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How to Claim CIS Tax Refund in the UK?

The Construction Industry Scheme (CIS) is a tax deduction scheme in the UK that involves contractors withholding tax on payments to subcontractors. Many individuals working under the CIS may overpay tax and need to claim a refund. This guide provides a step-by-step process to claim the CIS tax refund for both sole traders and limited companies.

How to Claim CIS Tax Refund in the UK

Understanding the CIS

If you work for a contractor in the construction industry as a self-employed individual, the contractor is obliged to withhold tax on its payments to you. Registered CIS workers receive payments net of 20% tax, while unregistered subcontractors receive payments net of 30% tax.

Claiming Refund for Sole Traders and Partners

Filing Self-Assessment Tax Return

At the end of the tax year, sole traders and partners must send in their Self Assessment tax return. They should record the full amounts on their invoices as income and any deductions made by contractors in the 'CIS deductions' field. HMRC will calculate the tax and National Insurance bill and deduct any deductions made by contractors.

Receiving the Refund

If you're due a tax refund, HMRC will pay the money back. If you still owe tax after the deductions, you'll need to pay it by 31 January following the end of the tax year.

Claiming Refund for Limited Companies

Gross Payment Status

If you have gross payment status, declare all your income in your Corporation Tax return as usual.

Claiming CIS Deductions

If you pay CIS deductions, you must claim these back through your company's monthly payroll scheme. Send your monthly Full Payment Submission (FPS) and an Employer Payment Summary (EPS) to HMRC. Enter the total CIS deductions for the year to date, and HMRC will take them off what you owe in PAYE tax and National Insurance.

Carry Forward Unclaimed Deductions

If your company's PAYE bill for the period is reduced to zero and you still have some CIS deductions you have not been able to claim back, carry these forward to the next month or quarter.

Online and Postal Claims for Limited Companies

Who Can Make a Claim?

Limited company subcontractors or agents of a limited company can claim a repayment of CIS deductions if they've paid too much tax or National Insurance.

Online Claims

Agents can use the Government Gateway user ID to claim a repayment online. Be cautious about submitting the return before the filing deadline, as it may cause delays or incorrect payment.

Postal Claims

Mark your claim 'CIS' and send it to PT Operations North East England, HM Revenue and Customs, BX9 1BX, United Kingdom.

Using an Agent

Completing and submitting a Self-Assessment tax return can be complex. You may choose to use a tax agent, but be cautious about agents who work for a percentage of your refund. Make sure to research and use an agent affiliated with a professional body.

In-Year Refunds

You can get a refund in the year via the completion of form CIS40, but this only applies where your work in the construction industry has ceased, and all tax affairs are up to date.

Claiming a CIS tax refund in the UK involves understanding the scheme, following the appropriate process for your business type, and being cautious if using an agent. By adhering to the guidelines and procedures outlined in this guide, you can successfully claim your CIS tax refund. If you encounter any challenges, professional assistance from reputable tax agents or free assistance from TaxAid for low-income individuals is available.

Which HMRC Forms Should Be Used to Claim Cis Tax Refund

The CIS tax refund process varies depending on whether you are a sole trader, partner, or limited company. Different forms apply to different circumstances, and understanding which ones to use is crucial.

For Sole Traders and Partners

Self-Assessment Tax Return

Sole traders and partners must complete a Self-Assessment tax return (SA100) to claim their CIS tax refund.

How to Use the Form:

  1. Record Full Invoices: Include the full amounts on your invoices as income.

  2. Include CIS Deductions: Enter any deductions contractors have made in the 'CIS deductions' field.

  3. Submit by Deadline: Ensure submission by 31 January following the end of the tax year.

For Limited Companies

Full Payment Submission (FPS)

Limited companies must send an FPS as part of their monthly payroll scheme.

How to Use the Form:

  1. Declare Income: Include all income as usual.

  2. Submit Monthly: Send your FPS to HMRC every month.

Employer Payment Summary (EPS)

The EPS is used to enter the total CIS deductions for the year to date.

How to Use the Form:

  1. Enter CIS Deductions: Include the total CIS deductions for the year.

  2. Submit Alongside FPS: Send the EPS along with your FPS.

In-Year Refunds

Form CIS40

If your work in the construction industry has ceased, and all tax affairs are up to date, you can claim an in-year refund using form CIS40.

How to Use the Form:

  1. Complete Accurately: Fill in all required details.

  2. Include End Date: Enter the date your construction industry work ended.

  3. Submit Promptly: Send the form to HMRC as soon as possible.

Online Claims for Limited Companies

Government Gateway

Limited companies can claim online using their Government Gateway user ID.

