The Easy Way To Claim Your CIS Refund As A Self-Employed Subcontractor

If you’re a subcontractor, it’s likely you’ll need to register for the Construction Industry Scheme (CIS). This scheme requires the submission of a Self Assessment tax return,including details of your CIS income and the amount of…

5 Minute Read

Last Updated: 8th February 2022

If you’re a subcontractor, it’s likely you’ll need to register for the Construction Industry Scheme (CIS). This scheme requires the submission of a Self Assessment tax return,including details of your CIS income and the amount of tax deducted by the paying contractor.

Although this initially sounds like a difficult way of calculating the tax owed, it’s simple once you get to grips with the basics. We’ll cover the necessities you need to know, as well as how you can easily claim a CIS refund if you’re owed one. 

Registering for the CIS scheme

You’ll need to register as a subcontractorif you receive income where tax has been deducted under the CIS scheme. You’ll need your business or trading name, your National Insurance number, the unique taxpayer reference number for your business and your VAT registration number if applicable.

The majority of work you’ll carry out as a subcontractor comes under CIS, however there are a few exclusions if your work entails only certain jobs. These include carpet fitting, architecture and surveying, and being based at a site but not carrying out construction-related work,e.g. site facilities. Unsure whether your contract’sexempt?This guide has a comprehensive list.

Payments to HMRC

Registering for the CIS scheme will result in tax being deducted by the paying contractor from the payments they make to you.CIS tax is normally deducted from your labour charges. Items such as the Construction Industry Training Board levy, VAT, materials, consumable stores, plant rental, and manufacturing or pre-fabricating materials should all be paid to you without a CIS tax deduction.

If the business or trading name given to HMRC is not identical to the one provided to the contractor, then HMRC may tell the contractor to deduct the higher rate of 30%. Failure to register as a subcontractor will also result in the 30% CIS deduction instead of the standard rate of 20%.

On a monthly basis, contractors will need to either tell HMRC they have made no payments or send them a return that includes details of payments and any deductions withheld. They will also issue you with a tax deduction certificate that must be retained to verify the tax you have had deducted under the CIS scheme.

Is there an easier way to claim a refund?

As a self-employed subcontractor, you will be required to complete a Self Assessment tax return. On this return you need to declare all your self-employed income and expenses, along with any tax you have had deducted under the CIS scheme. This can often result in a refund of overpaid tax.

GoSimpleTax software was built with subcontractors in mind, and does the hard work so you don’t have to. Your Self Assessment submission will be made quick and easy with SimpleTax. To test the software’s features, try a 14-day free trial.

Trusted by over 15,000 subscribers

You don't need to be an expert to complete your self assessment tax return.

Start your free trial

Blog content is for information purposes and over time may become outdated, although we do strive to keep it current. It's written to help you understand your Tax's and is not to be relied upon as professional accounting, tax and legal advice due to differences in everyone's circumstances. For additional help please contact our support team or HMRC.


Start your Self Assessment tax return today for free.

Sign up Now

20 common tax and accounting terms that sole traders should understand

06 Jun 2023

Although you’ll no doubt have an expert knowledge of your trade or profession, your understanding of tax and accounting could be fairly limited. That’s…

Seasonal business owners: 21 things you need to know about sole trader tax

05 Jun 2023

Some business ideas just aren’t viable throughout the year, because the weather at certain months seriously weakens demand or kills it altogether. However, running…

How much tax does a landlord need to pay? 10 key questions answered…

18 May 2023

The UK has more than 2.7m unincorporated landlords and each year they report to HMRC rental property income worth some £41bn. Unincorporated landlords are…

How GoSimpleTax Works


Simply register for free with your full name and email address.

Select Your Income

Select the income you receive and follow the hints and tips for potential tax savings.

Validate Your Information

Validate your personal information and submit directly to HMRC to get confirmation in just seconds.


Work Anywhere, With Any Device

Gone are the days of fretting over a calculator surrounded by scraps of paper at the eleventh hour.

GoSimpleTax’s tax return software uses the information you upload in real time to calculate your income and expenditure, working out the tax you owe and sending you helpful notifications when there’s the possibility of a mistake.

Start your free trial

"The software is intuitive and proved very easy to navigate. I found the whole process refreshingly simple. I saved a lot of money too!"

Steve J.

Ordained Presbyter

"Easy to use and value for money. Everything you need to do your tax."

Gordon J.

Self Employed

"It fills in all the forms and sends them to the Inland Revenue. Not expensive either. Takes the stress out of doing your tax return online."

Ross G.

Team Rector

Start your free trial