Charity service helps generate over £60K for amateur music groups

This Small Charity Week Making Music are celebrating their new Orchestra Tax Relief service, which to date has helped leisure-time music groups, themselves often small charities, to claim back concert production costs from HMRC totalling more than £60K.

As the UK’s membership organisation supporting and championing leisure-time music, Making Music know running a group can be challenging, financially and practically, and created this service to help members generate vital additional income.

Applicable to many amateur music groups, the government’s Orchestra Tax Relief (OTR) incentive allows those putting on qualifying concerts to claim a percentage of their production costs back from HMRC.

Ben Saffell, Making Music’s Membership Director said:

OTR is absolutely great for our members. They can put on performances as they normally would - but now they get a cheque from HMRC for doing so - generally for about 15% of their concert costs. The payments make it much easier for groups to continue doing what they love, making and presenting music!

Many leisure-time groups are run by volunteers, who have little time or financial expertise. Making Music’s OTR resources and low fee service enable groups, whose budgets are often squeezed, to recoup some of their concert and performance costs. This can be transformational for them, aiding financial sustainability (70% of member groups just break even each year) and enabling a greater variety and quantity of concerts, adding tremendous value to the cultural life of communities in the UK and helping the leisure-time music sector to flourish. 

David Smith, of the Ealing Symphony Orchestra, said:

We were delighted to receive our first payment from HMRC for Orchestra Tax Relief. We worked closely with Making Music who provided us with training at the start of the process and hand-holding throughout. Hopefully, many other amateur orchestras will also take advantage of this welcome governmental support to amateur music.

Harriet Finch, of the Maidstone Symphony Orchestra, said:

These extra funds directly impact on the decisions we are able to make regarding repertoire and mean we can budget for larger scale or in copyright (more expensive) works, meaning more exciting and varied concerts for our audience and more interesting works for the orchestra.


For more information contact

Making Music, 8 Holyrood Street, London SE1 2EL
020 7939 6030
Twitter: @MakingMusic_UK
Instagram: @makingmusicuk

Making Music, The National Federation of Music Societies
A company limited by guarantee, registered in England and Wales no. 308632
Registered Charity in England and Wales no. 249219 and in Scotland no. SC038849

Notes to editors

  • Since 1935, Making Music has championed leisure-time music groups across the UK with practical services, artistic development opportunities and by providing a collective voice for its members. We now represent over 3,700 groups made up of around 190,000 musicians of all types, genres and abilities. We help them run their group so they can get on with making music!
  • Modelled on Theatre Tax Relief and Film Tax Relief, HMRC’s Orchestra Tax Relief (OTR) came into effect on 1 April 2016. This cultural incentive encourages the number and diversity of orchestral concerts in the UK, something of particular relevance to Making Music’s members, 31% of which classify themselves as instrumental.
  • To date the total claimed by Making Music member music groups is £60,745.
    - The number of groups who have claimed is 19, with 21 claims in total. 
    - The average OTR payment received is 14% of a group’s total concert expenditure.
  • Making Music’s OTR service consists of guidance, templates and help to set up a production company, the running and preparation of accounts, as well as the compiling and submission of the claim to HMRC on behalf of groups.



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