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Musical Instrument Purchase scheme


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#1 andante

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Posted 21 July 2011 - 11:59

The Musical Instrument Purchase scheme is a way of claiming back the VAT on instruments purchased for children and thereby saving 20%.

We are currently exploring the possibility of buying an A clarinet for our daughter or possibly a professional level pair. This is frighteningly expensive, and I feel sick just thinking about it. rolleyes.gif

Her current instrument was purchased through the scheme via her current school, which she officially leaves tomorrow. So, this being a major decision we are not rushing out today to buy on impulse and cannot therefore get it delivered to the current school by tomorrow. (Tempting to enrol younger daughter for clarinet lessons there!) laugh.gif Her new school has "academy status" and due to the fact that they are a registered charity cannot claim the VAT back.

This is what the Howarth's website says:

QUOTE
How it works
1. Having chosen the instrument you wish to buy from our large range and with the benefit of expert advice, you can ask your child?s LEA (Local Education Authority), school or Music Centre to order it on your behalf.

2. The school or Music Centre will then issue an official order to Howarth and we will dispatch the instrument to your child?s school or Music Centre, from where you can collect it.

3. Payment will be made by you directly to the school or Music Centre. The LEA or school must sell the instrument to the student at or below cost, excluding VAT, though they may have an administration charge.

Some LEAs issue a form that must be used when the order is placed to qualify for the scheme. These forms can be requested from the school or Music Centre. Other LEAs do not produce a dedicated form and the school/Music Centre can simply issue its own official order to us stating the instrument you require. You can you can start the process by downloading our ready-made application form to fill in and give to your school or LEA.


So I phoned the LEA music service and they said they don't do the scheme, but the music shop will do it. Clearly the LEA don't know what they are talking about, but they said when I explained that the shop had to do it through the school or LEA that the school would do it, but the school have told me they can't do it.

I have phoned the conservatoire, where she will be having her lessons from September, but as it's only children as far as I know that qualify and they will mostly be dealing with their senior section they didn't seem to even know what I was talking about, and have said they will phone me back.

As my daughter is not at a private school she ought to qualify, but I just don't seem able to find a way to get it to work. I tried to phone the county music service, who she has been in orchestras with and just got an answerphone. Matters are somewhat complicated by the town being a separate LEA from the rest of the county.

Any suggestions or advice?
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#2 A.U.K

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Posted 21 July 2011 - 12:14

Oh my word..what a performance..

I would go straight back to Howarths and talk with Nigel Clarke about this situation..he will surely be able to assist as after all they (Howarths) want to sell instruments..

Hope you manage to get through this red tape..

Andrew
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#3 andante

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Posted 21 July 2011 - 12:17

Just read a section marked "The small print" on Howarths site.

QUOTE
The Small Print
Although open only to LEAs and LEA maintained schools, AIPS itself is a purely voluntary scheme which different local authorities are free to operate in different ways. We recommend you discuss purchasing an instrument through AIPS with the school, Music Service or LEA in advance.

To comply with H.M. Customs & Excise regulations the following requirements must be met:

The student must be in full time education at an LEA school and/or receiving music tuition at an LEA funded Music Centre.
The instrument must be appropriate for the student?s needs and must be portable.
The sale transaction must take place on educational premises.
For students who receive regular tuition from the LEA?s music service there is not usually a requirement for him/her to be a pupil at an LEA school. This may enable pupils at independent schools who receive tuition through a County Music Service to take advantage of musical instrument purchase under AIPS.


I'm not sure if schools with Academy status are part of the LEA.

Sorry about the long post, needed to vent!
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#4 Dulcet

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Posted 21 July 2011 - 12:21

QUOTE(andante @ Jul 21 2011, 01:17 PM) View Post

Just read a section marked "The small print" on Howarths site.

QUOTE
The Small Print
Although open only to LEAs and LEA maintained schools, AIPS itself is a purely voluntary scheme which different local authorities are free to operate in different ways. We recommend you discuss purchasing an instrument through AIPS with the school, Music Service or LEA in advance.

