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HMRC internal manual

Construction Industry Scheme Reform Manual

The Scheme: construction operations: dealing with 'scope' enquiries

CISR14000 Information contents

This action guide explains what you should do when approached for a decision by a contractor or a subcontractor about whether a particular operation is within the scope of the Construction Industry Scheme.

  1. Unless this information is contained in the enquiry letter, you should ask the taxpayer
* for a detailed description of the operation under enquiry
* whether the work is being done within the UK.

In all cases you will need to obtain precise details of the work to be carried out, it may be necessary for you to obtain a copy of the contract defining the operations to be carried out, to help you decide whether or not the contract is in any measure caught by the Construction Industry Scheme”. This is essential in the event that you are asked to confirm your decision in writing to either, or both, parties to the contract. When doing so you should always avoid generalisation and ‘To whom it may concern’ type letters and only refer to specific operations carried out by the subcontractor.

  1. Consult the guidelines in this section to decide whether the operation is within the scope of CIS.
  2. If you are unable to reach a decision, seek the assistance of a Higher Officer who may approach the CIS Technical Team for advice (CISR97090).
  3. Write to the taxpayer reporting your conclusion and inviting them to send you a written appeal on receipt of the assessment notice if they wish to appeal.
  4. Give the statutory reference on which you have based your decision.

When dealing with enquiries from subcontractors or contractors about whether a particular operation is caught you should be careful to express your conclusion in terms of the question put to you. Thus, if a subcontractor asks ‘Is the installation of widgets in buildings subject to the Construction Industry Scheme?’ your reply should say that ‘The installation of widgets in buildings is/is not subject to the Construction Industry Scheme’. Above all, you should not say something like ‘The work your business does is outside the scope of the Scheme’. This is because a small change in the type of work done or the contractual arrangements may later bring it within the scope of the Scheme.