Finance, Taxation and Insurance Toolkit

FIS is a dedicated resource that exists to support our members.  A key part of this is helping to manage the red tape, take the pain out and support the development of your business.  Members can access a range of helplines, toolkits and resources through the FIS.  If you don’t find what you are looking for below, give the FIS team a call on 0121 707 0077, this is a growing bank of information and needs to meet your needs.

Finance, Taxation and Insurance Toolkit

Whether it be  preparing for Brexit or the pending Domestic Reverse Charge VAT, FIS has some useful resources to support members below.  Remember, as well as direct advice through FIS we have dedicated helpines covering legal, employment and taxation issues that can be reached through 0121 707 0077.

Implementing Reverse Charge VAT Toolkit

Reverse Charge VAT is being implemented for Construction

From 1 March 2021 the domestic VAT reverse charge was introduced for most supplies of building and construction services.

The charge applies to standard and reduced-rate VAT services:

  • for individuals or businesses who are registered for VAT in the UK
  • reported within the Construction Industry Scheme

What is Reverse Charge VAT?

Members need to clear when and how reverse charge VAT should be deployed.

In simple terms it means that whilst VAT must still be accounted for at each stage in the supply chain, for construction work the cash will only be collected on the top contract, VAT will be shown but the money will be reverse charged (zeroed out on the invoice) and payments will therefore be net VAT on all invoices below this in the supply chain.

If you are used to charging and paying VAT it may have a negative impact on cashflow.  This simple calculator helps you to work out this impact – Reverse VAT Simple Cash Flow Calculator

Determining whether the Reverse Charge Applies – communicating with your customer

Reverse charge VAT will involve decision making before an invoice is sent to a customer based on the nature of the work done.  Your accounts departments will need to know whether the customer is VAT registered and whether the customer is CIS registered to determine whether the Reverse Charge is to be applied.

You should collect customers VAT registration numbers and CIS UTR to help determine status.  It is always worth requesting an End-User Certificate to confirm VAT status, we have provided an example below (see template below).

Communicating with Sub Contractors

It is suggested a letter or email is sent to your VAT registered subcontractors to draw their attention to the coming changes and start them thinking and planning. The more firms that know and understand that there are changes ahead the better. This letter is not just for your subcontractors. Imagine your contractors sending it to you, many contractors will use it or their own form of words. (see template below)

What are end users and intermediaries?

An ‘end user’ is a term used in reverse charge law and needs thought and to be understood.  It is a business who will use the building or structure themselves in their own business either as a building to sell, or to rent out, or for their own use, e.g. as offices.

Development and property companies are end users because they will rent or sell what they have commissioned. They deal in assets rather than supply construction services.

Another construction business who will add your work to their work and bill everything to a client as construction services is NOT an end user.

Intermediary suppliers are VAT and CIS registered businesses that are connected or linked to end users by either being part of the same corporate group or by having a relevant interest in the same land where the construction works are taking place.  The reverse charge does not apply to supplies to end users and intermediary suppliers where they tell their supplier in writing that they’re end users or intermediary suppliers.

FIS members are reminded to pay particular attention to use of intermediaries such as agencies and payroll companies to understand the implications of VAT associated with their services and credit options that they may have available to mitigate any impact.

This handy flow-chart helps you to determine the status of your client (it should be read in conjunction with the training guidance notes here).

What else needs to be done

Make sure to test your own cash flow, and consider whether you are likely to have issues due to the impact.  There is a spreadsheet available to help you do this in the links below.  There are a number of options still open to you.

Consider becoming a Monthly Repayment Trader

One option to help you limit the impact on cashflow is to apply to become a monthly repayment trader (the spreadsheet in the links below helps you to compare the impact).  Apart from the additional admin, cash flow is the biggest concern. Many companies will be paying out VAT on material and non-construction services, but will not be collecting it on their invoices, so you will be down by the VAT for a quarter.  Worth talking to your accountant and you need to check that you will benefit, but effectively if you move to a situation where the VAT are going to be owing you money, you can consider moving to monthly returns.

