CIS tax refunds

From groundworkers and joiners to builders and plumbers, UK construction workers in the Construction Industry Scheme (CIS) can claim tax rebates. It’s important to do it, too. An average CIS tax rebate claim with RIFT comes to £2,245. We can even take care of filing your CIS Self Assessment tax returns as well, with no hidden charges or hourly rates and all aftercare included.

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''RIFT helped me after my previous accountants messed up''

''RIFT were fantastic, especially after the last people who were doing it for me ended up getting me fined £600 because they weren’t sending off my information when they said they were, lost my documents and HMRC classed it as my fault. RIFT helped me right out.'' Scott Whitelock, self-employed contractor

Why use RIFT Refunds

You will benefit from

RIFT guarantee

If HMRC wants your refund back, we cover it.

No hidden costs

It costs nothing to find out if you have a claim.

Outstanding service

Rated by Institute of Customer Service.

All aftercare included

Free tax advice throughout the year.

RIFT Guarantee

Our guarantee means you'll never lose a penny

When you claim your construction tax rebate with RIFT, our unique RIFT Guarantee means you never have to worry about the taxman reclaiming any of your money. So long as you give us full and accurate information, if HMRC disagrees with the amount we’ve claimed and asks for the money back, we’ll pay it. It won’t cost you a penny.

RIFT Guarantee

CIS Tax Back

Your £2,245 tax refund is waiting - so why are you?

RIFT Tax Refunds do all the hard work, you enjoy the rewards!

  • 2/3rds of tradespeople are missing out
  • £300 million goes unclaimed each year
  • RIFT have helped aroun 60,000 tradespeople get back what they're owed.

RIFT is the UK's leading expert in builder's expenses - if you've got a whole vanload of out-of-pocket expenses just to do your job, let us put the cash back in your hands where it belongs.

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Income support

The Self-Employment Income Support

The Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) is designed to help self-employed people get through the COVID-19 crisis. With the 4th round of SEISS grants, the rules on who qualifies were loosened up slightly. You should be okay to claim if:

  • You filed a Self Assessment tax return for 2019-20 by the 2nd of March 2021.
  • Over half of your earnings come from self-employment.
  • You’ve been making under £50,000 a year on average over the last 3 years.
  • Your business has suffered significantly as a result of COVID-19.

The 4th SEISS grant pays out 80% of your average profits over 3 months, capped at £7,500, worked out using your last 3 years of profits. If you became self-employed more recently than that, only your time in self-employment will be used to make the calculations.

A final SEISS grant is coming later in the 2021, to be claimed from around the end of July. Only people who’ve seen a 30% drop in their average turnover will get the full 80% pay-out (capped at £7,500) this time. If your turnover’s dropped by less, you’ll get a 30% grant level instead, capped at £2,850.

If you’re eligible for a SEISS grant, you should be contacted by HMRC with instructions and a personal claim date. See our FAQ here for more about the scheme.

COVID-19 Support

Can I still claim a CIS refund if I applied for a government loan scheme?

Yes you can! The Self Assessment system is all about settling up fairly with the taxman. Any money you received from The Self Employment Income Support Scheme will be treated as taxable income on your Self-Assessment. Whether or not you get a government loan to see you through the COVID-19 outbreak, you’re still owed the rules covering CIS tax refunds are the same as before. Paying tax under the Construction Industry Scheme can mean you’re not getting the full benefit of your tax-free Personal Allowance so you should always make your claim.

Covid-19 Support

CIS Tax Rebates

Information you need for a CIS tax refund

It really doesn’t take a lot of paperwork to claim a CIS tax rebate. All we need are:

A record of your work expenses, including things like the sites you’ve worked at, the miles you’ve travelled and any tools or equipment you’ve needed to buy. If you don’t have every last detail to hand, no problem. We can almost certainly help you fill in the gaps.

CIS statements. These monthly statements from your contractors will show how much you earned and what tax was taken out. You might know them as wage slips or vouchers.

