Construction subcontractors: All you need to know about payments

May 24, 2022

If you are a contractor working in the construction industry you are likely to rely on the services of subcontractors – but what rules do you need to consider when paying them?

Contractors and other businesses who regularly use the services of subcontractor must keep track of their payments as work of subcontractors applies to the Construction Industry Scheme (CIS).

CIS is a scheme governed by HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) that ensures that employers take account of tax on subcontractors’ pay.

The pay of subcontractors may need to be reduced to reflect this, but the reduction goes towards their income tax payments and National Insurance Contributions, so it is critical to get it right.

Are you a contractor?

A contractor is a business that pays subcontractors for construction work. Contractors could be building firms, government departments or any business.

A business is also a contractor if it has spent more than £3 million on construction within the past 12 months.

What are the penalties?

Non-compliance or submitting late reports can result in fines.

A report that is one day late can result in a £100 fine, while a delay of two months can lead to a fine of £200. If a report is 12 months late, the employer must pay £300 or five per cent of the CIS reductions on return, whichever is higher.

The penalty will be cancelled if the employer lets HMRC know that subcontractors were not paid in that particular month.

What help is on offer

Payroll software can help to ease the burden of the process, with functions specifically available for complying with CIS.

This means that employers can save time and cut paperwork by sending automated statements to the subcontractor and a CIS report to HMRC.

Confused about subcontractors and related tax matters?  For advice and support please contact Stephen Slater or Paul Gainford at RMT Accountants & Business Advisors on 0191 256 9500 or via the contact us form.


Our key focus is outstanding client service. We are always on the look out for high quality team members in the following areas…

If you would like to be part of a progressive, growing practice please upload your CV here.

  • Accepted file types: pdf, doc, png.
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.