To switch to monthly returns you can:

  • Ring the HMRC helpline 0300 200 3700
  • Apply online to change your registration details
  • Fill in form VAT 484 and send it to the address on the form

If you cannot pay your tax bill on time

If you simply ignore it and then do not have the funds to pay your tax bill, you will be liable to fines and in worst case, HMRC could serve you with a winding up order.  If you approach HMRC in advance there are payment options that can be agreed.

Find out more about Time to Pay Arrangements

Resources to help you to comply

Useful Links

Latest webinar on Reverse Charge VAT from HMRC

A simplified introduction to Reverse Charge VAT and how it relates to the interiors sector was prepared by Haslers for the FIS in the May edition of the SpecFinish magazine (see Page 14-15)

Public guidance has now been released and is available here.  We urge all members to download a copy and take the time to read it. Companies must not start reverse charging before the start date.

To access the Legal and Taxation helpline call:  0121 707 0077

Latest Updates

1.3.21 Reverse Charge Introduced – FIS maintains a list of Frequently Asked Questions (available here) – don’t hesitate to feed your questions in or seek clarification where needed

19.2.21 FIS Writes to Chancellor urging for an Extension to VAT Deferral and Flexibility in Apprentice Funding – with time short and delay unlikely, FIS has written to the Chancellor seeking financial support for impacted businesses in meeting VAT bills.

29.1.20 #StopReverseVAT Campaign – FIS, alongside Build UK, is part of a coalition of industry trade bodies calling on the Chancellor to withdraw the VAT Reverse Charge which is due to be introduced on 1 March.

15.1.20 Last ditch call to see sense and delay the implementation of Reverse Charge VAT – Following a meeting with HMRC this week, FIS has joined forces with a number of trade bodies from across the construction sector to urge the Chancellor to review the implementation of the Reverse Charge VAT on the 1st March 2021.

3.12.20 FIS Calls for Reverse Charge VAT plans to be scrapped – FIS has joined a powerful coalition construction bodies in calling for reverse charge VAT plans to be scrapped.  In a letter signed by 44 bodies, the coalition points out that many SMEs in the supply chain are critical to delivering the Government’s ‘Build Build Build’ strategy.  The introduction of Reverse Charge VAT will have a significant negative impact on the industry, substantially increasing the burden on business and restricting cash flow in what is already an extremely difficult economic climate.

Appropriate Business Insurance

The myriad of insurance products available to construction businesses can be confusing, below we provide a brief definition of the various types of insurance common for businesses in the Finishes and Interiors Sector.

Employers’ Liability Insurance – is designed to provide cover for an Insured’s legal liability for injury arising out of the Insured’s actions or failures to act where a duty of care is owed. If an Employee suffers death, disease, illness or injury as a result of an Employers negligence, they may look to bring a claim against their employer. However, the employee in question will need to prove their employer breached that duty of care and that in turn led to said injury, disease or illness. For example, an employer failing to undertake adequate risk assessments or providing adequate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).

If a legal liability were to be established, a UK Employers Liability policy is designed to respond in accordance with the terms, conditions and exceptions of the policy.

Public Liability Insurance – is designed to provide cover for an Insured’s legal liability for injury and/or damage to third party person/s and/or their property arising out of the Insured’s actions or failures to act where a duty of care is owed. If a third party such as a customer or member of the public suffers death, disease, illness or injury as a result of a companies’ negligence, they may look to bring a claim against the company.. However, the person/s in question will need to prove the company breached that duty of care and that in turn led to said injury, disease or illness. For example, proving that they contracted the disease either whilst at a contract site under the companies control or from the contractor working in their property.