If you don’t already have a Personal Tax Account set up on the HMRC website, we’ll help you get started there, too. It costs nothing to do and means you can keep all the information needed for your claim in one place.

Read more about what you need here, or give us a shout at RIFT so we can take you through it. 

Start my claim Tax Calculator

CIS Tax Rebates

What costs can my CIS tax rebate cover?

A CIS tax refund can puts cash back in your pocket whenever you’ve spent your own money just to do your job. Usually, it does this by bringing down the amount of your income that you’re being taxed on. These costs can include:

  • Travel costs, being either mileage expenses using your own vehicle or through use of public transport.
  • Meals while you’re working or on the road.
  • Accommodation if you need to stop overnight while travelling.
  • Parking fees and tolls you have to pay yourself.
  • Upkeep and replacement of any essential tools or protective equipment.
  • Public liability insurance and fees to professional bodies, where they’re needed for your work.
  • Home office bills like phone use, postage and stationery.

When RIFT’s experts look into your claim, we’ll pinpoint all the expenses that qualify for tax relief. That means you’ll never get tripped up by a confusing rule or find yourself claiming too little (or worse, too much. HMRC enquiries are never fun).

Sadly, there some unscrupulous tax refund advisers out there taking advantage of CIS workers. Check our blog on how to spot a CIS Refund Scam to keep yourself, and your cash, safe from the scam artists.

Start my claim Tax Calculator

Mileage Relief

Use RIFT to claim your Mileage Tax Relief

We know that construction workers like you can clock up a huge amount of miles travelled during the working year so it's important you don't miss out on the tax you could be owed on it. Use our mileage tax relief calculator for an instant estimate of how much your tax rebate from HMRC could be worth. Click on the button below to get started.

Mileage Calculator

UTR Number

What's a UTR number?

A Unique Taxpayer Reference (UTR) number is a 10 digit code that identifies either you or your company to the taxman.

If you work in trades and need a UTR number, or if you’ve lost yours, RIFT can help. Click the button below to find out more.

UTR Number help

Specialist Team

CIS tax return and tax refund team

Unlike traditional accountants, our Construction Industry Scheme experts are specialists in CIS tax rebate claims. That in-depth expertise means they can get the very best from your claim, while never missing a deadline or an opportunity. They'll even file your Self Assessment CIS tax returns as part of the service.

If you're just starting up in CIS work or switching over from PAYE, we'll get you set up simply and with no stress. If you’ve got any niggling HMRC hassles to sort out, we’ll handle them. In fact, as your official “agent” with HMRC, we can take on all the hassles of dealing with the taxman for you.

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Specialist Team

Meet our Construction Reps

Our Reps cover over 3,000 miles a month travelling all over England, Scotland and Wales to help construction workers like you claim tax back. They can meet you whenever and wherever suits - at home, at work or even in the pub!

Meet your local Rep

CIS Tax Refunds

Construction CIS tax refunds done right

RIFT has put tax rebate cash back in the pockets of tens of thousands of CIS workers, with an average yearly refund of over £2,245. We've been in the business since 1999 and pride ourselves on being the UK's leading experts in tax refunds. 100% of our construction CIS customers say they would definitely recommend us to their friends and family, so rest assured you're in safe hands with RIFT.

Start my claim Tax Calculator

How long does a refund take?

How long does a CIS tax refund take?

CIS tax rebates generally take about 4-10 weeks for HMRC to process. RIFT’s CIS refund service includes handling your Self Assessment CIS tax return and full aftercare throughout the year, with no hidden fees. With RIFT, you get the very best from your claim, as fast as possible and with no expensive hourly rates to cough up. One simple fee takes care of everything.

HMRC’s not known for its blistering speed, but there are a few things you can do to keep the wheels turning on your claim:

  • Get the 64-8 form we send you sorted out as soon as possible. We need it to talk to the taxman for you.
  • Use our calendar of key days to steer clear of HMRC's busiest periods.

