HMRC has reported that there are currently five issues affecting subcontractor verification through the HMRC CIS online service. These issues could affect the filing of monthly returns through online filing which is now compulsory. Whilst there are penalties for late submission of CIS contractor monthly returns one would expect HMRC to apply a light touch when HMRC’s internal IT issues are the reason for the delay.
The five issues outlined by HMRC are as follows:
Issue 1: verifications obtained online. Where subcontractors’ verification details were obtained online, the HMRC CIS online service is removing those details when they become 2 years old. This means that subcontractors that are still being used will need to be verified again or deleted from the system. A return can still be submitted even if one or more subcontractors have not been verified.
Issue 2: verifications by telephone, where the data is then manually input into the HMRC CIS online service. Subcontractors that had been verified by calling the CIS Helpline and then manually input onto HMRC CIS online service are no longer available for viewing. Subcontractors that are still being used will need to be verified again or deleted from the system. A return can still be submitted even if one or more subcontractors have not been verified.
Issue 3: adding new subcontractors to the HMRC CIS online service. It is important to choose the right category of subcontractor when a subcontractor is added to the HMRC CIS online service. If the wrong option is chosen it will not be possible to verify the subcontractor and the record will need to be deleted and re-entered.
Issue 4: using the HMRC CIS online service to send your return to HMRC. When sending a monthly return if one or more subcontractors are selected that need to be verified, there will be a message warning about this. The return should still be sent and the subcontractors re-verified before the next return is due.
Issue 5: ‘Timeout’ error messages. This message can display where contractors have set up more subcontractors on the service than it was designed for. If a ‘timeout’ error message occurs the size of the subcontractor list needs to be reduced or perhaps a more robust third-party commercial software package may be required. HMRC have said there is no short-term fix for this issue.