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Consultation into possible reform of CIS (Construction Industry Scheme)

Updated: May 11, 2023


The Government have announced a number of tax consultations on its Tax Administration and Maintenance Day, 27 April. These include measures designed to support the Government’s ambition to simplify and modernise the tax system, tackle non-compliance, make the tax system fairer for taxpayers and to make the customs system work better for traders.


One of the consultations concerns possible reforms to the Construction Industry Scheme (CIS) involving payments to sub-contractors in the construction industry. That scheme has been the subject of several changes since it was first introduced in 1971 as a revenue protection scheme designed to address the risk presented by a sector with large numbers of workers paid in cash.


Sub-contractors that meet certain criteria are permitted to be paid gross, without tax deducted at source. One of the conditions for gross payment status (GPS) is that their business is compliant with direct tax obligations. In 2021 the VAT domestic reverse charge was introduced to prevent VAT abuse in the construction sector.


The current GPS tests may fail to exclude businesses that have committed VAT abuse. Consequently, HMRC propose to include compliance with VAT obligations, i.e. timely filing and payment, as part of the GPS tests.

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