Professional Indemnity Insurance – defends against claims of negligence, subject to the insured party paying the initial excess set out in the policy.  PI insurance is usually expected to be maintained through the whole period of design liability this is normally either 6 or 12 years.  Cover can be fully retroactive for neglect, error or omission of professional duty in respect of past services.  Cover would typically include claimants’ costs and expenses, defence costs, investigation costs, and some policies may extend to include mitigation costs, however a retroactive restriction date may be placed on the policy. This date is normally the earliest date from which professional indemnity cover has been held continuously. PI insurance will not ordinarily cover defective workmanship or unfit contractor supervision unless expressly included within the insurance policy.

For further information on Professional Indemnity Insurance in the Construction Sector:  BuildUK Report on PI Insurance for Construction

Construction All Risks – Contractors’ all-risk insurance covers all risks normally associated with construction works. It is designed to cover cost of unforeseen loss or damage to works and risks associated with machinery and plant, it will often include public liability and business interruption. Policies and what is included as “insured works” vary substantially.

Business Interruption Insurance – The core purpose of Business Interruption Insurance is to respond to losses sustained as a consequence of an insured material damage loss, for example, following a fire or flood at an insured premises. Some policies may also include extensions for losses following certain events where there is no physical damage, albeit these are usually subject to lower limits and typically for losses occurring at the insured’s premises or within a specified distance thereof.

Directors & Officers Liability Insurance / Employment Practices Liability Insurance – To protect against possible claims that may arise against directors and offices in the event a business is considered to have inadequately prepared itself to handle how an outbreak may affect the business. Any claim brought by an employee (against their employer) for breach of employment law would ordinarily be the subject of a claim under an Employment Practice Liability Insurance policy, for example, an employee claiming for wrongful termination. Employers should check whether they have such coverage in place (it may be arranged in isolation or as part of a Management Liability policy).

Performance Bond – is a guarantee issued by an insurer, bank or surety company (guarantor) on behalf of a contractor.  If the contractor defaults on the building contract the bond will will cover additional costs in completing the contract up to the bond amount.

Warranty Bonds – are designed to ensure that a project is completed as per the specification.  If the work or materials are found to be sub-standard during the period of the warranty then the contractor is obligated to remedy the issues or the bond will be subject to a claim.

Payment Bonds – a payment bond is a bond posted by a contractor to guarantee that its subcontractors and material suppliers on the project will be paid, should the contractor go bust or default on payment, this protects the client and supply chain from non-payment.  A retention bond is similar in so far as, if there is no reason to withhold the retention or the company holding retention seizes to trade the amount is guaranteed through a bond.

For support in negotiating your insurance, please contact the FIS via or visit our Membership Benefits Hub here to see the specialist support we can offer through our Insurance Partner Construction Shield.

Annual Investment Allowance

Annual Investment Allowance

This information sheet provides an overview of the annual investment allowance and relocatable partitions.

Claiming capital allowances for structures and buildings (SBA)

If you build, buy or lease a structure and all construction contracts were signed on or after 29 October 2018, you may be able to claim tax relief through an allowance provision known as the Structural Building Allowance (SBA).

You (or your clients) may be able to claim a 3% tax relief a year on Building Works where the construction contracts were signed on or after 29 October 2018.  You must have paid some or all the costs towards the purchase, construction or renovation of the structure and this structure must:

  • have not been used as a residence the first time it was used or during the period you’re claiming for
  • be used for a qualifying activity
  • have an allowance statement

If you claim this allowance and the structure is sold or demolished you may have to pay more Capital Gains Tax or Corporation Tax than usual.

This relief was introduced on 29 October 2018 and originally allowed for 2% relief over 50 years.  This has since been revised and from April 2020 the rate increased to 3% and the period reduced to 33 and one third years (claims dating back to 2018 will need to factor in the two periods).

What you must use the structure for

The structure must be used for a qualifying activity, which is taxable in the UK.

