What Is CIS, And How Do I Manage It?

Trade businesses, especially in the UK, face differing tax laws that must be conformed to. For those who work in construction, one of these will be the Construction Industry Scheme (CIS). Comprehending CIS and implementing effective management strategies for it will be essential in your trade. Let's look at what this implies, providing you with the practical tips and knowledge needed for seamless CIS management within your business.

Understanding CIS

CIS, or the Construction Industry Scheme, is a tax law governing subcontractor payments for the construction industry within the UK. This orders contractors to deduct CIS from their calculations when paying subcontractor invoices. The process applies to all construction and field trade work with contractors and subcontractors, be that sole traders/self-employed individuals, companies, or partnerships. It is important to note that any construction trade business spending over £1 million annually is regarded as a contractor.

Managing CIS Processes

Registration & Verification

The first step is to register yourself and your subcontractors under CIS with HMRC. As the contractor, you will be responsible for verifying your subcontractor's CIS status, which must be completed before making their invoice payments.

Deductions & Payments

When making subcontractor payments, contractors will need to deduct CIS from the total amount. This deduction will be at a specified rate determined by the verification process at the registration stage. The deductions from subcontractor payments will include personal expenses as well as labour costs; however, they exclude the costs of materials and VAT.


Contractors are required to pay CIS invoices to HMRC on a monthly basis, followed by sending monthly statements to subcontractors detailing these CIS deductions and submitting monthly returns to HMRC. Please be aware that failing to make a return or returning late can result in heavy penalties, which build up rapidly.

CIS Software

To streamline your CIS management and payment processes, invest in CIS software. With features including automated calculations and efficient record-keeping bespoke to your trade business, you really can't go wrong!

Regulation Updates

Having processes in place to consistently and regularly comply with CIS regulations and updates issued by HMRC will be essential. You can do this through CIS software and seeking advice from professional sources.

Team Training

For the productive and seamless running of your business day-to-day, ensure your team is trained to follow the best practices for CIS management and compliance. This allows for greater peace of mind and minimises future errors.

Reliable Communication

Open communication about CIS protocols and potential implications is essential for contractors and subcontractors. You should prioritise educating the right people on their responsibilities and ensure clear communication channels are put in place for continued success.

Safety & Compliance

In order to prevent accidents, minimise potential risks, and ensure regulatory obedience, prioritise effective safety measures and put practical compliance protocols in place for your business and your subcontractors.


If you operate elements of your trade business through a construction trade management software for streamlined processes and operational efficiency, many CIS management functionalities can be integrated with this.

Professional Support

If CIS management and adhering to HMRC regulations is something you find daunting, consider collaborating with tax professionals or consultants who specialise in this. Doing so will provide you with greater insights and ensure you minimise risks and remain compliant.

To conclude, CIS management enables trade businesses to thrive while fostering sustainable growth and success. Understanding the fundamentals of CIS, implementing effective management strategies, and leveraging technology solutions for concise and compliant CIS management will be indispensable for trade businesses operating within the UK construction industry.

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