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HMRC internal manual

Construction Industry Scheme Reform Manual

Monthly return: temporarily inactive schemes - returns not up to date


CISR67000 Information contents

Inactivity can be requested in the following ways




  • By ticking box 8 on page 4 of a paper-based contractor’s monthly return
  • By checking the relevant box under the declarations section of a return filed electronically
  • By telephone
  • By correspondence

This section concentrates on requests for inactivity that are made by return. See CISR67640 for details of what to do when requests are first made by telephone or are in writing.

From 27 October 2008, where a request is made for ‘Inactivity’ on a paper contractor’s return, CIS will automatically set a period of 6 months ‘Inactivity’ starting with the next return period following the contractor’s return on which the request was made. CIS will not look back (as it did previously) to see if there are any returns that are still outstanding for the contractor scheme.

Where a request for inactivity was made by return up to 27 October 2008, the CIS Computer system looked at the returns history to see if the contractor has submitted all of their monthly returns. Where they had, ‘inactivity’ was automatically set, however, where CIS found returns that were missing, either in the current or previous years, ‘inactivity’ was not automatically set. Instead a form CIS323(b) will be sent to the contractor. The text for this read:

‘On your recent Contractors’ monthly return you ticked the box on page 4 indicating that you will not be paying any subcontractors for the foreseeable future. We would normally suspend issue of any further monthly returns for a period of six months. Unfortunately we cannot do this as there are currently monthly returns outstanding for earlier months.

‘Before we can treat you as inactive you must send in all outstanding returns and ask for inactivity again when you are up to date. Please send the outstanding returns straightaway to: Construction Industry Scheme, Comben House, Farriers Way, Bootle, L75 1HL.

‘If you have not paid any subcontractors in the months for which the returns are outstanding, you can make a NIL return by phoning the CIS helpline.

‘You will be liable to penalties for any Contractors’ monthly return received late, even if that return is a NIL return made after its due date.

‘You can also get information about filing your monthly returns on line by logging on to our website at

The actual process for setting inactivity is detailed at CISR67630 whilst the action to take following a letter or telephone call is described at CISR67640.