CIS Contractor Tax Returns

If you are working via the Construction Industry Scheme (CIS), you’ll be required to file a self assessment tax return after your first year of trading and subsequent years. You’ll complete your tax return at the end of the tax year in April and pay any taxes that are due by the following January.

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CIS Tax Returns

Do I need to do a tax return if I'm self employed?

If you're self-employed in any kind of business, you'll almost certainly be using Self Assessment to pay your tax. In the construction industry, you'll probably also have to deal with the Construction Industry Scheme (CIS). Subcontracting under CIS means your Self Assessment filing has a couple of extra points to consider. If you don't understand the system, it's easy to end up paying a lot of extra tax you don't owe. If you think you are due a tax refund check out our CIS tax refund pages.

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CIS Tax Returns

CIS and paying tax

When you're paid through CIS, your contractor has to chisel off a hefty chunk of your pay before you get it. That money does straight to HMRC. It's supposed to act as "advance payment" toward the tax and National Insurance you'll owe. Your contractor doesn't have any choice about this; it's just how the law works. From a subcontractor's point of view, though, it can be pretty painful. In effect, you're being taxed right from the first penny you earn, without getting your tax-free Personal Allowance. It's supposed to crack down on tax evasion in the construction industry, but in reality it's the honest subcontractors that are carrying the load.

The news isn't all bad, though. You can claim back the extra tax you've paid in your Self Assessment tax return. That's right: even though you've already had 20% of your money taken by HMRC, you still have to file a return. If you've paid too much tax, you can get a tax refund.

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CIS Contractor Tax Returns

What expenses can I claim for?

A key part of working with the Self Assessment system is understanding what expenses you can claim for. This is an area where a lot of people on Self Assessment miss out, and end up paying too much tax. Examples of allowable expenses in construction include:

  • Work travel costs.
  • Essential tools and equipment.
  • Materials you need for work.
  • General costs of running your business, from stationery to advertising.
  • Accountancy fees.

These are the essential costs of doing business, and they count against the income you're being taxed on.

RIFT Guarantee

Our guarantee means you'll never lose a penny

When you claim your tax refund with RIFT, 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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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 HRMC.

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