Qualifying activities are:

  • any trades, professions and vocations
  • a UK or overseas property business (except for residential and furnished holiday lettings)
  • managing the investments of a company
  • mining, quarrying, fishing and other land-based trades such as running railways and toll roads

What you can claim the allowance on

If you paid over the market value for a structure or its construction costs, you’ll only be able to claim for the original market value.

You can only claim on construction costs, which include:

  • fees for design
  • preparing the site for construction
  • construction works
  • renovation, repair and conversion costs
  • fitting out works

If you build or renovate a structure

You can claim on the amount you spent on construction costs, even if you lease the structure from somebody else.

If you buy a structure from a developer

If you buy the structure unused from a developer, you can claim 2% per year on the price you paid to the developer, after deducting items you cannot claim for.

If the structure was sold by a developer, has been sold more than once and you’re the first person to use it, you can claim 2% per year on the lower of either the price:

  • paid to the developer when they sold it
  • you paid for the structure

If you buy a used structure from a developer you can claim 2% per year on the developer’s construction costs.

If you buy a structure from somebody that is not a developer

If you buy the structure unused and from somebody that is not a developer, after deducting items you cannot claim for you can claim 2% per year on the lower of either:

  • the price you paid for the structure
  • the original construction cost

If you buy a used structure from somebody that is not a developer, you can claim 2% per year on the same amount that the previous owner was entitled to claim.

If the previous owner was able to claim a research and development allowance, you can claim for what would be left of the 50 years. But, you cannot claim more than the amount you paid for the structure.

What you cannot claim

You cannot claim on costs:

  • for any residence or any structure located in the grounds of a residence
  • which also qualify for plant and machinery allowances
  • you’ve already used to claim another allowance
  • for other items included in the price of the structure, such as land, integral features and fixtures
  • for planning permission
  • for financing, such as loans
  • for public enquiries or legal expenses
  • for landscaping or land reclamation
  • for which you received a grant or contribution

Remember costs which qualify for the 100% annual investment allowance (AIA) e.g. plant and machinery can be claimed separately, just not through this allowance.

What type of expenditure qualifies for the SBA?

  • Capital expenditure on renovations or conversions of existing commercial structures or buildings.
  • Repairs incidental to the renovation or conversion of existing commercial structures or buildings.
  • Construction and associated costs and fees for new properties:
  • Claims are restricted to the lower of:
    • The actual amount of expenditure which must be evidenced.
    • Market value.

What are qualifying activities?

SBA applies to capital expenditure on structures and buildings used for qualifying activities:

  • A trade, profession or vocation.
  • A UK or overseas property business that is not a Furnished holiday let

Structures and buildings include:

  • Offices, retail and wholesale premises
  • Walls, bridges and tunnels
  • Factories and warehouses.

Can I claim the SBA on expenditure on dwellings and land?

No. Expenditure on residential property and other buildings that function as dwellings will not qualify:

  • certain types of properties which may still qualify for relief despite having some residential use.
  • Expenditure on acquiring land or rights over land does not qualify for relief.

How does the SBA apply to leasehold property?

  • It depends on the length of the lease as to who is entitled to the allowance.
  • What if my expenditure qualifies for other capital allowances?
  • Qualifying expenditure can only be claimed once.

How do I deal with qualifying expenditure which has multiple uses?

  • Where a structure or building has multiple uses, an appropriate proportion of expenditure will qualify for relief.

Do renovations and later additions to the property qualify?

  • Capital expenditure after the date when the building enters into use qualifies for a separate allowance with its own 50 year allowance period.
    • Expenditure must be tracked per year to ensure the correct allowances are claimed.

What about changes in the use of the structure or building?

  • Where a structure or building originally used for a qualifying activity has a change of use and becomes a dwelling SBAs cease to be available for the period for which it is in use as a dwelling.

What about periods of disuse, change of use, damage to and demolition of  the property?

  • The allowance can continue to be claimed during periods of disuse.

What happens when there is qualifying expenditure by a person not chargeable to tax?

