Instrument Hire

Instruments are available at hire charges substantially lower than commercial equivalents. The hire charge includes access to an improved repair service and insurance cover. 

The instrumental hire would be FREE in the following circumstances:

  • Where the instrument is being loaned to a pupil entitled to Free School Meals who is learning with Lincolnshire Music Service.
  • Where the pupil is a Looked After Child learning with Lincolnshire Music Service.

There are two different hire charges as below; 

  • Woodwind/Brass £25 per academic year.
  • Strings £12 per academic year 

Lincolnshire Music Service brokers instrument hire through schools. Should you have any queries, please contact the school in the first instance.

If you are a school enquiring about our instrument hire please visit our Services for Schools section


Instrument Purchase

Our Instrument Purchase Scheme offers very competitive rates as it is possible to purchase an instrument VAT free, subject to certain conditions. Always seek advice from the instrumental teacher before purchasing a new or second hand instrument.

In Lincolnshire, the scheme can operate in two ways: either through the Music Service or through the child's school.

Do You Qualify For The Scheme?

The scheme enables pupils/parents to purchase an instrument without paying VAT and benefit from any educational discount offered by the supplier. The arrangement is a concession run with the approval of HM Revenue and Customs.

There are certain criteria that must be met in order for the scheme to operate legitimately:

1. Pupils must be receiving lessons from a member of staff of the Music Service in schools (ie pupils having private lessons DO NOT qualify).

2. The instrument must be used on a regular weekly basis at a LCC maintained school as part of the pupil's music studies during normal school hours. (We are continuing to relieve VAT for students who attend state schools that have become academies on condition that all criteria are fully met).

How To Apply

Download Application Form (Adobe PDF Reader Required)

  1. Parent/Guardian sends the Application Form to the Instrumental Teacher expressing an interest in purchasing an instrument.
  2. Instrumental Teacher (in consultation with the Area Manager) prepares the main Instrumental Purchase Scheme Form with details of prices, make, model etc and sends this to the Parent/Guardian.
  3. Parent/Guardian sends this form to: Lincolnshire Music Service, Myle Cross Centre, Macaulay Drive, St Giles, Lincoln, LN2 4EL
  4.  Official purchase order is issued to the supplier.
  5.  Instrument is delivered to the school and parents are informed how and when to collect.

VAT Relief Through Schools

Academies may also relieve VAT on instrument purchases in a similar way. Guidance is published on HMRC website here. The Assisted Instrument Purchase Scheme enables pupils who attend Lincolnshire Local Authority maintained schools who have music lessons provided or subsidised by the school, to purchase musical instruments without paying VAT and to benefit from any educational discount offered by the supplier.

However, this is a voluntary scheme and Head Teachers are under no obligation to operate this facility. This guide is designed to explain the scheme's rules and procedures to parents and schools. 

How does the scheme work?

  • Once the parent/pupil has chosen an instrument and supplier, they should ask the school to place a formal order with the instrument retailer.
  • The parent pays the school the ex-VAT price for the instrument.
  • The retailer supplies the instrument to the school.
  • The school can reclaim the VAT on the instrument in the usual way. (Local authorities are refunded any VAT they incur in delivering their non-business statutory activities).
  • The school then supplies the instrument to the student.

What Are The Rules?

The general conditions that the student and school must comply with to benefit from the scheme are as follows:

  • The student must attend a Local Authority maintained school.
  • The School (or Local Authority) must place an order for the instrument, take delivery and be invoiced (enabling them to recover the VAT).
  • The transaction between the student and school (or Local Authority) must take place on school (or Local Authoprity) premises in a room that is normally used for teaching.
  • The instrument must be appropriate to the student's needs and ability.
  • The instrument must be taken to school (or Local Authority premises) on a regular weekly basis for use during lessons provided by the music service.
  • The school (or Local Authority) must sell the instrument to the student at or below cost.
  • Pupils who attend independent schools are not able to benefit from the scheme as there is no mechanism for the school to reclaim the VAT.

Operation Of The Scheme

The Local Authority is ultimately responsible for ensuring that the operation of the complies with VAT legislation and that all transactions are conducted in accordance with the regulations. More information on the scheme can be obtained from VAT Notice 701/30 Education and Vocational Training (January 2002). Click here for detailed legal advice.

Please Note 

The rules were devised by HM Revenue and Customs and neither schools nor the Local Authority have the flexibility to look on particular cases in a spirit of generosity, however deserving an individual case may seem. The rules are intended to prevent the VAT concession from being exploited for commercial gain.