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Freelance builders lend the Treasury £1 billion – again

News and Views | 16th March 2015

Statistics from last year's tax returns compiled by the CIS Experts Division of Lloyd Dowson Chartered Accountants reveal the extent to which the construction industry’s self-employed sector helps to cashflow UK plc.

Over the past two years, Britain’s army of labour-only subbies has 'lent' HM Treasury over £2 billion due to the way tax is deducted and rebates are claimed by those who work under the Construction Industry Scheme.

Based on 1,074 tax returns filed by CIS Experts on behalf of freelance builders for 2013/14 tax year we can report the following:

  • 1,040 – or 97% – were entitled to a tax rebate
  • The average rebate was £1,692
  • 690 (64%) were self-employed for the full year while 384 (36%) earned part their income through being an employee or from other investments.

Relating these figures to the whole of the construction industry, based on the Office for National Statistics data reporting 752,519 individuals that worked either fully or partially as self-employed, CIS Experts calculate that the average total amount owed to freelance builders taxed under CIS is £1.077 billion.

Hudson Contract Chairman David Jackson comments: “Considering not everyone will put a claim in each year and some may never claim a tax rebate at all, this amount of £1.077 billion is just a starting point. It is realistic to think that as the construction industry continues to recover and grow, this benefit will continue to do the same.”