Individual Savings Account (ISA)

ISAs represent a tax-efficient container in which to place cash savings and investments in equities, bonds and collectives.

An ISA is available to all UK resident individuals and to Crown servants (for example, those in the UK’s armed forces, diplomatic service or overseas civil service) and their spouses or civil partners who are not resident in the UK.

To open an ISA:

  • You must be over the age of 16 for cash ISAs
  • Over the age of 18 for stocks and shares ISAs
  • You cannot hold an ISA with or on behalf of someone else.
  • You can currently split your allowance between a Stocks and Shares ISA Cash ISA, an Innovative Finance ISA and a Lifetime ISA (up to £4,000 per tax year which counts towards the overall £20,000 limit).
    • The Junior ISA allowance will stay at £9,000.
    • Flexibility to pay into the same type of ISA with different providers
    • This will make it easier to have ISAs of the same type in different places in the same tax year (from April 2024). It could offer Cash ISA savers the chance to go after more competitive rates more easily, or pick and mix easy access and fixed rates.
  • It also helps protect those who accidentally pay into more than one of the same type of ISA in a single tax year. This is easily done if paying into an ISA by Direct Debit. The change removes that risk of breaking the rules.
    • Allowing partial transfers between providers
  • In a similar way, this will give ISA savers and investors greater flexibility and control (from April 2024). The rules currently force an all-or-nothing approach to current year ISA transfers – you have to transfer your entire ISA of that type from the current tax year, or nothing at all.
    • The change is expected to mean you'll be in charge of how much you want to transfer, no matter when you made the subscription.
    • No need to reapply for existing ISAs each year
    • ISA savers and investors are currently required to, in essence, reapply for ISAs they already hold when there's been a gap of one tax year where no subscriptions were paid. Removing this rule should reduce the potential for confusion and cut down on unnecessary red tape.
    • New 18+ age limit for all adult ISAs
    • This rule only directly impacts Cash ISAs, where the minimum age for opening an account is currently 16 years old. The 18+ rule will mirror other adult ISAs from April 2024. 16 and 17-year olds will continue to be able to open and save into a Junior ISA.

Designed to encourage new saving they are attractive to investors seeking a tax-efficient investment vehicle with the potential for higher returns. There is usually a low level of minimum subscription and no minimum period of investment.

An ISA enables you to accumulate savings in a tax efficient manner as all gains in the hands of investors are free from tax, making them particularly attractive to higher rate taxpayers.

An ISA can contain cash deposits, investments in equities, bonds and collectives.

For the 2023/24 tax year, you can choose to pay in one of the following:

  • £20,000 to a cash ISA and nothing to a stocks & shares ISA.
  • £20,000 to a stocks and shares ISA and nothing to a cash ISA.
  • A combination of amounts between a cash and a stocks & shares ISA, up to the overall annual limit of £20,000.

You can only open one cash ISA and one stocks and shares ISA to put new money into each tax year. But you can also open other ISAs to transfer old ISAs into.

Withdrawals from an ISA can be made at any time with all gains free from tax but it is only possible to hold one ISA per tax year, so if an ISA is closed within the same tax year that it was opened, another one cannot be started until the next tax year.

ISAs can be transferred from one provider to another, as long as the new provider accepts transfers. This is often done with a cash ISA after it has been held for a year as previously attractive interest rates drop dramatically when short-term bonuses and fixed terms come to an end. The transfer is initiated through the new, receiving, provider who will require you to supply details of the original account and will manage the whole transfer process. Transfers should not be done manually by withdrawing the investment, closing the account, and re-investing it in the new account, as this removes the tax-free interest status of your investment.

The current year's allowance is unaffected by anything transferred from previous years so you can transfer previous investment to a new ISA and open a second ISA for new contributions if you wish, as long as you don't contribute to both.

 

!

THE VALUE OF INVESTMENTS AND THE INCOME THEY PRODUCE CAN FALL AS WELL AS RISE. YOU MAY GET BACK LESS THAN YOU INVESTED.
FOR ISA’S INVESTORS DO NOT PAY ANY PERSONAL TAX ON INCOME OR GAINS, BUT ISAs DO PAY UNRECOVERABLE TAX ON INCOME FROM STOCKS AND SHARES RECEIVED BY THE ISA MANAGERS.
TAX TREATMENT VARIES ACCORDING TO INDIVIDUAL CIRCUMSTANCES AND IS SUBJECT TO CHANGE.

London Stock Exchange

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