Dr Alice Carter, treasurer of Henley Symphony Orchestra, explains how claiming Orchestra Tax Relief (OTR) has bridged the income gap in difficult financial times
Why did your group decide to claim OTR?
The financial benefit is substantial. This has kept us afloat through some very challenging times. We lost a major sponsor a few years ago and OTR has kept us going!
How did you find setting up a claim?
We have had a lot of help from volunteers within the orchestra and from Making Music. Mostly just learning through the process of doing it.
Making Music’s help has been absolutely invaluable in advising us to make sure we are accounting correctly and answering questions, checking our annual accounts and submitting the CTR and OTR claim, plus general advice on the scheme when we were starting out. We could not have done it without this support.
Possibly I could submit the CTR and OTR claim myself now if I had to, but I much prefer to take advantage of the Making Music service and their expertise and advice, in making sure we comply with the rules around the scheme and just generally doing it all efficiently and for an extremely reasonable fee.
Honestly we would be struggling to break even without the OTR. It has allowed us to keep running and to play the music we want to play rather than having to constantly focus on bums on seats and making ends meet.
What tips would you give a group starting out with OTR?
- Think about the time commitment versus the financial benefit - there is work and time involved in setting it all up, as well as an upfront and ongoing costs, such as the fee for the service.
- Make sure you have a couple of officials in your group happy to act as company directors and share the workload.
- Making Music can connect you with other similar groups who are already doing it, for you to talk to them and see what it might entail for you.
How have you spent the money and how has it benefited your group?
Honestly, we would be struggling to break even without the OTR. It has allowed us to keep running and to play the music we want to play rather than having to constantly focus on bums on seats and making ends meet. The boost has been incredibly important in bridging the gap while audiences have taken longer to recover their confidence after covid. It is a lot of work, but definitely worthwhile for us.
We hope you find this Making Music resource useful. If you have any comments or suggestions about the guidance please contact us. Whilst every effort is made to ensure that the content of this guidance is accurate and up to date, Making Music do not warrant, nor accept any liability or responsibility for the completeness or accuracy of the content, or for any loss which may arise from reliance on the information contained in it.