Construction Industry Scheme (CIS)
The Construction Industry Scheme (CIS) is administered by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC). It regulates payments from contractors to subcontractors in the building industry.
Register as a CIS contractor
You must register as a CIS contractor with HMRC if you use subcontractors for construction work.
Register as a CIS subcontractor
You should register as a CIS subcontractor if you’re self-employed and agree to do construction work for a contractor.
Subcontractors can also be companies.
You must register as both if you’re a contractor and subcontractor.
Other people and organisations covered by CIS
Apart from builders, CIS can also cover:
- labour agencies and staff bureaux
- gangmasters (or gang leaders)
- property developers
You still have to register if you spend more than an average of £1 million a year on construction over a 3-year period, even if your organisation doesn’t do building work.
Organisations where this could apply include:
- housing associations or arm’s length management organisations (ALMOs)
- local authorities
- government departments
- other public bodies
Read the CIS guide for contractors and subcontractors for more information on who CIS applies to.
As a general rule, the Construction Industry Scheme (CIS) includes almost any work that is done:
- to a permanent building
- to a temporary structure (eg scaffolding)
- in civil engineering (eg bridges)
Some of the types of work covered by the scheme include jobs like:
- site preparation
- general construction – bricklaying, roofing and plastering
- alterations and extensions
- repairs and refurbishment
- dismantling work
Read the CIS guide for contractors and subcontractors for a full list of types of construction work included.
You don’t need to register for the Construction Industry Scheme (CIS) if you’re only doing certain types of work such as:
- architecture and surveying
- manufacturing things off-site (eg windows, blinds and shutters)
However, where the professional services also include project management the whole contract will come within CIS.
You must register even if only part of your work is covered byCIS.
Read the CIS guide for contractors and subcontractors for a full list of types of construction work excluded from CIS.
You don’t have to follow CIS rules as a contractor if your business doesn’t include building and construction and one of the following applies:
- you’re paying for construction work on property for your own business use and the property is not for sale or rent (only applies to contractors who spend more than £1 million a year on average)
- you’re paying for a construction contract worth less than £1,000 (excluding materials) – you need to get authorisation from HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) to exempt it
- the work is being paid for by a governing body or headteacher of a maintained school on behalf of the local education authority
- the work is being paid for by a charity or trust
You can only get permission to exempt payments under £1,000 if you’re a contractor spending more than £1 million a year on average. Call the CIS helpline to get permission.
Telephone: 0300 200 3210
8am to 8pm, Monday to Friday
8am to 4pm, Saturday
Find out about call charges
There are no exemptions for subcontractors, and private householders aren’t treated as CIS contractors.