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Under the Construction Industry Scheme (CIS), a contractor deducts money due to a subcontractor and instead pays it to HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC). This deduction counts as an advance payment towards the subcontractor’s tax. The amount deducted is a percentage of the labour services provided. The Domestic VAT Reverse Charge is in addition to but separate from CIS tax.
VAT – Domestic Reverse Charge
To ensure VAT is reported correctly by businesses in the construction sector, the domestic reverse charge has been added to the existing CIS since 1 March 2021. Prior to 1 March 2021 the supplier (subcontractor) would charge VAT to the customer (contractor), collect it and pay it to HMRC. The contractor would reclaim the VAT amount paid in their VAT return. From 1 March 2021, the subcontractor must not charge VAT but instead specify that the reverse charge applies. The subcontractor then accounts for the contractor’s output tax and reclaims the exact same amount as input tax on the VAT return. The subcontractor effectively accounts for the VAT directly to HMRC, as opposed to paying it over to the contractor.
The reverse charge must be used for most supplies of building and construction services. Normally if any of the services in a supply are subject to the reverse charge, all other services supplied will also be subject to it. The charge applies to standard VAT services for businesses who are registered for VAT in the UK and in the kinds of construction work listed here. Even if a customer enters into 2 separate labour and materials contracts with the same supplier for works within the scope of CIS and the works are to be provided at the same time on the same site, the reverse charge will apply to both contracts (subject to the 5% disregard) as they comprise a single supply for VAT purposes.
If you supply building and construction services as a sub-contractor
You must use the reverse charge from 1 March 2021, if you’re VAT registered in the UK, supply building and construction industry services and:
If the above applies, you will not charge VAT to your customer, and they will account for the VAT themselves. You should not charge VAT on the invoice but specify that the reverse charge rule applies. Page 8 of this guidance shows an invoice template.
If you buy building and construction services as a contractor
You must use the reverse charge from 1 March 2021 if you’re VAT registered in the UK, buy building and construction industry services and:
If the above applies, you must ensure that your supplier does not charge you VAT (and you do not pay VAT to your supplier), as you should instead account for VAT using the domestic reverse charge procedure.
Settling with HMRC
A contractor must register for the scheme. CIS deductions made will be added to PAYE liabilities.
A registered subcontractor will have 20% deducted from its payments, whereas an unregistered subcontractor will suffer a 30% deduction. A contractor and subcontractor must register as both. Each time tax is withheld from payment to a subcontractor, the subcontractor must be presented with a CIS Payment and Deduction Statement from the contractor. This is used to reclaim tax from HMRC.
A sole trader or partners subtract CIS deductions suffered against income tax and national insurance on the Self-Assessment Tax Return. A limited company subcontractor offsets CIS deductions suffered against PAYE payroll liability. Unrelieved CIS tax deductions at the end of the tax year can be refunded into a bank account or offset against other outstanding tax liabilities, in which case an online form needs to be submitted. A subcontractor who meets the revenue thresholds and has a record of timely tax payments can apply for gross payment status, meaning that they will be paid in full by contractors, without deductions.
Our tech-enabled CIS and payroll service will help: