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HMRC internal manual

Construction Industry Scheme Reform Manual

Verify subcontractor: overview: verify subcontractor - sole trader


CISR51600 Action guide contents

Before making a first payment to a subcontractor the contractor, or their appropriate representative, must contact HMRC to confirm that the subcontractor is known to HMRC and registered with CIS and to obtain details of the subcontractor’s payment status. This process is known as ‘Verification’. Contractors may choose to make separate contact/calls for each subcontractor that they wish to verify, but many will wish to verify more than one subcontractor at the time of each visit or call.

A contractor may contact HMRC using a number of different channels, for example,




  • by telehone (to verify a maximum of 10 subcontractors)
  • by Internet using the Government Gateway
  • in writing.

Depending on the number of subcontractors the contractor/caller wishes to verify, they may be redirected to another channel. For example, where more than 10 subcontractors are to be verified at any one time (see below).



Confirming the identity of the contractor/caller

At the time of contacting HMRC the contractor will initially be expected to provide sufficient information for you to confirm that the caller is the contractor or the contractors’ appropriate representative acting on their behalf. This process is known as ‘Authentication’ refer to CISR21000 for more details about authentication. Remember that an employee, or the spouse of the contractor may ring to verify subcontractors in their capacity as payroll clerk and provided they have all the information relating to the contractor to pass ‘Authentication’ you should not refuse to verify a subcontractor to someone acting in this capacity.

Having confirmed the identity of the caller the contractor will be expected to confirm that a contract has been agreed, or a tender is in place with each of the subcontractors they wish to verify on that occasion. This is recorded on the CIS record on the ‘Declaration’ window.

Identifying the subcontractor

It is important that HMRC can establish the identity of subcontractors working within CIS and for this reason the contractor must provide specific information about the subcontractor(s) that they wishes to pay under the Scheme. Namely all of the following,

  • Unique Taxpayer Reference (UTR)
  • National Insurance Number (NINO)
  • Name, or trading name, known to HMRC

However, where a subcontractor has not yet been allocated with a NINO, verification may proceed in this instance without this information.

The CIS system will then check to see if the system holds a CIS record for the subcontractor.

Where you do have such a record we will confirm to the contractor that the subcontractor is registered for CIS, and tell the contractor to either make payments

  • Gross (without any deduction )


  • Net of a standard rate deduction.

Where you do not have a record or cannot find one for the subcontractor because of incorrect or incomplete information you should tell the contractor that the subcontractor does not appear to have registered for CIS. The contractor should be advised to make a deduction from the payment at a higher rate until the subcontractor can be verified.

Contact wishes to verify more than 10 subcontractors by telephone

Where a contractor telephones and confirms that they wish to verify more than 10 subcontractors at any one time the Contact Centre will advise that a call back will be needed. The Contact Centre will then take details and create a work item for the CIS Centre at Newry to action who will call the contractor back for verification of 11 or more subcontractors.

Contact wishes to verify less than 10 subcontractors by paper

Where a paper request is made to verify 10 subcontractors or less, this request should be handled in the office that receives it, and it need not be forwarded to the contractor’s processing office, with a written reply going out to the contractor by post. Your letter should tell the contractor that a quicker service can be obtained by contacting the Contact centre (See CISR97020) or by making the request online through the HMRC Website.

Contact wishes to verify more than 10 subcontractors by paper

Where a contractor writes and confirms that they wish to verify more than 10 subcontractors at any one time, the Processing Office should on the same day as it is received fax the request through to the CIS Centre at Newry (See CISR97060) who will deal with it. The CIS Centre will aim to deal with the request from the contractor within 48 hours of receipt.