Who is covered by CIS

The Construction Industry Scheme (CIS) covers most construction work to buildings, including site preparation, decorating and refurbishment.

Mainstream contractors

If your business is construction and you pay subcontractors for construction work, you’re a ‘mainstream’ contractor. This applies if you’re a:

  • builder
  • labour agency
  • gangmaster (or gang leader)
  • property developer

Deemed contractors

You count as a ‘deemed’ contractor if your business does not do construction work but you have spent more than £3 million on construction in the 12 months since you made your first payment. This could apply to:

  • housing association or arm’s length management organisations (ALMOs)
  • local authorities
  • government departments

You must monitor your construction spend if you are likely to become a deemed contractor.

Exceptions for contractors

CIS does not apply if your work is:

  • paid for by a charity or trust
  • paid for by a governing body or head teacher of a maintained school on behalf of the local education authority
  • on the subcontractor’s own property and worth less than £1,000 excluding materials - you must call the CIS helpline to get an exemption

CIS also does not apply if you’re a deemed contractor paying for:

  • work on property (that is not for sale or rent) for your own business use
  • a construction contract worth less than £1,000 excluding materials - you must call the CIS helpline to get an exemption

Construction work not covered by CIS

There are also certain jobs that are exempt from the scheme, including:

  • architecture and surveying
  • scaffolding hire (with no labour)
  • carpet fitting
  • delivering materials
  • work on construction sites that is clearly not construction, for example running a canteen or site facilities

The CIS guide for contractors and subcontractors explains in full what type of work is covered by CIS.