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HMRC internal manual

Construction Industry Scheme Reform Manual

Monthly return: issue monthly return: electronic filing of returns

CISR62600 Action guide contents

There are three methods by which a return might be filed electronically

  • Over the internet at , or
  • By Electronic Data Interchange (EDI), or
  • By independent third party software

Returns filed through the HMRC website

Contractors who wish to file on line must first have signed up to Government Gateway. This is an on-line registration programme which then permits a user to access and file returns for self-assessment, End of Year or CIS through the internet

Returns filed by Electronic Data Interchange (EDI)

EDI is the transfer of data from an application running on the computer of one organisation to an application running on the computer of another organisation, with no manual intervention.

What are the benefits of using EDI?

There are four key benefits

  • Savings - it’s cheaper because there will be savings on (for example) printing costs, paper storage and office manpower
  • Flexibility - EDI allows data to be sent to HMRC at a time that suits the contractor. However, the monthly deadlines for submitting returns do still apply
  • Speed - it’s a lot faster. Information is transferred in terms of hours or minutes as opposed to days for traditional ‘snail mail’. In addition, the electronic submission of forms cuts down on a lot of human intervention along the way.
  • Quality & Accuracy - EDI improves the quality of service since it enables information to go from one computer application to another with no manual intervention. So the likelihood of errors is significantly reduced. (For example, approximately 2% of hand-written forms attract errors at the subsequent keying-in stage). By using EDI, forms are processed at a near 100% accuracy rate.

Returns filed by independent third party software

If the preferred method of contact is electronically by independent third party software, no paper returns will be issued and no electronic prompt will be made. This is because registered third party software providers are authorised to generate approved substitute forms CIS300.

Users must similarly be registered on Government Gateway to file through an independent third party software provider.

An information pack to providers is available at

The e-channel and pre-population

Paper issued pre-populated returns are pre-populated on a monthly basis. That is to say, each return is pre-populated with information relating to subcontractor’s paid and/or verified. Returns filed through the e-channel, however, receive just one batch of pre-populated data - that needed when a contractor first accesses the HMRC free-filing application.

This is how it works:

  • A contractor registers and enrols for e-filing.
  • Pre-populated data relating both to payments made to subcontractors and subcontractors verified but as yet unpaid is then used to populate a subcontractor list held in the free-filing application.
  • Each pre-populated list is unique to each contractor.
  • It is downloaded once and once only - when a contractor first accesses the free-filing application.
  • For subsequent e-filed returns, contractors select subcontractors to include in a return from this subcontractor list.
  • New subcontractor details can be added to the list by the contractor, but
  • HMRC will not pre-populate the list again.
  • If a contractor chooses not to e-file, a paper pre-populated return will be generated automatically. (When a return is e-filed, however, the auto-pre-populated return generation is ‘switched off’).

Note. Prior to November 2009, when a contractor filed a monthly return using the HMRC online forms, they were presented with a message asking which monthly return they wished to file in the format ‘Month commencing 6t h’. However, from 23r d November 2009 the wording will be changed to read ‘Month ending 5t h’.

Future dated returns

As pre-population does not apply to the e-channel, returns for future periods may be filed electronically in the same way as a manually issued and filed returns. See CISR61250 for more information.