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  • First Choice Accountancy

Commonly Asked Question: what is Construction Industry Scheme (CIS)?

How to apply and who should apply for CIS


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.

Who counts as a contractor or subcontractor

Register as a contractor if either:

  • you pay subcontractors for construction work

  • your business does not do construction work but you have spent more than £3 million on construction in the 12 months since you made your first payment

Register as a subcontractor if you do construction work for a contractor.

To register as a contractor you need to follow the process for setting up as a new employer at : Register as an employer - GOV.UK (

To register as a subcontractor you need to follow steps provided on GOV website at : What you must do as a Construction Industry Scheme (CIS) subcontractor: How to register - GOV.UK (

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

Work Covered by CIS

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- 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 building after construction work


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 is clearly not construction, for example, running a canteen or site facilities


GOV.UK. 2021. Construction Industry Scheme (CIS). [online] Available at: <> (Accessed 22 October 2021).

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