If you are a contractor working in the construction industry you are likely to rely on the services of subcontractors – but what rules do you need to consider when paying them?

Contractors and other businesses who regularly use the services of subcontractors must keep track of their payments as the work of subcontractors applies to the Construction Industry Scheme (CIS).

CIS is a scheme governed by HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) that ensures that employers take account of tax on subcontractors’ pay.

The pay of subcontractors may need to be reduced to reflect this, but the reduction goes towards their income tax payments and National Insurance Contributions, so it is critical to get it right.

Are you a contractor?

A contractor is a business that pays subcontractors for construction work. Contractors could be building firms, Government departments, or any business.

A business is also a contractor if it has spent more than £3 million on construction within the past 12 months.

What are the penalties?

Non-compliance or submitting late reports can result in fines.

A report that is one day late can result in a £100 fine, while a delay of two months can lead to a fine of £200. If a report is 12 months late, the employer must pay £300 or five per cent of the CIS deductions on return, whichever is higher.

The penalty will be cancelled if the employer lets HMRC know that subcontractors were not paid in that particular month.

Record keeping

Under the Construction Industry Scheme (CIS), you must keep records of the following:

  • the gross amount of each payment invoiced by subcontractors, excluding VAT
  • any deductions you’ve made from subcontractor payments and the costs of materials the subcontractor invoiced you for, excluding VAT

You must keep these details for three years after the end of the tax year they are in as HMRC could ask to see your records at any time.

Therefore, we suggest running monthly bookkeeping checks to ensure your records are up-to-date and that you are complying with the CIS scheme.

What help is on offer

Payroll software can help to ease the burden of the process, with functions specifically available for complying with CIS.

This means that employers can save time and cut paperwork by sending automated statements to the subcontractor and a CIS report to HMRC.

Confused about subcontractors and related tax matters? If you need help, get in touch with our expert team today.

Posted in Blog.