Assisted Instrument Purchase Scheme

The Assisted Instrument Purchase Scheme (AIPS) enables pupils at Local Authority* schools to purchase instruments without paying VAT (Value Added Tax).

This procedure has the approval of HM Revenue and Customs. In order to comply with their regulations, the following must apply:

  • Students must be in full time education at a Local Authority school (not an Academy or Independent school)
  • Students must receive regular (weekly) tuition at the school as part of their curriculum, or receive private tuition in support of a curricular activity such as GCSE music
  • The instrument must be
    • appropriate for the pupil’s need
    • portable, so drum kits and pianos are excluded
    • delivered to the school and be passed to the pupil in a designated teaching room. The instrument cannot be delivered to a home address
    • charged to the parents at or below cost, excluding VAT
    • new, secondhand instruments or ex-hire instruments cannot be bought VAT free.

If you wish to purchase an instrument under this scheme:

  • Decide on the make and model of the instrument. It’s a good idea to consult either the music tutor or your local music shop for advice
  • Decide on the retailer you wish to purchase from. You are not restricted to local music shops and many major UK retailers’ catalogues are available online. Be aware that while most prices will include VAT, some will quote excluding VAT
  • Contact the retailer to check availability and confirm the amount payable as this may differ from the published price. Please check the costs for postage and packing.

Once you have all the above information you can download an application form or contact Essex Music Services with the following:

  • Your name, address, child’s name and tuition details
  • The instrument make and model, accessories and the ex-VAT price
  • The retailer’s name and address
  • Payment of the ex-VAT price including any postage and packing, plus our admin charge (currently £10 per transaction).
    Your school will also be able to purchase the instrument under the AIPS.
Once you have submitted the application and payment, Essex Music Services will arrange the payment for your chosen instrument from your specified retailer. The instrument will then be delivered to your child’s school.
More information can be downloaded here.
* Essex Music Services only process applications for students at LA maintained school and music schools, not Academies. If your child is at an Academy, please approach your school directly, as they will have their own VAT registration.