Where construction costs are incurred by anyone not in the charge to UK tax:

  • Notional allowances are calculated and deducted from the qualifying expenditure.

What about when the building or structure is sold?

  • Where an asset qualifying for relief is sold, the new owner can claim the allowance if it is used for a qualifying activity.
  • There are no balancing adjustments on disposal.
  • Where the SBAs are transferred to a new owner, the amount of the original expenditure may need to be verified if SBA is not already being claimed (via an Allowance statement).

What is an Allowance statement?

  • An allowance statement must be provided by the first owner and to all future owners to enable them to claim the allowances or the qualifying expenditure will be treated as nil.
  • An allowance statement is a written statement.

Anti-avoidance rules

To ensure relief can be obtained only for genuine business costs on actual construction works, anti-avoidance rules deny or restrict the relief in certain circumstances.

For more information click here

Have you considered claiming R&D Tax Credits?

Lease financing fit-out

Whilst we commonly lease cars and telecommunications equipment, leasing a refurbishment or fit-out is less familiar to many, but it is becoming an increasingly popular funding option for businesses moving or refurbishing their office.   

Lease options can cover everything from desking, seating and storage through partitioning, cabling, flooring, air conditioning systems, ceilings, lighting, and even (staff-room) kitchens.  Leasing ban help to overcome objections to starting a project based on availability of cash, by reducing capital outlay and moving to monthly repayments.  This can help to remove barriers to work starting or create additioal resource to ensure that corners don’t have to be cut when budgeting for your space.  Lease financing can also provide some tax advantages to the client.  

A typical lease period is around 5 years, but this can vary and lease options are available from as little as £1,000 with no maximum amount.  

FIS Webinar:  Lease Finance and Fit-out

We spoke to Plus Finance to explain the role that lease financing can play in helping clients to spread the cost and offset investment against tax and at the same time helping contractors overcome client objections and increase confidence in getting paid.

You can listen again to the FIS webinar (run in partnership with Plus Finance) explaining how Lease Financing can help Fit-out contractors win work here

R&D Tax Credits

Research and development (R&D) tax credits are a government incentive designed to reward UK companies for investing in innovation.  Innovation can be within a project, relate to a new product or be part of a business improvement programme.  

FIS have been working with specialist R&D tax experts Forrest Brown to help members identify and claim credits and have so far, via this route claimed over £6 million.  

For more information click here 

Latest Changes to CIS

The Government implemented changes to the Construction Industry Scheme (CIS) in April 2021.

These include giving HMRC the power to amend CIS deductions in the event of errors or omissions and requiring businesses to apply the CIS when construction expenditure exceeds £3 million over the preceding 12 months. Exemptions to CIS deductions will also be limited going forward and there will be penalties for providing false information.

Proposed revisions in detail

CIS set-off amendment power

Some sub-contractor companies are entitled to set CIS deductions suffered in-year against their employer (PAYE) liabilities. The new rules will mean that if challenged by HMRC and the sub-contractor employer cannot provide satisfactory evidence to support the CIS deductions claimed, and when asked the employer does not amend the CIS entry on their Employment Payment Summary (EPS) within a certain timeframe, HMRC will instead amend the CIS deduction figure claimed on an EPS. The HMRC amendment will match the CIS deductions sum supported by any evidence held by or provided to HMRC.

HMRC will remove the claim altogether where there is no evidence of any CIS deductions in respect of that company or where the employer is not entitled to set-off in this way. The employer liabilities will be recalculated following the amendment. Where HMRC has to amend the CIS credit claimed on an EPS, the employer may also be prevented from making further CIS set-offs in the same tax year.

Cost of materials

Under the new rules clarify that materials cost will only be deductible if it represents the direct cost of materials purchased by a sub-contractor in respect of that particular contract. The change to these provisions is intended to ensure that only the sub-contractor directly purchasing materials to fulfil their own contract with their contractor is entitled to a reduction to account for materials costs from the gross contract payment before the CIS deduction is calculated.