To comply with H.M. Customs & Excise regulations the following requirements must be met:

The student must be in full time education at an LEA school and/or receiving music tuition at an LEA funded Music Centre.
The instrument must be appropriate for the student?s needs and must be portable.
The sale transaction must take place on educational premises.
For students who receive regular tuition from the LEA?s music service there is not usually a requirement for him/her to be a pupil at an LEA school. This may enable pupils at independent schools who receive tuition through a County Music Service to take advantage of musical instrument purchase under AIPS.


I'm not sure if schools with Academy status are part of the LEA.

Sorry about the long post, needed to vent!


Oh no! We are heading that way... I had the scheme firmly in mind for both children in the next couple of years!
Ah rethink, I am pretty sure that they will still use the county music service.
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#5 andante

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Posted 21 July 2011 - 12:28

Just found this on Hertforshire Council (No where near us, but clarifies a bit)

QUOTE
Assisted Instrument Purchase Scheme and Academies
The assisted instrument purchase scheme is only available where the tuition
is given by a Herts Music Service Teacher in a local authority school (or music
centre).
Schools that have converted to Academy status are no longer classified as
local authority schools so the scheme cannot be offered to pupils having
instrumental tuition in those schools.
If you work in one of these schools please be aware that you should not offer
the scheme to your pupils unless they also take part in music centre activities
or county groups.


So My last hope is the county music service, where she will no longer be part of the County wind orchestra, as it clashes with Junior Conservatoire, but will play in the Pops orchestra which meets 3 times a year. Not sure if that will be enough to qualify her. And even if it does, have just read something from the county website and it limits you to five named suppliers, one of which I have heard very dodgy things about.

Conservatoire just phoned back to say they can't do it.

If I sign younger daughter up for a year's clarinet lessons and buy two professional level clarinets through her school I will probably still be several hundred pounds better off.....except by nature I am very honest and that feels like fraud.
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#6 A.U.K

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Posted 21 July 2011 - 12:43

QUOTE(andante @ Jul 21 2011, 01:28 PM) View Post
...except by nature I am very honest and that feels like fraud.[/u]


That'll pass..and these days unless you are absolutely rolling in cash you will need to get past your high held morals and save a buck where you can..I know its a bit of a left at the lights but you have more than paid for this through your taxes, stealth taxes and propping up a very destructive administration both past and present so do yourself a favour and help your child out..

Andrew
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#7 Ayshah

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Posted 21 July 2011 - 13:50

This so depends on the cooperation of the School and the County Music Service.

I can only tell you about our situation. We were able to get a Trumpet and a Sax through this Scheme. the trumpet was ordered through the Music Service and my son went to their office to collect. The Sax daughter wanted was not available from the suppliers on the approved list. However the school got it direct from Sax.co.uk and the discount was applied. In fact it was quite complicated as funds came from MBF and EMI straight to the school, so the school waited for all the funds before ordering from Sax.co.uk directly. Sax arrived 24 hours later. The school sorted out all the VAT discounts.

This past year the sax player is on a Gap year, therefore did not qualify when we wanted to buy a soprano sax. Simple, we got it done through a very helpful current year 13 student and her equally helpful parent. We then "bought" it off her 24 hours later. A long winded way of getting the 20% discount but at that price all discounts were needed and we certainly didnt feel we were comitting fraud.

Our county music service is extremely helpful and will do their best even for students at Private schools if they attend a county orchestra or band. As long as they are not buying half a dozen instruments or a grand piano the Head of the Service really trys his best to acomodate.

I suggest you persist in trying to contact your County Music Service Head of Service to access this Service.
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#8 andante

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Posted 21 July 2011 - 16:02

Thanks, that's good advice, but I'm not hopeful after how unhelpful, to the point of being obstructive they were over the bassoon for the other daughter.

