor’s tax and National Insurance. Contractors must register for the scheme. Subcontractors do not have to register, but deductions are taken from their payments at a higher rate if they’re not registered.

Work covered by CIS

CIS covers most construction work to:

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

To CIS, construction work includes:

  • preparing the site - for example, 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

Exceptions

You do not 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 not construction - for example, running a canteen or site facilities

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