CIS tax refunds

Construction workers using the Construction Industry Scheme (CIS) can claim tax refunds for travel expenses to temporary workplaces as well as claiming back overpaid tax. The average annual rebate for CIS workers is £2,000.

Do I Qualify? CIS Tax Calculator

Do you qualify for a tax refund from HMRC?

£2,500 - That's the average 4 year claim. Don't miss out!

CIS Tax Rebates

Information you need for a CIS tax refund

 We need the following basic information to look at processing your CIS tax refund:

  • A list of the sites you've worked on - along with the dates you were there. This can cover the last 4 years, and the more information you have, the better. Don't worry too much if you can't remember every detail - many of our clients work on the same sites, so we may have the information to hand.
  • CIS statements - these are basically the monthly statements you get from your contractors to show what you've earned and the tax that's been taken out. They're also called wage slips or vouchers.
  • Other supporting documents - If you can, providing a copy of your photo ID (driving licence or passport), proof of address (e.g. gas bill), MOT certificates and receipts for expenses will help maximise your CIS tax refund claim.

You will also be required to set up a Personal Tax Account.  It's free and you'll be able to see everything to do with your tax, including all information from employers, banks and building societies and other government departments all in one place.  Find out more here.

You can find more information about what you need here, or give RIFT a shout and we can talk you through it. 


Do I Qualify? CIS Tax Calculator

CIS Tax Refunds

Construction CIS tax refunds done right

We've helped over 33,000 construction workers take back overpaid tax from the taxman and our average 4 year refund is £2,500. 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.

Do I Qualify? CIS Tax Calculator

Our Guarantee

Our guarantee means you'll never lose a penny

When you claim your tax refund, our unique Rift Guarantee means that you don't 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 that we've claimed and ask for the money back, we'll pay it.  It won't cost you a penny.

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CIS Tax Refunds

Do most CIS workers get the right amount of tax back?

Many construction workers file their own CIS tax returns. There’s nothing at all wrong with this, if you know your way around the rules. However, it's easy to miss out on CIS claims or make costly mistakes so it's important you have all the information you need for a CIS tax refund.

Specialist CIS tax rebate services exist to help people in the construction industry who work as sub-contractors to claim back overpaid tax. If you're a sub-contractor on a site being run by someone else, then your employer will be deducting tax directly from your pay before you get it. This almost always means you're losing 20% of it.

Because of this, at the end of the working year when you file your self assessment tax return, you've probably been overcharged. Basically, the tax taken from your wages during the year is probably higher than the amount you actually owe.

It takes a lot of specialist accounting knowledge to claim tax back for everything you are owed by the taxman. 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, all too often it’s nowhere near as high as it should be.

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Tax returns

Tax returns and self assessment tax returns with RIFT

What is a tax return and how much tax do I owe?  A common question and there are a few ways to work out how much tax you should be paying.  If you're employed then tax will be taken from your salary by your employer using your tax code.  If you have other sources of income, though, you may have calculations to make to work out your tax return. If you file self assessment tax returns then tax returns can be difficult to get right and dangerous to get wrong.

If you are now self-employed then you should get your self registered as self-employed as soon as possible after you start trading. The deadline's the 5th of October in the year your started your self-employment.  Miss that, and you're risking self assessment tax return penalties based on the potential lost tax.  However, with RIFT on your side we can ensure that your tax returns are in safe hands.

Tax return quote Tax calculator

How long does a refund take?

How long does a CIS tax refund take?

As with any other kind of tax refund, CIS claims take about 8-10 weeks for HMRC to process, on average. RIFT has its own specialist CIS team, working hard to maximise your refund and get it to you fast.

Your CIS refund includes your self assessment tax return and all paperwork and it’s all done together, for one simple price that includes all aftercare for the year. That means you get your money as fast as possible and we’re here for anything you need without having to worry about extra charges for our time, help or advice.

Once we've submitted the claim, of course, it's all in the taxman's hands. The wheels at HMRC can turn slowly sometimes, but there are a few things you can to to keep them moving:

  • Get your SA1 and 64-8 forms signed and sent in as soon as possible. We can't move ahead with your claim unless your paperwork's in order.
  • Check out our calendar of key days to make sure you aren't caught in one of HMRC's busiest periods.
  • Use our documents checklist to make sure we've got all the information we need to process your claim. The more information you can give us, the smoother and faster your refund claim will go.

