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CIS card

The CIS card is a card that you get after you start working under the Construction Industry Scheme. With it, you’re giving contractors evidence that you’re a registered self-employed construction worker working under CIS. 

It’s not the same as the CSCS card which shows your skills and qualifications instead.

How does the CIS card work?

The main purpose of having a CIS card is to use it as proof that you’re registered for CIS and to get paid correctly via the scheme. Without it, you may not be accepted onto certain jobs. 

After you register for the Construction Industry Scheme, 20% is deducted from you salary by your employer. This is then sent to HMRC. Often this is more than you should be paying. This means that in April, at the start of each new tax year, you’ll likely be eligible to claim a refund, known as the CIS rebate. For most CIS construction workers, this amounts to about £2,000.

Help! I don’t have a card

Do you have a CIS card? If not, don’t worry. You may not need one for any of the following reasons:

  • An umbrella company employs you
  • Instead of the building contractor, you work for an agency 
  • You’re charged tax at 30% of your salary

If you’re not sure whether you’re supposed to have a card or not, just double check with your contractor.

How do I apply for a card?

It’s simple. 

But first, have you already registered for Self Assessment with HMRC? If you’re not yet self-employed, that’s your first step. You must do this by 5th October in any given tax year. You do this so that HMRC knows that you need to file a tax return – and oce you’ve registered, you’ll receive what’s known as a Unique Taxpayer Reference UTR) number. You’ll need to provide to get your CIS card.  

Next, you should register for CIS either online on via the CIS helpline. Give them a call on 0300-200-3210, Monday to Friday, 8am-6pm.

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