What really gets to me is that a lot of the uncooperativeness is petty politics. We live on the borders of several counties, the children were all at school in one county, but we live in another. The town we live in is a separate LEA from either county and they resent one of their pupils going to do anything in another LEA, because it means their funding is going to another area. Quite why this should matter I don't know, but it seems to matter to them. The school the girls have been at is a grammar school, so a state school and part of the instrument purchase scheme, however they don't use the county music service and there is all sorts of bad feeling because they employ their music teachers directly. And now the new school D1 is going to is an academy so doesn't report to the LEA at all and not part of the AIPS. When you contact any of them they all pass you off to the next and we seem to fall beneath the radar and into some gap of responsibility.

I will continue to try to contact the county service, but suspect they may have gone away until September. I have tried to contact them during the holidays before with no sucess.

I hope this thread is useful to someone to highlight that VAT can be reclaimed if the circumstances are right.
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#9 notmusimum

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Posted 21 July 2011 - 16:36



I'd definately speak to the County Music Service and I can't see any reason why they have a list of suppliers.

Some shops actually give 10% educational discount which the music service can also claim. Our Music service is fantastic about making purchases VAT free. They help in every way they can after all it's not like they are actually making any financial contribution. I can't speak highly enough of the admin staff on this matter.

Have you looked into the possibility of the Conservatoire lending your daughter an A clarinet until such time as she has her own?
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#10 andante

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Posted 21 July 2011 - 17:18

The new school said that they get educational discounts and I should request these and mentioned shops they deal with regularly. The HoM couldn't have been more helpful (once you get past the dragon on reception laugh.gif ) but couldn't do anything about the VAT.

The county music service info that I found online might be out of date, since it mentioned claiming back 17.5% and the "Dodgy" shop on their list is one that went out of business and reappeared under much the same name and I have heard bad reports of them from my piano tuner and others. Mind you, I take what the pino tuner says with a bit of a pinch of salt.
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#11 notmusimum

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Posted 21 July 2011 - 17:53

QUOTE(andante @ Jul 21 2011, 06:18 PM) View Post

The new school said that they get educational discounts and I should request these and mentioned shops they deal with regularly. The HoM couldn't have been more helpful (once you get past the dragon on reception laugh.gif ) but couldn't do anything about the VAT.

The county music service info that I found online might be out of date, since it mentioned claiming back 17.5% and the "Dodgy" shop on their list is one that went out of business and reappeared under much the same name and I have heard bad reports of them from my piano tuner and others. Mind you, I take what the pino tuner says with a bit of a pinch of salt.



Instruments are not selling so bargain hard. The good thing about Howarths is that they are sensible over discounts biggrin.gif You can also get things on approval.
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#12 Hedgehog

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Posted 21 July 2011 - 18:26

Our music service was singularly unhelpful when Sonny Jim had to have a new trumpet.

He was taught privately, but played in several ensembles at the local county run music centre, and in school bands that were county run. But apparently he was not "taught" in any of these bands so we could not claim the VAT. My OH was exceedingly vexed by the whole thing.

Our local trumpet shop was fairly horrified because they deal with Hertfordshire, our neighbouring county where the rules are interpreted rather differently it seems. mad.gif mad.gif mad.gif
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#13 Ayshah

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Posted 21 July 2011 - 19:04

In this case I would have absolutely no hesitation in reporting them all to the Dfes, or whatever its called these days, for their obstructive behaviour! mad.gif They should actually want to help!


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#14 owainsutton

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Posted 21 July 2011 - 20:18

QUOTE(Ayshah @ Jul 21 2011, 08:04 PM) View Post

In this case I would have absolutely no hesitation in reporting them all to the Dfes, or whatever its called these days, for their obstructive behaviour! mad.gif They should actually want to help!

No point - the interpretation of the rules that specifically requires tuition to qualify is the one I've encountered in the past, and I suspect that the DFES (or HMRC) would be much more interested to hear of anyone being more lenient.
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#15 andante

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Posted 21 July 2011 - 20:31

This link has a good description of the rules.

http://www.bbc.co.uk...struments.shtml


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