The construction industry’s tax committee has asked the government to delay the start of a new tax scheme because firms need more time to comply with the rules.

The industry’s joint taxation committee fears that the software and paperwork necessary to implement the Construction Industry Scheme will not be ready in time for the launch, which is scheduled for April 2006.

Gordon Marjoram, chairman of the JTC’s CIS committee, said: “Software providers will need in the region of 18 months to develop and test software – and we are now only 16 months from April 2006 with no specifications for the scheme yet available from the Inland Revenue. We will not be ready in time.”

Liz Bridge, director of tax at the Construction Confederation, said that if the start date was not put back there could be a disaster.

She said: “The industry will not be cajoled into unrealistic deadlines – the results of a computerised disaster in the payment process for construction are too awful to contemplate.”