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HMRC internal manual

Debt Management and Banking Manual

Debt and return pursuit: CIS: CIS agents

In CIS there are two main types of agent; a:

  • Customer Level Agent (CLA), that is an agent with the subcontractor’s or contractor’s authority to act for them in their Self Assessment (SA) or Corporation Tax (COTAX) affairs, who the customer also wants to act for them in CIS
  • Scheme Specific Agent, that is an agent who acts only for a contractor in respect of a specific CIS scheme.

Customer Level Agent

When registering for CIS the customer will be asked to confirm their agent’s details and say whether they want them to act on their behalf.

In the Register Subcontractor screen, if the customer:

  • does want the agent to act, the ‘Yes’ radio button will remain selected; as a result, the Inherit Agent indicator in SA/CT Agent Details on CIS will be set to ‘Yes’ and the agent will be able to deal with all the customer’s CIS businesses
  • doesn’t want the agent to act, the ‘No’ radio button must be selected and the Inherit Agent indicator on the CIS record will be set to ‘No’; doing this will mean that if the customer has more than one CIS business their SA/COTAX authorised agent will not be able to deal with any of them.

If a customer changes their mind about using their SA/COTAX agent after registering for CIS, we can amend the Inherit Agent indicator using function Update Customer.

A customer can’t choose a different CLA for CIS. But they can choose whether to have their CLA represent them in their CIS business affairs.

To have an agent act for them in CIS a customer must have already authorised an agent to act for them in SA/COTAX. The customer can then tell us that they also wish that agent to act for them in CIS.

Output to Customer Level Agents

Client is a subcontractor

A CLA is authorised to represent the CIS customer in respect of all their subcontractor registrations. They will receive copies of anything we send to the subcontractor.

Client is a contractor

A CLA is able to act for CIS contractor schemes, unless the contractor has already appointed an agent to act specifically for a scheme. Contractor scheme details flow from EBS to CIS and the scheme is automatically registered.

At registration the Allow Scheme Output to Agent indicator on the contractor record is set to ‘No’. As a result we do not automatically send contractor scheme output, such as monthly returns to a CLA.

If a contractor does want their CLA to receive scheme output, they or their agent must either:

  • phone the CIS Helpline
  • write to the CIS Subcontractor Registration Team at NICO.

Any such request will apply to all the customer’s contractor schemes that do not already have a Scheme Specific Agent. If it’s your responsibility to deal with these requests you must amend the Allow Scheme Output to Agent indicator to Yes in function Update Customer.

Note that unless it is changed, the Yes indicator will remain in place even when there is a change of CLA.

CLA activities in CIS

A CLA can carry out the following CIS activities on behalf of their client:

  • verification of subcontractors
  • sending in and correcting the contractor’s monthly return
  • getting correspondence about the scheme - on request.

Important: A CLA cannot register subcontractors; the subcontractor must do that themselves.