Concerns have been raised that these changes limit firms’ ability  to take account of the cost of materials when paying down the chain would not only reduce cash flow for contractors who do not hold gross payment status but also result in there being insufficient cash to pay sub-contractors the amounts that they are owed for materials.

An example that demonstrates how concerns may impact companies (provided by ICAEW) is provided below:

In a chain of contractors A to E. Contractor E buys the materials. Under the new rules, only E would be able to take account of the cost of these materials.

However, in real life, E buys the materials and D reimburses E, C reimburses D and so on up the chain until the ultimate client A bears the cost by reimbursing B.

If the cost of materials could not be taken into account, E would not get paid in full for the materials it has bought.

Deemed contractors

This change focusses on when a non-construction business has to operate the CIS. Moving forwards, rather than a review at year-end, deemed contractors will be able to stop operating the CIS when expenditure on construction operations falls below £3m within the previous 12 month period, or when no further payments on construction operations (including retention or management/administration payments) are expected to be made under that or any other construction contract.

CIS registration penalty

HMRC can currently penalise a person for providing false information when registering for payment under deduction under the CIS . This penalty applies only to the individual or business to whom the registration applies. The scope of this penalty will be expanded to apply to a wider group of individuals or companies who are able to exercise influence or control over a person who is registering for the CIS, this will include agents, directors, company secretaries, or anyone HMRC believes is in a position to exercise influence and control over the business and/or the person making the CIS registration.

Such persons will be liable to a penalty in two circumstances:

  • where they themselves make a false statement or furnish a false document for the purpose of enabling another individual or business to be registered or
  • where they encourage an individual or business to make a false statement or furnish a false document for the purpose of enabling themselves to be registered for the CIS

For more information, click here


Off-payroll reform - changes to IR35 from 6 April 2021

The off-payroll working rules

The off-payroll working rules can apply if a worker (commonly referred to as a contractor) who provides their services through their own limited company or another type of intermediary to the client.

An intermediary will usually be the worker’s own personal service company, but could also be any of the following:

  • a partnership
  • a personal service company
  • an individual

The rules make sure that workers, who would have been an employee if they were providing their services directly to the client, pay broadly the same tax and National Insurance contributions as employees. These rules are known as the ‘IR35’ rules

The client is the organisation who is or will be receiving the services of a contractor. They may also be known as the engager, hirer or end client. The client will be responsible for determining if the off-payroll working rules apply.

Before 6 April 2021, if a worker provides services to a client :

  • in the public sector, the client must decide your employment status
  • in the private sector, the worker or agent must decide status (and is responsible for any tax liability)

From 6 April 2021, all public sector clients and medium or large-sized private sector clients will be responsible for deciding worker’s employment status.

Small companies are exempt, with the definition of “small” determined based on meeting two of the three following requirements:

  • turnover of less than £10.2m a year;
  • balance sheet assets of less than £5.1m
  • fewer than 50 employees.

How to check employment status for tax

This service enables you to find out if a worker on a specific engagement, should be classed as employed or self-employed for tax purposes.  Status is determined on a number of factors, but principally Mutuality of Obligation, Substitution and Control.

For further information click here

Additional Useful Resources

IR35 Changes – A Practical Guide – Build UK

Webinar: IR35 – impact on Labour Only Subcontracting



Making Tax Digital

HMRC has produced a step-by-ste guide on Making Tax Digital for VAT as a business. You can follow these steps if you’re a business or sole trader and you need to follow the rules for Making Tax Digital for VAT.

The process covers:

  • Check if you have to join
  • Get the right software
  • Sign up for Making Tax Digital for VAT
  • Authorise your software

Access the guide here.

Additional support is available to FIS Members on matters of Finance, Taxation and Insurance through our extensive range of membership benefits click here to find out more