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HMRC internal manual

Construction Industry Scheme Reform Manual

Monthly returns: errors on returns: unresolved multiple returns for the same scheme and period

CISR66000 Information contents

Background Note 

Under Regulation 4 SI2005/2045 a contractor is required to make only one monthly return (CIS300) which contains all of the information relating to payments made to subcontractors during that particular filing month. It is not acceptable for a contractor to file several contractor returns which together compile the total of the payments made to subcontractors during that month.

Where exceptionally more than one return is received from a contractor for a particular scheme and covering the same period, a CIS323G letter will be sent to the contractor. The text of this can be found at CISR64040. This form will be issued by the operator being given a prompt when using the function “Correct Error on Return” in CISR, however, there is no confirmation box or message displayed on screen to confirm that it has been sent.

The ‘unresolved multiple returns for the same scheme and period’ window provides you with a list of the ‘effective’ return and any number of subsequent ‘multiple’ returns.

You can only correct an error on an effective return. So, if an error needs to be corrected on a ‘multiple’ return it needs to be changed to an ‘effective’ return first.

You will note that the ‘Correct Error on Return’ button is also located on the Identify Customer window. This should only be used by CIS Unit staff when handling Work Items and will be their main route in to this function as the work item will be the usual prompt for this action.

Please note that if it is not necessary to authenticate the customer, the UTR or Accounts Office references found in the ‘Identify Customer’ window should all be left blank. This will allow direct access to the ‘Correct Error on Return’ button from the ‘Identify Customer’ window. By contrast, as soon as either of these references is entered, you commit yourself to authenticating the customer concerned. This is why, once the references have been input, the ‘Correct Error on Return’ button goes grey as it is no longer ‘live’.

To get to the stage of making a ‘multiple’ return ‘effective’, proceed as follows.

  1. At the ‘Identify Customer’ window enter either the
* UTR, 


* Accounts office reference
  1. Alternatively, select the ‘Find Individual’ or ‘Find scheme’ button
  2. Or you can bypass the authentication window by simply selecting ‘internal enquiry’ under ‘contact’. This will take you directly to the CIS Main Menu. Go to step 8 below.
  3. Use the drop-down menu under ‘Contact’ to select who is contacting you about the error. This is a mandatory field. There are four options:
* Customer
* Agent
* Capacitor
* Third Party, or
* Internal enquiry

Select one.  

If you select one of the first three, you will need to authenticate the caller. Proceed to step 5 below.  

If you select 'internal enquiry', you will skip the authentication stage. Selecting 'OK' will take you to the CIS main menu. Proceed to step 8 below.  
  1. If you need to authenticate, use the drop-down menu under ‘Channel’ to select by which method you have been contacted. This is also a mandatory field. Again, there are four options:
* Phone (inbound)
* Phone (outbound)
* Paper, or
* Face to face

Select one.  
  1. Selecting ‘OK’ will take you to the authenticate window.
  2. Authenticate the caller. Again, selecting ‘OK’ will take you to the CIS main menu.
  3. Select ‘Correct Return Error’, or, if the contractor has more than one scheme, check the box to the immediate left of the appropriate scheme, then ‘Correct Return Error’.
  4. You will now be at the ‘Identify Required Return’ window. The relevant AO reference should already be pre-populated but if you got here from step 3, you will need to enter the AO reference. Enter the period of the return you need to amend in the format MM/YYYY then select ‘OK’.
  5. Assuming there are unresolved multiple returns for the same scheme and period, you will now be in a window with the same heading.
  6. The window lists all returns found with their match number. (Remember, every time a return is processed for the same scheme and period a different match number is allocated to it. This helps you to keep track of any changes made to any of the returns).The window also shows the current status of the return and the channel by which it was sent to HMRC.
  7. Select the ‘multiple’ return you wish to resolve then scroll down to the ‘action’ drop-down menu at the bottom of the page. There are four options.
* Make effective
* Merge
* Unmatch, and
* Discard.

Choose 'Make effective'. (the ‘multiple’ then becomes the ‘effective return and the previous ‘effective’ return becomes ‘superseded’), then select 'OK'. This will take you to the 'return details' window where you will find that the multiple you have just made effective is shown as the return to be amended.  

See the footnote after step17 below for an explanation of the other options here.  
  1. The ‘return details’ window shows the return that has now been found for amendment. Having checked the details to establish what needs to be revised, select ‘continue amendment’ from the drop-down menu at the bottom of the window. Selecting ‘OK’ will take you to the ‘Find verified subcontractor’ window.
  2. A list of the payments to subcontractors as detailed on the recently made effective and captured return is provided. Selecting any part of the relevant line will automatically populate the ‘subcontractor details’ and ‘payment details’ boxes. Some lines may be blank and marked with an asterisk (*). This means that the information was missing from the return when it was processed.
  3. Make any corrections the contractor wishes you to make and select ‘Update’. This will add the amended details to the list of subcontractors on the return. Repeat as necessary.
Note: An exclamation mark ('!') to the left of any entries from the captured return suggests that something is either incorrect or was unclear. Ensure that these entries are corrected as well.  
  1. When you are content with the corrections made, select ‘Correction Completed’.
  2. The next window will give you the message ‘by selecting OK a new version of the return data will be created and processed’. Use the drop-down menu to select the reason for the amendment. There are five options.
* Telephone call
* Letter
* Manual capture correspondence
* Return continuation sheet or
* Work item (only people with the role of CIS exception handler should select this)

Selecting 'OK' will take you back to the CIS main menu.  

Step 12 options

Make effective - as set out in step 12 above.

Merge - use this where the multiple return was intended to supplement the effective return (that is, the contractor tells us that they missed a payment off the effective return and sent us a second return containing the omission - see the example scenario at CISR66020.

By selecting ‘merge’ the system will copy the subcontractor entries from the multiple to the effective return automatically. You can only ever merge a multiple or effective return. You cannot merge two multiples, but you can merge a second multiple into a return made effective by merging a multiple with an original effective.

Unmatch - in the unlikely event that a contractor denies all knowledge of a multiple, it is unmatched from his scheme and will create an unmatched work item (WI). It will then be for the CIS Unit at Shipley to try and find out to whom the return actually belongs. This is likely to be a very seldom-used scenario.

Discard - where the contractor tells us that a multiple return is wrong, or that the multiple is in fact an identical duplicate of the original ‘effective’ return, or that we would be better off correcting the ‘effective’ return rather than trying to deduce what the multiple is telling us, we would use ‘discard’.

It is a means to inform both the system and users who are looking at the scheme’s returns that this return (which is now discarded) was not an effective return for the scheme and period in question. It informs us that the decision has been made that it contains no information that needs to be reflected in the effective return.

You may also see the status of a return described as ‘concluded’ This means that the Scheme is either ceased, dormant, cancelled or is not an XP or PSC scheme for the period covered by the return.

Resolved - say, for example, a contractor has already submitted a return for a scheme and period (match number 1), has subsequently corrected this with another return for the same scheme and period (match number 2) and has now submitted a third return (match number 3), again for the same scheme and period with the advice that this needs to be merged with the currently effective return.

Selecting ‘merge’ at the ‘identify required return’ window, the results will be:

  • A new return match is made (match 4) with an ‘effective’ status. This return combines all subcontractor entries from matches 2 and 3. Match 4 now has a history which will show return traces back to matches 2 and 3
  • Match 3 (previously a ‘multiple’) is now described as ‘resolved’. Users will not be able to update this return even though it can still be viewed.
  • Match 2 will now be ‘superseded’. Again, users will not be able to update this return either even though it can still be viewed.