RIFT’s expert teams will make sure there's no hold-up at HMRC. That means no endless waits on HMRC helplines and no dangerous mistakes creeping into your claim. We'll even chase up old employers if they're dragging their feet in sending the information we need. Once you’re happy with the amount we’ve calculated for your rebate, we’ll chase up HMRC until it’s paid out in full. Meanwhile, we take expert care of you all year round, and we’re never more than an email or phone call away. As always, everything's covered by our RIFT Guarantee. As long as you've given us complete and accurate information, your rebate is protected.

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CIS Tax Refunds

Do most CIS workers get their full tax rebates?

When you file your own Self Assessment tax returns, it's easy to miss out on CIS claims or make costly mistakes. Under the CIS scheme, your employer takes tax directly from your pay before you get it. This almost always means you're instantly losing 20% to the taxman. As a result, you’ll probably find you’ve been overcharged by HMRC when you file your Self Assessment tax return.

It takes specialist understanding to claim tax back for CIS construction workers. Every year, far too many people are still shelling out tax they don't owe. In the worst-case scenario, they don’t get any CIS tax rebate at all. Even if they do, it’s often nowhere near as much as they deserve.

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CIS Tax Rebates and Tax Returns

Does my CIS tax refund include my self assessment tax return?

Yes! All self-employed people, including CIS workers, have to complete a yearly Self Assessment return.  The tax year runs until on 5th April, then you've got until the following 31st of January to complete and file your tax return.

With RIFT, filing and completing your CIS tax return is all part of our tax rebate service. Armed with a list of your workplaces for the year and a few more details, we'll work out the cost of your travel and what you’re owed for it. Next, we'll add any other essential expenses you’ve had and sort out your paperwork.

We'll send the forms to HMRC, handle any questions on your behalf and keep chasing the taxman until your rebate’s paid. 95% of our CIS customers get a tax refund, with an average value of over £2,245 per year.

Tax Return Quote Tax Calculator

CIS Tax Advice

What are the penalties for late CIS filing?

The taxman really doesn’t like waiting. Miss the filing or payment deadline by a single day and you'll get an immediate £100 penalty. At 2 months late, that fine doubles. At 6 and 12 months late, it reaches £300 (or 5% of the CIS deductions on the return, if that's higher). Any longer and you might face an additional penalty of £3,000, or 100% of the CIS deductions on the return.

Of course, with RIFT on your team, you’ve got nothing to worry about. We’ll keep you in the taxman's good books and make sure you never miss out on your CIS tax claims - even the ones you didn’t know you qualified for!

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Tax returns

Self assessment tax returns done right with RIFT

What’s a CIS tax return and how much tax do I owe?  These are questions we hear a lot at RIFT, and there are actually a few ways to work out how much tax you should be paying. If you're paid via PAYE, then tax will be taken from your salary by your employer using your tax code.  If you’ve got other money coming in, though, then things get more complicated. You might find yourself filing Self Assessment tax returns, which can be tricky to get right and dangerous to get wrong.

Self-employed people need to be registered for the Self Assessment system as soon as possible after they start trading. There’s a deadline of the 5th of October in the year your self-employment starts, and missing it can mean stacking up HMRC penalties. RIFT will always make sure your Self Assessment tax returns are spotless and submitted on time.

Tax return quote

Refer a Friend

Extra cash for you and your mates

Help your mates get their tax refund and get extra cash in your own pocket! 

At RIFT, we love it when happy clients tell their friends about us. We love it so much that we’re rewarding you for doing it!

We'll give you £50 for every friend you refer (T&Cs apply) that claims with us, plus we'll give you a £150 bonus when 5 people claim with us.

Simply tell us about your friend using our Refer a Friend form and we’ll get in touch to let them know you think they might have a claim.

Refer Your Friends

Registering for CIS

How do I register for CIS?

