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As a self-employed professional working in construction, you’ll need to know all about the Construction Industry Scheme (CIS) and how it works. You’ll also need to know whether you count as a contractor or subcontractor and how this affects you and your CIS responsibilities.

What is the Construction Industry Scheme and how does it work?

A tax deduction scheme for both contractors and subcontractors in the construction sector, CIS helps to reduce levels of fraud and tax evasion in the industry by ensuring that subcontractors declare their tax and National Insurance (NI) to HMRC.

It works in the same way as the PAYE system for employees in the sense that it requires contractors to withhold either 20% or 30% of the subcontractor’s payments (depending on whether they’re registered or not) to then pay on to HMRC.

For more information on CIS, take a look at our Construction Industry Scheme page.

Working through an umbrella company – am I a contractor or subcontractor?

A contractor is hired directly by a client to carry out a project, but they might need to hire a subcontractor to help out with the work. This could be because they need additional workers, or there may be certain specialist areas where they don’t have the expertise.

A subcontractor is hired by the contractor – not the client.

With regard to CIS, an umbrella company contractor is seen as a subcontractor

How do I register for CIS as an umbrella company contractor?

Unlike a contractor who is required to register for the scheme, a subcontractor doesn’t have to, but in not doing so, deductions are still taken from their payments, but at the higher rate of 30% (as opposed to 20%).

As an umbrella company doesn’t have any involvement with the CIS process, the umbrella contractor will need to register for the scheme themselves.

With Contractor Umbrella, once you’ve completed our sign-up form, you’ll need to provide your CIS reference number, and if you’ve not yet registered then we’ll send you a link taking you to the HMRC website where you can do so.

We hope you have found this page useful. If you have any further questions on CIS or anything else, our team of experts are available to answer any queries, so give us a call on 01206 591 000 or email

Why Choose Contractor Umbrella?

Contractor Umbrella is the hassle-free, straight talking umbrella company that provides umbrella employment for UK based contractors and freelancers. Independently voted as the best umbrella company by the readers of Contractor UK.

As one of the most trusted umbrella companies in the UK, we guarantee our employees peace of mind, absolute compliance and complete security. We are one of the longest standing and most respected umbrella companies in the UK.

If you’d like to find out more, call us on 01206 591 000 or request a call back by completing our online form.

Benefits of working through Contractor Umbrella;

  • Fast and easy registration –  be ready to work in 24 hours, simply register online and we’ll take care of the rest.
  • Calculate your take home pay – use our online calculator to find out how much you could be taking home through Contractor Umbrella.
  • Same day payments – We offer same day payments as standard providing funds are received into our account by 9am, for no additional fee.
  • Our Service Guarantee – is our guarantee that you will be looked after at every step of the way.
  • Flexible Limited Company accountancy – when you sign up to our sister company Dolan Accountancy, you can transfer to Contractor Umbrella when umbrella employment better suits or your assignment sits inside IR35.
  • Employee Benefits at Contractor Umbrella there are many benefits available to you as our employee including Childcare Vouchers, our Employee Rewards Scheme, Group Pension Scheme, Foreign Currency Exchange, Contractor Accommodation, Contractor Mortgages and much more.
  • Expert Contractor Support Team – Every employee of Contractor Umbrella has access to our expert Contractor Support Team who are available to deal with any queries that you may have. You can get in touch with the Contractor Support Team, through the online chat, by email or by telephone.
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