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How to Register for CIS in the UK: A Step-by-Step Guide for Construction Firms

Published by Merisha Shrestha
Published Date: April 7, 2023
Categories: Payroll & CIS

The Construction Industry Scheme (CIS) is a government initiative in the UK aimed at regulating the payments made to contractors and subcontractors in the construction industry. Construction firms in the UK that are eligible to participate in the scheme are required to register with HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC).

This step-by-step guide provides instructions on how to register for CIS in the UK as a construction firm.

Steps for CIS Registration

Here is a detailed step-by-step process to register for Construction Industry Scheme in the UK:

1. Verify Eligibility

Before registering for CIS, you need to ensure that your business meets the eligibility criteria. CIS applies to businesses that work in the construction industry as either a contractor or a subcontractor.


If you pay subcontractors for construction work or have spent more than Β£3 million on construction in the 12 months since you made your first payment, you must register as a contractor.


If you do construction work for a contractor, you should register as a subcontractor.

Subcontractors are not required to register for CIS. If they are not registered, the payments they receive may be subject to higher deduction rates.

Depending on the registration status of the subcontractor, the deduction rates are as follows:

  • 20% standard rate for Registered Subcontractor
  • 30% higher rate for Non-Registered Subcontractor
  • 0% nil rate for Gross Payment Status Registered Subcontractor

Note:  It is important to note that if your business falls under both categories, you will need to register as both a contractor and a subcontractor.

2. Gather Required Information

Before starting the registration process, ensure you have the following information available:

  • Legal and trading name
  • Unique Taxpayer Reference (UTR)
  • National Insurance Number (for sole trader)
  • Company Registration Number (for limited company)
  • VAT Registration Number (if any)
  • Director’s National Insurance Number (for limited company)
  • Subcontractor Payment Initiation Date

3. Registration Method

The registration process for Construction Industry Scheme differs based on whether  you are a contractor or subcontractor.

  • Contractors

  • Subcontractors

Registering as a contractor for CIS requires you to register as an employer. The registration process can take up to 15 working days to obtain an employer PAYE reference number.

Additionally, you should keep in mind that you are not permitted to register more than two months in advance of the first payment to subcontractors.

By planning accordingly and registering in a timely manner, you can avoid potential delays or non-compliance penalties.


By following the steps outlined in this guide, you can successfully register for CIS and ensure that your business is compliant with UK tax laws.

Remember to provide accurate information and to wait for confirmation from HMRC before using the CIS system to manage payments to subcontractors.

Don't know where to start?

Explore our CIS Services. 

Merisha Shrestha
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