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CIS deductions: what expenses can you claim?

  • 3 min read
  • Last updated 17 May 2022

If you’re working under CIS (the Construction Industry Scheme), there are a few CIS deductions you can use to maximise your rebate.

Car and van expenses

If you use a car or van for your work, you can claim transport in two ways.

Do you use your car for work 75% of the time?

  • You can claim 75% of leasing payments, fuel, car insurance, road tax, etc.
  • People who use this method often purchase the vehicle for work purposes only

Or you can use HMRC’s simplified expense rate. It’s an allowance called the Mileage Allowance and you can claim a flat rate of 45p per mile to cover petrol. If you already owned your vehicle and now use it often for work, then this method might suit you better.

Be aware, you cannot expense the cost of your vehicle. Use the Mileage Allowance instead.

If you’re claiming the Mileage Allowance, we’ve got a handy calculator. Use it to work out what you could claim depending on the vehicle that you use.

Do you own the vehicle you use for work?
Did you buy the vehicle specifically to use for work?
Type of vehicle
How many miles do you drive per year?
If you’re self-employed and use your car for work, you can claim back a flat rate for your usage costs using the Mileage Allowance. If you’re employed, claim the mileage tax relief instead.

Tools and safety equipment

You can only claim tools or safety equipment that belong to you and that you bought specifically for work. You cannot claim tools that belong to others, like from your contractor for example.

Examples of tools and safety equipment that you can claim would be:

  • Power tools
  • Drills
  • Reflective vests
  • Protective gloves
  • Safety helmets

You can also claim the expense of cleaning and repairing any of your tools and equipment.


In some cases, you can potentially claim some of your rent. However, it’s more difficult for construction workers. HMRC can argue that most of your work would take place outside of your home and therefore you wouldn’t be able to be eligible to claim.

Although the above is more likely to occur, in other instances where you are eligible, you can claim the Home Office Allowance.

  • This is HMRC’s simplified expense rate, where you don’t have to do any calculations – hooray!

Another option would be to claim based on how much you use the space. You might be able to claim back more with this method, which is why people use it, instead of the allowance.

  • Let’s say you use your home as an office 10% of the time
  • This could be for organising receipts, repairing or cleaning your tools, etc
  • Depending on what you use, you can claim 10% of your rent or bills like electricity and gas

You can only claim one of the ways we listed, not both.

Things you might not know you can claim

  • Your work phone bill
  • Builders’ liability insurance
  • Accountancy fees (including our fee at TaxScouts)

What you need to do before you can claim something

Is it worth claiming these CIS deductions?

It can be! Whether or not claiming the CIS deductions makes sense depends on your personal situation entirely. Although it might be worth it for some, for others, it might not.

If your total expenses are less than £1,000 per tax year, then you can claim the Trading Allowance, which is a tax-free allowance. It’s easy to do and you don’t need to keep your receipts.

You can also use our CIS Tax Rebate calculator to figure out which is the better option for you.

Need to file your CIS tax return?

Well, it’s your lucky day. Get your CIS tax return filed by an accredited accountant for just £119, all in. Our CIS accountants have specialist knowledge of construction worker tax needs including what expenses you can claim, how to maximise your profit, and more. 

Due a tax refund? We’ll take payment from your rebate for £239 if you prefer not to pay in advance.

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