RIFT has seven teams working to make sure there's no hold-up at HMRC. From tax advisors and claim preparation experts to submissions and aftercare specialists, we handle everything. There's no worry about mistakes creeping into your claim and no sitting in phone queues waiting to talk to HMRC. We'll even chase up old employers if they're dragging their feet in sending the information we need. RIFT takes care of you all year round, offering advice, solving problems and answering questions.

If you don't want to wait for HMRC, you can get your money even faster with our Rapid Refunds service. This way, you'll get your refund within 24 hours of us receiving your signed forms. As always, everything's covered by our RIFT Guarantee. As long as you've given us the right information, your refund is protected.

Specialist Team

CIS Team

Our Construction Industry Scheme experts can do everything an accountant does. In addition, their specialised knowledge means they can also maximise your CIS refund. They'll make sure you never miss a deadline or any tax reliefs you've earned. They'll even file your Self Assessment tax returns as part of the service. If you're new to CIS or switching over from PAYE work, they'll help you get set up. That includes handling any outstanding issues you've got with HMRC. With in-depth understanding of the industry and the law, they'll handle all your CIS paperwork and calls to HMRC.

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Customer stories

"RIFT helped me after my previous accountants messed up and left me with fines."

"One of my mates at work uses RIFT so I gave them a go because the last people who were doing my tax for me weren’t doing it properly and I ended up with £600 in fines.

The service from RIFT was fantastic, they really helped me out and I was ecstatic when I found out how much I was getting. It’s way more than I ever had before. I put the money in the baby fund, our first baby’s due in January so we’ll be able to get everything we need for her and not worry about where the money’s coming from.

The service was 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 really helped me right out.

Scott Whitelock, 31, self-employed flooring contractor

Tax Calculator

Refer a Friend

Extra cash for you and your mates for the New Year

Help your mates get a tax refund to kick off the new year - and get an extra £50 in your own pocket! At RIFT, we love it when happy clients tell their friends about us.

We love it so much that we reward you for doing it! To thank you we'll give you £50 for everyone you recommend (T&Cs apply) who claims with us, but we'll give you a bonus of an extra £150 if 5 people do.

That's £400 in your pocket as well as the warm glow you get from helping out your mates. Help your workmates out now and you'll both get some extra cash to kick off 2017.

Refer Your Friends Now

Refer a Friend

Get started

Simply enter your friend’s name and email address on our referral form, and we’ll send them a one off email to let them know you think RIFT tax refunds could help them.

  • If they get in touch and claim a refund, we’ll send you a £50 reward for your help.
  • And for every 5 you send that claim, you get an extra £150 bonus. 

Ask us any questions on Facebook, Livechat or call us on 01233 628648.

CIS Tax Advice

What is CIS tax deduction?

CIS tax deductions are payments to HMRC that your employer takes out of your wages before you get them. They're supposed to be about clamping down on tax evasion in the industry. Unfortunately, one of the side effects of the scheme is that a lot of workers end up paying too much tax. As a result, when the subcontractor submits their tax return, most or all of their tax has already been paid. 

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CIS Tax Advice

What is the CIS tax rate and what does it mean?

The standard CIS tax deduction is 20%, so if you’re a CIS subcontractor you could well have overpaid tax.

If that sounds like HMRC's taking a huge lump out of your pay, then consider the alternative; If you don't register for the scheme, the rate shoots up to 30%! Here are details of what information you need for a CIS tax refund.

Do I Qualify?

CIS Tax Refunds

What is CIS tax and does it affect me?

CIS tax is a special tax scheme just for the construction industry. Under the CIS tax scheme, contractors make tax deductions from their subcontractors and pay the money to HMRC. The CIS tax deductions count as advance payments towards the subcontractor's tax and National Insurance.

Working on a building site keeps you busy, so there's no reason your CIS subcontractor tax rebate should be hard work too. Here at RIFT, our friendly helpful team can quickly tell you if you are due a tax rebate. You can get an idea of what you might be able to claim back from our tax refund calculator.

Do I Qualify?

Registering for CIS

How do I register for CIS?

To register for the Construction Industry Scheme you will need:

CIS covers most types of UK construction work, with only a new minor exceptions. This means that if you're a contractor in the industry, you need to get set up for the scheme. You'll have to get registered, verify your subcontractors and take CIS deductions from their pay.  Those deductions then get sent to HMRC. You'll also have to file monthly CIS returns.

If you're a subcontractor, the scheme isn't actually compulsory. If you don't sign up for it, though, you'll end up losing 30% to the taxman instead of the standard 20% deductions. There's a chance you might qualify for gross payment status, where no CIS deductions are taken from your pay.  There are strict eligibility rules to pass before you qualify for that, though.

