The Construction Industry Scheme (CIS) is a set of special rules for tax and National Insurance for those working in the construction industry. 

The CIS covers all construction work carried out in the UK, including jobs such as:

  • site preparation
  • alterations
  • dismantling
  • construction
  • repairs
  • decorating
  • demolition

Exceptions to the definition of construction work includes professional work done by architects and surveyors, carpet fitting, scaffolding hire (with no labour) and work on construction sites that’s clearly not construction. The CIS does not apply to construction work carried on outside the UK. 

The scheme covers all types of businesses and other concerns that work in the construction industry, including:

  • companies
  • partnerships
  • self-employed individuals

Businesses in the construction industry are known as 'contractors' and 'subcontractors'.

New VAT rules for building contractors and sub-contractors came into effect from 1 March 2021. The new rules will make the supply of most construction services between VAT registered construction or building businesses subject to the domestic reverse charge. The reverse charge only applies to supplies of specified construction services to other businesses in the construction sector. This means that sub-contractors no longer add VAT to their supplies to most building customers, instead, contractors are obliged to pay the deemed output VAT on behalf of their registered sub-contractor suppliers. 

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