AIP Scheme

Can you benefit from the Assisted Instrument Purchase Scheme?

The Assisted Instruments Purchase Scheme (AIPS) aims to assist those buying musical instruments* in the UK.

The AIPS allows VAT-free purchase of instruments for students receiving music education/tuition by Local Education Authorities (LEAs) or LEA schools, when certain criteria are met.

Each LEA and/or school runs its own AIPS in conformance with the regulations set out by HMRC and is able to set its own further criteria and restrictions when offering the scheme to its students.

We suggest that you speak to your school music department, your music tutor or your LEA's music services department at the earliest opportunity when you are looking for an instrument.

How does the AIPS work?

The AIPS enables you to save a substantial amount of money when purchasing a bassoon from us. Owing to the complexities of VAT for second-hand instruments you will need to ask us for a quotation excluding VAT for the instrument you are interested in.

If your LEA/school offers an AIPS service, in broad terms it works in the following way:

  1. The LEA/school verifies that you are receiving tuition for the relevant musical instrument from the LEA/school (you do not need to be a pupil of an LEA school - you could, for example, be a private school pupil who is a member of an LEA-run county youth orchestra);
  2. The student selects the instrument he/she wishes to purchase from the retailer of his/her choice;
  3. The LEA/school places an order for the instrument;
  4. The retailer sends the instrument to the LEA/school and invoices the LEA/school for the full amount;
  5. The LEA/school deducts the VAT and sells the instrument to the pupil net of VAT;
  6. The school claims the VAT back from HMRC.

* It is often assumed that second-hand instruments aren't eligible under the AIPS. However, any instrument, old or new, is eligible for purchase under the AIPS under HMRC rules as long as VAT is applicable to the price. This means that instruments owned by us are eligible, but commission instruments are not.