How to Use the Online System:

  1. Sign In: Use your Government Gateway user ID to sign in.

  2. Follow Prompts: Complete the online form by following the instructions.

  3. Avoid Early Submission: Be cautious about submitting before the filing deadline.

Postal Claims for Limited Companies

Form R38

If you want HMRC to pay an agent or other nominated representative, you need to submit your claim by post with a completed form R38.

How to Use the Form:

  1. Fill in Details: Include all required information, such as company name, PAYE reference numbers, and bank details.

  2. Mark as 'CIS': Clearly mark your claim as 'CIS.'

  3. Send to Correct Address: Mail it to PT Operations North East England, HM Revenue and Customs, BX9 1BX, United Kingdom.

Claiming a CIS tax refund in the UK requires careful attention to the specific forms and procedures relevant to your situation. Whether you are a sole trader, partner, or limited company, understanding the correct HMRC forms and how to use them is essential for a successful claim.

Remember, the process can be complex, and professional assistance may be beneficial. Always refer to the latest guidance from HMRC or consult with a tax professional to ensure compliance with current regulations and procedures. By following this guide, you can navigate the CIS tax refund process with confidence and efficiency.

How Long Does HMRC Take to Refund CIS?

Once a tax return has been filed, HMRC typically takes between 6 to 12 weeks to process and pay the rebate. This timeframe can vary depending on specific circumstances related to the rebate.

Factors That May Affect the Timeline:

  1. Size of the Rebate: If the rebate is particularly large, it may require additional processing time.

  2. First-time Rebate: If you haven't had a rebate before, HMRC may run additional security checks, which can extend the processing time.

  3. Identity and Personal Details Confirmation: HMRC may require you to confirm your identity and personal details as part of their security checks.

The process of receiving a CIS tax refund from HMRC is generally straightforward but can take some time. On average, you can expect to receive your rebate within 6 to 12 weeks after filing your return. Being aware of this timeline and the factors that might affect it can help you plan accordingly and ensure a smooth refund process. If you have specific concerns or questions about your rebate, it's advisable to get in touch with HMRC or consult with a tax professional.

The Potential Issues in Claiming CIS Tax Refund in the UK and How to Solve Them

Claiming a Construction Industry Scheme (CIS) tax refund in the UK is a common practice for many contractors and subcontractors. However, the process can be fraught with challenges and potential issues. This guide explores some of the common problems and offers solutions to navigate them effectively.

1. Incorrect Deductions


Sometimes, contractors may deduct the wrong amount, leading to discrepancies in the CIS tax refund.


  • Verify Deductions: Regularly check the deductions made by contractors.

  • Communicate with Contractors: If discrepancies are found, discuss them with the contractor to rectify the mistake.

  • Consult HMRC: If the issue persists, contact HMRC for assistance.

2. Delays in Processing


The CIS tax refund process can take 6 to 12 weeks, and sometimes even longer.


  • File Early: Submit the tax return as early as possible to avoid delays.

  • Provide Accurate Information: Ensure all information is accurate to prevent additional security checks.

  • Follow-Up: Regularly follow up with HMRC if the refund is delayed.

3. Issues with Agent Authorisation


If using an accountant or agent, authorisation may be required, leading to additional steps and potential delays.


  • Understand the Process: Be aware of the agent authorisation process.

  • Provide Timely Authorisation: Respond promptly to HMRC's letter with the authorisation code.

4. Penalties from Previous Years


Outstanding penalties or fines from previous years can be automatically taken from the rebate.


  • Clear Outstanding Amounts: Pay any outstanding penalties or fines before claiming the refund.

  • Consult a Tax Professional: Seek professional advice if unsure about any penalties.

5. Inaccurate Personal Details


Incorrect personal details can lead to delays or rejection of the refund claim.


  • Verify Personal Details: Ensure all personal details, including address and bank information, are correct.

  • Update HMRC Records: If any changes occur, update HMRC records promptly.

6. Issues with Online Claims


Online claims can be complex, especially for limited companies, leading to mistakes or delays.


  • Use Government Gateway: Utilise the Government Gateway for online claims.

  • Follow Instructions Carefully: Adhere to the online instructions and avoid early submission.

7. Problems with Unscrupulous Agents


Some tax agents may inflate the tax refund due by including fictitious expenses, leading to legal issues.


  • Choose Reputable Agents: Research and select agents affiliated with professional bodies.

