How to pay CIS tax is a question that often comes to mind for new contractors and subcontractors.

The Construction Industry Scheme (CIS) mandates that contractors deduct money from subcontractor payments and pass it to HMRC. This scheme is designed to improve tax compliance within the construction industry. This also ensures that the tax is properly accounted for at each level of the supply chain.

For contractors and subcontractors, understanding and accurately managing CIS tax payments is essential. Incorrect handling of CIS can lead to severe financial penalties and disrupt your business operations. Therefore, ensuring precise CIS tax payments not only maintains compliance with HMRC regulations but also safeguards your business from potential fines and legal issues.

Whether you are new to the scheme or looking to refine your current procedures, this Primo Umbrella guide will help you navigate the complexities of CIS tax with confidence.

Why Understanding CIS Tax is Essential?

Relevance in the Field

Compliance with CIS tax regulations is more than a legal requirement. Nevertheless, it is a cornerstone of good business practice within the UK construction sector.

The Construction Industry Scheme (CIS) helps ensure that your tax liabilities are correctly managed and paid. This is particularly important in an industry known for its complex subcontracting chains and cash flow challenges.

By understanding CIS regulations, you can better manage your finances, plan for tax liabilities, and avoid unexpected financial burdens. Moreover, a thorough understanding of CIS can improve your reputation within the industry. This also demonstrates to clients and partners that your business adheres to the highest standards of financial responsibility and regulatory compliance.

Compliance and Smooth Financial Operations

Maintaining compliance with CIS tax is essential for good standing with HMRC. Proper management of CIS tax ensures that your business operations run smoothly without the risk of fines or disruptions.

Non-compliance can result in penalties, including hefty fines and potential legal action. This can strain your finances and damage your business reputation.

Accurate CIS tax management simplifies your financial planning and forecasting and allows for more stable cash flow management. It also reduces the administrative burden on your team, freeing up their time and resources to focus on core business activities. By staying compliant, you can ensure a seamless operation, minimise financial risks, and build trust with your subcontractors and clients.

Primo Umbrella can help streamline your CIS tax processes through our cloud-based payroll solutions. Our expert services ensure compliance with HMRC regulations, reducing the risk of penalties and financial setbacks.

With our CIS payroll software, you can automate CIS calculations, deductions, and submissions. This saves time and allows you to focus on growing your business.

Step-by-Step Guide to Paying CIS Tax

Step 1 – Register for CIS

For Contractors:

  • Register as a contractor through HMRC’s online services.
  • Provide your Unique Taxpayer Reference (UTR) and company details.
  • Confirm that your business operates within the construction industry.

For Subcontractors:

  • Register as a subcontractor to receive payments under the scheme.
  • Provide your UTR and National Insurance number.
  • Confirm your involvement in construction-related activities.

Step 2 – Verify Subcontractors

Before making any payments, verify your subcontractors’ CIS status.

  • Use HMRC’s online verification service.
  • Enter the subcontractor’s details, including their UTR.
  • HMRC will confirm the deduction rate (20% or 30%) or indicate if the subcontractor is exempt.

Step 3 – Deduct CIS Tax

Calculate and deduct CIS tax.

  • Deduct the appropriate amount (20% or 30%) from the subcontractor’s payment.
  • Ensure deductions are made only on labour costs, excluding materials and other expenses.
  • Provide the subcontractor with a payment and deduction statement.

Step 4 – Submit CIS Returns

Monthly submission of CIS returns is mandatory.

  • Log into HMRC’s online services by the 19th of each month.
  • Submit details of payments made and deductions taken.
  • Keep all your transaction records for auditing purposes.

Step 5 – Make Payments to HMRC

Pay the deducted CIS tax.

  • Calculate the total amount of CIS deductions for the month.
  • Use HMRC’s online payment system to transfer the funds.
  • Ensure payments are made by the 22nd of each month to avoid penalties.

What are the Benefits of Using Cloud-Based Payroll Software for CIS?

1. Automation of Processes

Cloud-based payroll software can automate the CIS process:

  • Automatic calculation and deduction of CIS tax.
  • Simplified submission of monthly returns.
  • Real-time verification of subcontractors.

2. Compliance Assurance

The software ensures compliance with HMRC regulations:

  • Automatic updates to reflect changes in tax laws.
  • Accurate record-keeping and documentation.
  • Alerts and reminders for submission deadlines.

3. Efficiency and Accuracy

Enhance efficiency and accuracy:

  • Reduce human error in calculations.
  • Streamline administrative tasks.
  • Improve overall workflow management.

Impact of Proper CIS Management

1. Avoiding Penalties and Ensuring Smooth Operations

Proper CIS management helps avoid penalties:

  • Timely and accurate CIS tax payments prevent fines.
  • Smooth financial operations through efficient tax management.
  • Better cash flow management and predictability.

2. Maintaining Good Relationships

Good CIS management maintains strong relationships:

  • Clear communication about deductions builds trust.
  • Timely payments and compliance boost subcontractor confidence.
  • Reduces disputes and enhances collaboration.


Managing CIS tax is essential for contractors and subcontractors to ensure compliance and financial stability in the construction industry. An effective CIS tax management strategy avoids penalties and ensures smooth operations. This also fosters positive relationships with subcontractors. With CIS compliance, you can prevent legal complications and financial setbacks to ensure your business aligns seamlessly with industry standards and regulations.

Explore Primo Umbrella’s cloud-based payroll solutions to streamline your CIS tax processes and maintain compliance. Our expert services can transform the complexity of CIS compliance into a manageable aspect of your business. Prioritise your CIS compliance to safeguard your operations and enhance your business’s reputation in the industry.