You’ll need a few bits of information about yourself to register for the Construction Industry Scheme:

The CIS scheme covers most of the construction work done in the UK. If you’re self-employed in the building trade, you’ll almost certainly have to register for it. Contractors will need to verify their subcontractors, handle their CIS deductions and file monthly CIS returns.

If you’re a subcontractor and don’t sign up for CIS, it doesn’t mean you won’t have the deductions taken from your pay. In fact, you’ll probably actually lose even more of your money, since the rate goes up to 30% for people who aren’t CIS-registered. It’s possible that you qualify for “gross payment” status, where you don’t have to pay CIS deductions. Don’t count on that, though, as there are specific rules and conditions to meet.

One of the problems with CIS is that it's very easy to end up paying too much - and you won't get an automatic refund. To claim your CIS rebate, HMRC demands proof of what you’re owed. This is what RIFT Tax Refunds is all about, so get in touch to see how we can help.

Remember that CIS covers all UK construction work, even if it's done by foreign firms. There are penalties for filing late, so you have to stay on top of the paperwork. 

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CIS Advice

What is a CIS card? What kinds of cards are there?

When you register with the Construction Industry Scheme, you get a card. The kind you’re given depends on your situation:

  • CIS A(P): Most subcontractors get this. It shows that you're eligible to have CIS tax deducted by your employers, and it doesn’t expire.
  • CIS 4(T): A temporary version of the card above. You'll probably only get this if you didn't know your National Insurance number when asked. Once you have your NI number, you'll be upgraded to a permanent card.
  • CIS 5: This is for companies that can't get a CIS 6 certificate, but still qualify for gross payments.
  • CIS 5 (Partner): This is the version of CIS 5 for partners in firms.
  • CIS 6: You can get this card if you're an individual, partner or director who qualifies for gross payment status. You qualify based your turnover, the kind of business you're in and how well you follow HMRC's rules.

CIS Tax Advice

What work does CIS cover?

For most general contractors in the UK building trade, the CIS scheme's compulsory. It includes everything from site preparation and repairs to decoration and demolition. There are a few exceptions, though. For instance, if you’re a contractor who only deals with very limited sections of the work (like carpet fitting), you may not have to register.

CIS Tax Advice

Does CIS apply to business outside the UK?

CIS covers all construction work done in the UK, even when it's done by foreign firms. The registration system is a little different, but all the basic rules are the same. The UK has some ''double taxation'' agreements in place with various other countries to reduce your total tax when you're paying in both countries. Talk to RIFT if you need help working out what it all means for you.

CIS Tax Deductions

What is the CIS tax deduction rate?

The standard Construction Industry Scheme tax deduction is 20%. If that sounds like HMRC's taking a huge lump out of your pay, then it only gets worse if you don’t sign up to the scheme. If you haven’t registered, the rate shoots up to 30%! This can also happen if you don't give your employer your Unique Taxpayer Reference number (UTR). Your UTR is used by HMRC to identify you. If your employers don't have it, the taxman might assume you aren't registered for CIS and charge you the higher rate.

CIS Tax Refunds

How do CIS tax deductions work?

CIS tax deductions are payments your employer takes out of your wages before you get them. Those payments go straight to HMRC instead of you. They're supposed count as advance payments toward your tax and National Insurance, clamping down on tax evasion in the industry. Unfortunately, one of the side-effects of CIS is that a lot of honest people end up being charged too much tax. At RIFT, our friendly teams of CIS experts can quickly tell you if you're due a tax rebate, then make sure you get it.

CIS payment and deduction certificate

What is a Construction Industry Scheme payment and deduction certificate?

A Construction Industry Scheme Payment and Deduction statement is a record of the money you've been paid and taxed on if you work under the CIS scheme. You might also just call them wage slips, payslips or something similar.

If you're self-employed in construction, they're some of the most important documents you'll ever have. When you file your yearly CIS tax return, you'll need these statements to prove what you've earned and paid. You should get a CIS Payment and Deduction statement from your boss whenever you’re paid, within 14 days of the end of the tax month.

