The Construction Industry Scheme (CIS) applies to anyone who carries out construction work as a trade, in other words developers, contractors, building maintenance and repairs, decorating, property conversion, basically if you use sub-contractors to work on a building its probably within CIS. It does, however, exclude property investors (although this could change soon) and domestic householders.
Tax Aid have a good example of how it works
Rob is asked to undertake some repair work on Ben’s private house. He asks Wendy to help him with the electrical work. Wendy is working on a self-employed basis for this contract. Ben pays Rob without deduction of tax as Ben is a private householder. Rob then pays Wendy.
Rob should register under CIS as a contractor before making the payment to Wendy. Rob should ask Wendy for her UTR and check her CIS status with HMRC. He should then pay Wendy net of 20% tax or net of 30% tax depending on her status with HMRC (exceptionally, if Wendy is entitled to register with HMRC for gross payment, then HMRC would tell Rob that he can pay Wendy without deduction of tax; gross payment will only apply to larger businesses).
If HMRC advises Rob that Wendy is registered under CIS (but not for gross payment), then Rob will keep back 20% tax and pay this CIS tax across to HMRC on Wendy’s behalf.
If Rob failed to register as a contractor under the CIS scheme he could face very big penalties. These include a £3,000 fine for not keeping CIS records, and a £100 per month penalty per missed return (and returns are due monthly).
Failing to register for a number of years could lead to penalties in the tens of thousands of pounds. This can happen even when all the workers are registered as self-employed and have paid the tax due on their income.
In summary the penalties are:
The maximum penalty is currently £3,000 for failing to register then there are late filing penalties
|How late the return is||Penalty|
|1 day late||£100|
|2 months late||£200|
|6 months late||£300 or 5% of the CIS deductions on the return, whichever is higher|
|12 months late||£300 or 5% of the CIS deductions on the return, whichever is higher|
For returns later than this, you may be given an additional penalty of up to £3,000 or 100% of the CIS deductions on the return, whichever is higher.
There is no lower limit for CIS registration and the penalties can be harsh as demonstrated in the cases below
Brian Parkinson a gardner and lanscaper who used occasional subcontractors and got £31,500 in CIS Penalties!
The FTT heard evidence that little or no loss of tax resulted from this omission, as the amount of tax Parkinson ought to have deducted under the CIS was put at £837.90. [Brian Parkinson and the Commissioners for Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customs TC04526; Appeal number: TC/2013/00224].
This comprised £6,000 (5 x the £1,200 maximum) charged under the Taxes Management Act 1970 (TMA 1970), s98A(2)(a) and also month 13 penalties of £25,500 charged under TMA 1970, s. 98A(2)(b). – See more at: https://www.accountancylive.com/partial-win-gardener-over-%E2%80%98excessive%E2%80%99-cis-penalties#sthash.zJA59Gjv.AfCNNGRJ.dpuf
INCOME TAX – subcontractors – appellant company contracted with a third party provider to supply “operatives” – third party provider “net” for CIS purposes – company’s failure to make CIS returns – fixed monthly penalties of £28,500 – Month 13 penalties of £56,500 – whether reasonable excuse – held, no – whether disproportionate as a breach of A1P1 – Tribunal’s jurisdiction and interaction with mitigation – Bosher followed – fixed penalties upheld – Month 13 penalties set aside as excessive – appeal allowed in part
If you work in construction make sure you register and comply with CIS!