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EDI (Electronic Data Interchange) is a way of transferring large amounts of information between two organisations using a dedicated connection or a secure network. This guide explains how EDI can be used for filing Construction Industry Scheme (CIS) data.
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Any contractor with the necessary communication links installed can use EDI to send and receive their CIS data. In practice, however, EDI is most suitable for the largest of contractors - those with a high number of subcontractors, typically in the thousands. For smaller contractors, filing over the internet is likely to be a more cost-effective option.
|CIS300 Contractors monthly return||monthly return used to record payments made to subcontractors within CIS|
|CIS verification requests||requests for subcontractor verification prior to making a first payment to them|
|CIS verification results||results to contractors following request for verification of subcontractors|
In order to use EDI, you must be able generate messages in either EDIFACT or Generic Flat File format (GFF) using communications software supported by HMRC.
Your software must be able to output your CIS data in either of the following formats:
If your software doesn't output in these formats you'll need to update it or purchase additional software to translate your output into an EDI format.
If you use your own in-house software, you'll need to check that the technical specifications of the messages it generates are compatible with HMRC’s Message Implementation Guidelines for EDI.
You need to have one of the following four types of communications link:
There is a two-stage registration process and a testing phase to complete before you can start filing to HMRC using EDI.
There are three ways to provide HMRC with the information it requires. You can:
When HMRC has received your enquiry form, an account manager from the Online Customer Service Team (OCST) will contact you to help you set up your connection link.
Once the link is operational and ready for testing, you will have to send HMRC another form - EDI Registration Form 2. This can be found in Appendix C of the EDI Step by Step Guide, which you can download using the link below.
Among other things, Registration Form 2 asks you to tell HMRC:
HMRC will set up a test facility for you when it receives your Registration Form 2. The testing process involves checking that you can send and receive the CIS300 form without problems using your EDI link.
The CIS300 return and verification requests can go live once you have had one successful test.
The test files HMRC uses will usually be blank. However, you can ask your OCST account manager to include dummy data such as code change details. This will allow you to check that the data is being transferred without problems into your payroll software.
Once you have successfully tested you should contact your OCST account manager to agree a go live date.