  • Monitor the Process: Keep an eye on the process and question any suspicious activities.

8. In-Year Refunds Challenges


Claiming an in-year refund using form CIS40 can be complex if the construction industry work has ceased.


  • Understand the Process: Familiarise yourself with the CIS40 form and its requirements.

  • Seek Professional Help if Needed: Consult a tax professional if the process seems overwhelming.

Claiming a CIS tax refund in the UK is a valuable financial practice for many in the construction industry, but it can present various challenges. By understanding these potential issues and implementing the solutions outlined above, individuals and companies can navigate the process more smoothly.

It's always advisable to stay informed, keep accurate records, communicate effectively with contractors and HMRC, and seek professional assistance when needed. By taking these proactive steps, you can ensure that your CIS tax refund claim is processed efficiently and accurately, maximising your financial benefits within the legal framework.

How Can a CIS Tax Accountant Help You in Claiming CIS Tax Refund

How Can a CIS Tax Accountant Help You in Claiming CIS Tax Refund?

1. Expertise in Calculating Deductions


A CIS Tax Accountant's expertise in calculating the correct deductions ensures that you claim the right amount.

How It Helps:

  • Identifying Allowable Expenses: Helps in pinpointing all the expenses that can be claimed.

  • Avoiding Mistakes: Ensures that you neither overclaim nor underclaim, thus avoiding potential legal issues.

2. Timely and Accurate Filing of Tax Returns


A CIS Tax Accountant can handle the preparation and filing of tax returns, ensuring accuracy and timeliness.

How It Helps:

  • Meeting Deadlines: Ensures that your tax returns are submitted on time, avoiding late penalties.

  • Minimising Errors: Reduces errors that could lead to delays or rejection of your claim.

3. Representation and Communication with HMRC


A CIS Tax Accountant can act on your behalf with HMRC, managing all communications and negotiations.

How It Helps:

  • Professional Liaison: Manages all interactions with HMRC, saving you time and stress.

  • Expert Negotiation: Utilises professional expertise to negotiate any disputes or issues.

4. Guidance with Online and Postal Claims


A CIS Tax Accountant can assist with both online and postal claims, making the process smooth and efficient.

How It Helps:

  • Understanding Procedures: Explains and assists in completing the necessary forms and processes.

  • Avoiding Common Pitfalls: Helps in avoiding mistakes that can lead to delays or rejection.

5. Handling Complex Scenarios


A CIS Tax Accountant can navigate complex situations, such as previous penalties or issues with agent authorisation.

How It Helps:

  • Problem Resolution: Offers solutions to complex challenges that may arise during the claim process.

  • Avoiding Additional Penalties: Assists in resolving outstanding penalties or fines that may affect your refund.

6. Providing Customised Advice


A CIS Tax Accountant provides personalised advice tailored to your specific situation, optimising your claim.

How It Helps:

  • Individualised Strategies: Creates strategies tailored to your individual or business needs.

  • Long-Term Tax Planning: Assists in ongoing tax planning, ensuring continuous compliance and financial efficiency.

7. Ensuring Confidentiality and Security


A CIS Tax Accountant maintains the confidentiality and security of your personal and financial information.

How It Helps:

  • Data Security: Implements measures to safeguard your sensitive information.

  • Ethical Conduct: Adheres to professional ethical standards, building trust and integrity.

8. Assistance in Special Cases


A CIS Tax Accountant can assist in special cases, such as in-year refunds or changes in personal details.

How It Helps:

  • Specialised Handling: Provides guidance in special scenarios like in-year refunds using form CIS40.

  • Updating Personal Details: Assists in updating personal details with HMRC, ensuring accuracy.

9. Continuous Support and Monitoring


A CIS Tax Accountant offers continuous support and monitoring throughout the refund process.

How It Helps:

  • Ongoing Assistance: Provides support from the beginning to the end of the refund process.

  • Monitoring Progress: Keeps track of the progress and informs you of any updates or requirements.

A CIS Tax Accountant plays a vital role in claiming a CIS tax refund in the UK. Their specialised knowledge, skills, and professional approach simplify the process and ensure that you receive the refund you are entitled to.

Whether handling complex negotiations with HMRC, calculating accurate deductions, or providing personalised advice, a CIS Tax Accountant's assistance is invaluable. Engaging a reputable and experienced CIS Tax Accountant is a strategic move that can save you time, effort, and potential legal complications, allowing you to navigate the CIS tax refund process with confidence and success.


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