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HMRC internal manual

Construction Industry Scheme Reform Manual

Authenticate customer: overview: introduction


Under CIS, customers will be able to contact HMRC to

  • register for CIS,
  • verify subcontractors, and
  • confirm details on monthly returns.

They will do this by a number of different methods

  • telephone
  • visiting any HMRC office
  • using the internet.

Because of our commitment to keeping customer information confidential, it is essential that you know that the person wishing to use our services is the customer or someone whom you have on record as being authorised to act on their behalf. In order to ‘authenticate’that person/contact successfully you must first establish their identity and ensure that they know sufficient details relating to the customer to pass ‘authentication’. Where the contact is not the customer you must also establish that this third party has authority toact on the customer’s behalf.

Authentication will be the same for both subcontractors and contractors. It is the nature of the business entity that decides how the authentication process works. That means different steps may be required depending on whether the contact is a sole-trader, apartnership and so on. Only after authentication has been achieved do you need to decide whether you are taking actions within CIS for the contact as a subcontractor, contractoror both.

Contact History

Once the contact has supplied the following

  • a recognisable HMRC Reference (NINO, SA UTR, COTAX UTR, AO Reference or Employer Reference), depending upon taxpayer type and subject
  • the name associated with that HMRC reference, and you can retrieve the record associated with that reference,

a record will be made of that contact/call/access of the CIS record for that customer including

  • customer name and reference
  • subject of the call
  • office ID where contact made to Contact Centre (CC)
  • a unique ID for that particular contact
  • where contact is by phone, data passed from the automated call distributor
  • date and time of the contact
  • your personal ID.

Where the customer’s name and reference are matched to an existing record and the contact confirms they are the customer or represent the customer directly, for example as a director or partner, the contact record will be updated to show that the contact has been authenticated.

Where there is a record of earlier bogus or suspect contacts it will be necessary to request additional personal details from the contact in order to allay your suspicions about the contact and sufficient to ‘Authenticate’ the caller.

Once the ‘Authentication’ process is completed successfully you may move on to the purpose of the call/contact/access to the CIS record.