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Mastering CIS Compliance: Your Definitive Guide to Construction Industry Scheme (CIS)

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Mastering CIS Compliance: Your Definitive Guide to Construction Industry Scheme (CIS)

For businesses operating within the construction sector in the United Kingdom, understanding and adhering to CIS guidelines is essential. In this blog, we’ll delve into the core concepts of CIS, providing a comprehensive overview in line with UK accounting guidance.

What is the Construction Industry Scheme (CIS)?

The Construction Industry Scheme, commonly known as CIS, is a set of regulations introduced by HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) in the UK. Its primary objective is to regulate tax payments for subcontractors and contractors working within the construction industry. The scheme aims to tackle tax evasion, promote transparency, and ensure proper payment of taxes within the sector.

Key Features and Components

  1. Registration: Both contractors and subcontractors need to register with the HMRC to participate in the scheme. Contractors are responsible for verifying the registration status of their subcontractors before making payments.
  2. Payments: Contractors must deduct a percentage from payments made to subcontractors, which is then submitted to HMRC as advance tax payment. The deducted amount varies based on the subcontractor’s registration status and other factors.
  3. Verification: Contractors need to verify subcontractors’ registration status with HMRC before the start of any work. Failure to verify might lead to deductions at a higher rate.
  4. Reporting: Contractors are required to submit monthly CIS returns to HMRC, detailing the payments made to subcontractors and the tax deducted. These reports help HMRC track transactions and ensure compliance.
  5. Penalties and Interest: Non-compliance with CIS regulations can lead to penalties and interest charges. Timely and accurate reporting is crucial to avoid such consequences.

Management in the construction industry - Designing Buildings

CIS Deduction Rates

CIS deduction rates vary based on the registration status of the subcontractor. As of my last knowledge update in September 2021, the rates are as follows:

  • Registered Subcontractors: Deduction rate of 20%
  • Unregistered Subcontractors: Deduction rate of 30%

Accounting Implications

From an accounting perspective, CIS has several implications:

  1. Deductions and Liabilities: Contractors must accurately account for the deductions made from subcontractor payments. These deductions are a liability until paid to HMRC.
  2. Cash Flow: CIS can impact cash flow for both contractors and subcontractors due to the advance deductions made on payments.
  3. Record Keeping: Detailed records of payments, deductions, and verification processes must be maintained to ensure accurate reporting and compliance.
  4. VAT: CIS doesn’t affect VAT calculations. VAT is calculated based on the total invoice amount before CIS deductions.


The Construction Industry Scheme serves as a cornerstone for fair taxation and financial transparency within the UK construction sector. Adhering to CIS guidelines is not only a legal requirement but also a commitment to maintaining the integrity of the industry. Contractors and subcontractors alike must familiarize themselves with CIS regulations, ensuring accurate reporting, timely payments, and compliance with UK accounting standards.

Remember, everyone’s situations are different so please don’t hesitate to contact our helpful team on 02392388003 or [book a discovery call].

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