CIS Tax Returns

CIS Payments and Deduction Certificate

What do I need my CIS payment and deduction statements for?

The main thing you'll need your CIS certificates or wage slips for is filing your yearly Self Assessment tax returns. The taxman will expect you to show him a record of all the cash you’ve got coming in. With the CIS taking 20% of your pay before you get it, you’re probably not getting the full benefit of your tax-free Personal Allowance. You’ll be hard-pressed to prove that without your CIS paperwork to back up your claim, though.

CIS Tax Returns

CIS Payments and Deduction Certificate

I only work for 1 company and my pay is taxed before I get it so am I PAYE or CIS?

Employment status is a huge issue in construction, and it can get very complicated with so many layers of contractors, subcontractors, agencies and so on. You might think you’re working under exactly the same conditions as your PAYE workmates, but the taxman could well take a different view.

The first thing to do is check your payslips. If they say “CIS statement” and show 20% deductions being made, then you’re being taxed through CIS. If that seems wrong, you need to talk to your employer fast.

The CIS scheme is only for construction, and its rules can catch out even experienced self-employed people from other industries. If you’ve got self-employed mates from outside of construction, be careful taking Self Assessment advice from them. They might not know the territory as well as they think they do. Play it safe and talk to the experts at RIFT instead.

CIS Tax Advice

Who counts as a CIS contractor or subcontractor?

In construction, a contractor is a person or business supplying materials or labour for a job. On the other hand, a subcontractor is anyone who does construction work for a contractor. Basically, according to HMRC, you're a contractor if you pay subcontractors for construction work.

You can also count as a construction contractor if your business doesn't do construction work, but still spends an average of over £1m a year on construction in any 3-year period. Either way, you’ll need to register for CIS and start taking deductions from your subcontractors’ pay.

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CIS Tax Advice

What must I do as a CIS contractor?

As a contractor, you need to register for CIS before you even take on your first subcontractor. You're going to have a lot of responsibilities under the scheme, so get used to minding the details. Here's what you need to do:

  • Get registered. You can do this online, but it can take up to 2 weeks to sort out. Make sure you allow for this time before taking on any subcontractors. You can sign up as a Sole Trader, a Limited Company or a Partnership. Remember, you need to do this even if you're based abroad.
  • Verify your subcontractors with HMRC to check that they're in the CIS scheme. Again, you can do this for free on the HMRC site. In addition to the information your subcontractors give you, you'll need to enter some basic details about your own business.
  • When you start paying your subcontractors, you'll make deductions from their pay for CIS. The rates are 20% if they're registered for the scheme, or 30% if not.
  • Make sure you're working out the gross pay correctly. Charges for things like VAT, materials and equipment aren't included.
  • Pay the CIS deductions to HMRC. They'll have set you up a payment scheme when you registered.
  • File your monthly CIS returns. There's an online tool for this, or you can use commercial software. These have to be spot-on, with up to £3,000 penalties for giving the wrong employment status for a subcontractor.
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CIS subcontractors

What sort of tax relief can I get as a subcontractor?

Subcontractor tax refunds can be tricky. It’s easy to miss out on money you’re owed - or even get put off from claiming altogether. Even pricey accountants can find themselves tangled up in the system if they don't know the construction industry well. RIFT Tax Refunds has been specialising in construction rebates since 1999. There really are no safer hands to be in.

Gross Payment Status

How do I qualify for gross payment status?

Gross payment status means that no CIS deductions get taken out of your pay. There are 3 basic tests to see if you qualify:

  • The turnover test: Do you have a net annual turnover of £30,000+ for 3 continuous years?
  • The business test: Are you in a business that qualifies for gross payments? In general, that means construction work. You also have to do business through a bank account and keep proper records.
  • The compliance test: Do you have a spotless track record of paying all your tax and hitting all your deadlines?

Need more help?

Wondering if you can claim a tax refund or need to submit a tax return? Use our online tools to find out if you're owed money by HMRC.

Do I Qualify?

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