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Everything you need to know and do to register for CIS

What Construction Industry Scheme (CIS) contractors need to do

How to register

First, you need to register as a contractor. This must be done prior to starting any construction and can be done through the government’s website.

Once you’ve completed that process, HMRC will send you a letter with the information you need to begin work as a CIS contractor.

Engaging subcontractors

As a contractor you need to confirm each subcontractor’s employment status. This is determined by the service they will be providing, so you need to fully understand the work to be undertaken and the terms of engagement. 

Verify subcontractors

You will need to verify each subcontractor with HMRC before you can start paying them.

HMRC will then confirm if the subcontractor is registered with CIS and the rate of deduction you need to use.

Any subcontractor that you’ve used in the current or last two tax years must also be verified if you haven’t included them in a CIS return.

How do I check a subcontractor's employment status?

You can use HMRC’s online Employee Status Indicator to check a status for tax purposes.  However be aware this tool is only an indication and is not definite. If HMRC rule the status is wrong you cannot use this in your defence.

You can check out your potentially liability for getting it wrong here.

How do I verify a subcontractor?

Subcontractors can be verified through:

  • The free online CIS service from HMRC
  • Commercial CIS software

Make sure you have your:

  • Unique Taxpayer Reference (UTR)
  • HMRC accounts office reference number
  • HMRC employer reference

You’ll also need your subcontractor’s:

  • Legal business name or the trading name they gave when registering with CIS
  • UTR
  • National Insurance number but only if they’re a sole trader
  • Company registration number but only if they’re a limited company

If you have several subcontractors to verify at once, this can be done using the government’s Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) system.

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