It's easy to end up paying too much tax through CIS and you won't get it back automatically. To claim your refund, you'll need to prove 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.

You can find out more about how the Construction Industry Scheme affects you here.

Do I Qualify?

CIS Tax Refunds

Am I a subcontractor?

A lot of the rules around construction subcontractor tax hinge on what a subcontractor actually is. It's a more difficult question than it might seem, and getting it wrong can mean a lot of trouble from HMRC. Generally, though, a subcontractor is someone who:

  • Agrees to do work for a contractor.
  • Either does the work themselves, or has employees (or other subcontractors) do it for them.

The big problem in the construction industry is that some people have been wrongly classed as subcontractors when they're actually employees. Employment status challenges from HMRC are a nasty prospect, so it's incredibly important to make sure you've got it right. The dividing lines can be blurry, with loose terms like "supervision, direction and control" flying around. If you've got any doubts at all about your employment status, talk to RIFT straight away. We'll keep you on the right side of HMRC, and put more money back in your pocket while we do it.

Do I Qualify? CIS Tax Calculator

How does it work?

RIFT Refunds Tax Calculator

Use our tax refund calculator to find out what you're owed.

Do you qualify for a tax refund

Find out if you're due a refund.

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RIFT Tax Refunds Service

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CIS Subcontractors

What sort of tax relief am I missing out on?

When you're claiming a subcontractor tax refund, it's easy to miss out on some of the money you're owed. The rules are complicated in places, and a lot of people either get tripped up or put off from claiming altogether. There are tricky regulations around things like mileage relief and capital allowances that not many understand. Even pricey accountants can find themselves tangled up in the system if they don't know the construction industry. RIFT Tax Refunds have been specialising in construction rebates for over 15 years. There really are no safer hands to be in.

Do I Qualify?

CIS Subcontractors

How big are my CIS deductions?

For most people, the Construction Industry Scheme means that 20% of their pay is being taken off before they get it. There are a few occasions where you might be paying more or less, though. If you aren't signed up for CIS, for instance, you'll probably get lumped with a whopping 30% deduction. This can also happen if you don't give your employer your Unique Taxpayer Reference number. Occasionally, people qualify for gross payments, where no tax is taken off at all. Gross payment status has several strings attached, though. There are tests to pass before you qualify, and annual check-ups from HMRC.

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CIS Advice

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

A CIS card or certificate is issued to you when you register with the Construction Industry Scheme. The kind of card you get depends on your circumstances. For example:

  • CIS A(P): The basic card issued to most subcontractors. It shows that you're eligible to have your CIS tax deducted by your employers. There's no expiry date on it.
  • CIS 4(T): This is the 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 6: If you're an individual, partner or director, and qualify for gross payment status, this is the card you'll get. There are tests to work out if you qualify, based on your turnover, the business you're in and how well you follow HMRC's rules.
  • 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.
Do I Qualify?

CIS Tax Advice

How do I qualify for gross payment status?

Gross payment status, where no CIS deductions are taken from your pay, depends on 3 basic tests:

  • The turnover test: To pass this, you need to have had a net annual turnover of £30,000+ for 3 continuous years.
  • The business test: This checks that you're 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: This test checks whether you've got a clean record with HMRC. You must have a history of paying all your taxes and hitting your deadlines to pass it.
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Construction jobs for ex-Military personnel

Construction opportunities for former Armed Forces personnel

In case you hadn't heard, the UK construction industry is facing a severe skills shortage in the next several years. That means a lot of opportunities for service leavers with some practical qualifications under their belts. There are even organisations offering training under the MOD's Enhanced Learning Credits scheme to give you the grounding you need. Some, like the Construction Skills College in Staffordshire are set up with former Armed Forces Personnel specifically in mind.

Construction covers a huge range of jobs for skilled tradesmen, from plumbers and plasterers to electricians and engineers. Practical skills never go out of fashion, and the demand is only going to grow as the next few years rolls by. If you're coming out of the service, this is a prime opportunity to put the determination and toughness that Armed Forces work demands to use back in civilian life.

Remember that tax refunds aren't just for MOD personnel, either. Whatever you do after leaving the Armed Forces, remember to claw back what you're owed by the taxman each year. If you haven't already made your refund claims for your time with the MOD, it may not be too late. Tax refund claims can stretch back for up to 4 years – so contact RIFT to get the ball rolling.

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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.

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Speak to us 6 days a week.
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RIFT Refunds, RIFT House, 200 Eureka Park,Upper Pemberton, Ashford, Kent, TN25 4AZ

Call us on 01233 628648


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