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HMRC internal manual

Construction Industry Scheme Reform Manual

HM Revenue & Customs
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Late Return Automatic Penalties: Failure to submit a monthly return (CIS300)

CISR65600 Action Guide contents

Contractor obligations

A completed return (CIS300) or nil return will be expected from all active contractor schemes for each monthly return period, (a return period runs from the 6t h of one month to the 5t h of the next). These returns must reach HMRC by the 19t h of the month (the filing date) in which the return period ended. If the return or nil return is received after this date it will be treated as being late.

The pursuit of late monthly returns is handled by Debt Management and Banking (DMB) on the Integrated Debt Management System (IDMS). The CIS system will inform SAFE when it identifies that a return has not been received by the ‘late return pursuit date’. The time trigger for this internal input action is currently 10 days after the return filing date: the 29t h of the month.

If the return or nil return is not received by the filing date the contractor will be liable to a late return penalty for that period and any subsequent months where the return is still not received, or received late. SAFE will issue a penalty for any return not received by the due date and if the penalty is either not paid or not appealed against then SAFE will pass the penalty charge across to IDMS.


A return will not be expected from a contractor scheme for a return period in the following circumstances and so a penalty will not be created;

  • The scheme is inactive for the complete return period.
  • The scheme’s ‘effective’ date is after the last day of the return period. (‘Effective’ meaning that at least one subcontractor was paid or verified (or both) during the period for which the return is needed).
  • The scheme is merged, succeeded, or transferred to another scheme and the date this applies from is on or before the first day of the return period.
  • The scheme has ceased and the date of cessation is before the first day of the return period.
  • The scheme type has changed so it is no longer a contractor scheme and the date this applies from is before the date of the return period.

Where a ‘Return exemption’ (see CISR69050) has been set for the month, CIS will not now be expecting a monthly return but this will still not prevent CIS penalties from being issued unless you also set penalty inhibitions (see CISR65090) against future penalty dates for the month concerned.