What is CIS and UTR and How do I Get it?
CIS stands for Construction Industry Scheme
UTR stands for Unique Taxpayer Reference
Getting paid via CIS is another way of saying that you are self-employed. CIS is a scheme that has been put in place by the government so they can tax self-employed people before they get paid rather than after. This means that all your pay will be taxed at a flat 20% if you have a UTR (we will get onto that shortly) or a 30% ‘emergency tax’ if you do not have a UTR. So, it goes without saying that it is worth having a UTR number.
You can then claim this tax back at the end of the tax year (April 4th) based on your expenses. If unsure what to do, then you can pay an accountant (around £200/£300) to do it for you. Definitely worth it if you know a good one.
So how do I get UTR number?
First up it is free to get one, there are so many companies out there trying to charge people for a free service. So, this is how you do it:
Firstly, you will need to get yourself a Government Gateway Login, you can do this via this link here – https://www.access.service.gov.uk/registration/email
If you already have a Government Gateway Login, then you can sign in via this link – https://www.access.service.gov.uk/login/signin/creds
Now you have your login to request your UTR number the easiest is to call: 03002003310
If you prefer you can register for Self-Assessment. You can do this via this link - https://www.gov.uk/register-for-self-assessment
You’ll get your Unique Taxpayer Reference (UTR) by post in 15 working days (21 days if you’re abroad). You’ll get it sooner if you download the HMRC app. Once you have it, it is yours forever so note that number down somewhere. Or even easier register to Fixed and store all your professional credentials in one place!
CIS is one of the most common schemes to be paid under whilst working in UK construction.