Tax Rules for ISAs

Tax Rules for ISAs

Compare ISA Investments

Every taxpayer pays interest on their savings, above the limit of their Personal Savings Allowance (PSA). But to encourage saving, Individual Savings Accounts (ISAs) are accounts you never pay tax on.

They’re offered by banks, building societies, asset managers and the government-backed National Savings & Investments (NS&I).

The interest you earn doesn’t count towards your Personal Savings Allowance, so if you could be earning a lot of interest, you can protect more of it in an ISA.

An administrative bonus: PAYE taxpayers still don’t have to fill out an annual tax return for their ISAs.

ISA benefits

ISA earnings can range from 0.65% on an instant-access cash ISA that can be opened with just a £1 deposit, to 8% in a “structured deposit plan” cash ISA or up to 14.51% on a “structured investment plan” stocks and shares ISA.

Accumulating those earnings tax-free is a considerable benefit, so there’s a limit to how much you can save or invest in a tax-free ISA “wrapper” each year: from the 2017/18 tax year the limit has been £20,000 a year.

You must save or invest before the end of each tax year on 5 April to get the tax-free benefit. And you can’t roll over any unused allowance to the following year.

So if you only put £12,000 into an ISA (or more than one type of ISA) in one year, the following year you can still only save or invest a maximum of £20,000 into ISAs – not £28,000.

Transfer to maximise earnings

If you want to transfer the balance out of an old ISA account into a higher-paying account, it won’t be counted as part of your current year’s ISA allowance.

Be sure to transfer the balance: don’t withdraw it in cash and then pay it in or you’ll be taking it out of its ISA wrapper and it will be counted as part of your annual £20,000 allowance (unless you have a “flexible” ISA). Instruct your new provider to transfer it over.

Compare Selected Income and Growth Funds for your ISA

See below for selected investment funds from other leading fund groups that could provide income and growth for your ISA:

Invest From
£100 per month or £1,500 single
Fund Choice
Choose from 6 funds based on risk level or build your own portfolio
Protection Scheme
FSCS
ISA Transfers

Why we like it: Not only do they look after your health, but they help you look after your wealth – by adding extra money to your ISA every 5 years – on top of returns – when you invest in Vitality funds. This could get you an extra 15% over 25 years. T&Cs apply.

 

Important information: Investment ISAs are tax-efficient wrappers for long term investments. Capital at risk. Charges may apply.  The amount of tax you save and your eligibility to invest in an ISA depends on your personal circumstances. All tax rules may change in the future.  ISA transfer charges may apply, please check with your provider.

Invest From
£2,500
Fund Choice
Managed Portfolios
Protection Scheme
FSCS
ISA Transfers

Why we like it: Investec Click & Invest is an online investment service that aims to make actively managed, globally diversified investment portfolios accessible to a wider audience. Everyone deserves harder working money, and Click & Invest’s goal is to make a positive difference to more financial futures. Their experts build and manage investment portfolios from £2,500 online, intelligently blending expertise with high-quality service. With a £2,500 minimum investment, Click & Invest aims to deliver an exceptional service for a straightforward fee. They offer both stocks and shares ISAs and general investment accounts, with a seamless online experience, with dedicated 24/7 support available. Capital at risk.

 

Important information: Investment ISAs are tax-efficient wrappers for long term investments. Capital at risk. Charges may apply.  Tax rules may change in the future and whether particular tax rules benefit you, will depend on your individual circumstances. ISA transfer charges may apply, please check with your provider.

Invest From
£25 per month or £100 single
Fund Choice
2,500+ funds
Protection Scheme
FSCS
ISA & Non-ISA Options

Why we like it: Choose your own funds or alternatively a ready made portfolio. Market-beating savings and discounts of up to 5.5%. No charge to buy and sell funds. Low, tiered annual charges for holding funds, with a maximum of just 0.45% per annum. Free fund updates and analysis from experienced research team. Invest with a financially secure, FTSE 100 company.

Invest From
£25 per month or £100 single
Fund Choice
40,000+ UK and global stocks
Protection Scheme
FSCS
ISA Transfers

Why we like it: An award-winning ISA that gives you complete control. The second largest platform in the UK with the widest choice of investment options in the market including funds, investment trusts, ETF’s and more. Open online in less than 10 minutes. Access to expert independent ideas and analysis. Low cost fees and trading

Important information: Investment ISAs are tax-efficient wrappers for long term investments. Capital at risk. Charges may apply.  Tax rules may change in the future and whether particular tax rules benefit you, will depend on your individual circumstances. ISA transfer charges may apply, please check with your provider.

Invest From
£25 per month
Fund Choice
2,000 + funds
Protection Scheme
FSCS
ISA & Non-ISA Options

Why we like it: Wide range of investment funds to help you build a diversified portfolio across geographic markets, industry sectors or asset classes. You can invest in AJ Bell Passive funds, or choose from the recommended active and tracker funds on the Favourite funds list. Or, you can browse our extensive funds universe. Deal online and on the go with our free mobile app. Free subscription to Shares magazine if your balance is £4,000 or more

Invest From
£50 per month
Fund Choice
Over 140 providers and 3,000 investment options
Protection Scheme
FSCS
ISA Transfers

Why we like it: Invest from as little as £50 a month or with a £1,000 lump sum. Investment choice from over 140 fund providers, giving you access to 3,000 investment options. One low-cost service fee of 0.35%. Great service – from investment guidance on website through to UK-based phones team. PathFinder, Select 50, Investment Finder – investing tools for beginners to advanced investors. 24/7 access via online Account Management system.

Important information: Investment ISAs are tax-efficient wrappers for long term investments. Capital at risk. Charges may apply.  Tax rules may change in the future and whether particular tax rules benefit you, will depend on your individual circumstances. ISA transfer charges may apply, please check with your provider.

Invest From
£500 single
Fund Choice
Discretionary Investment Management
Protection Scheme
FSCS
ISA Transfers

Why we like it: Get an intelligent stocks & shares ISA portfolio – Choose a portfolio that’s fully managed by our expert team or a fixed allocation portfolio. No tie-ins, no set-up fees, no exit charges. Easy, online set up in minutes. Start with as little as £500. Portfolio management fees of 0.45%-0.75% up to £100k. 0.25%-0.35% beyond £100k. There are also underlying investment charges, see our fees page. Plus, live chat, amazing customer support and brilliant investor tools and guides. Authorised and regulated by the FCA. Capital at risk. ISA rules apply

Important information: Investment ISAs are tax-efficient wrappers for long term investments. Capital at risk. Charges may apply.  Tax rules may change in the future and whether particular tax rules benefit you, will depend on your individual circumstances. ISA transfer charges may apply, please check with your provider.

Invest From
£50 per month or £500 single
Fund Choice
Choice of Funds from Scottish Friendly
Protection Scheme
FSCS
ISA Transfers

Why we like it: Invest from only £10 a month, lump sums from just £100 or a combination of both using your tax-free Investment ISA allowance. You can stop, restart, raise or lower your payments or your investments and cash in whenever you want. Choice of investing in one easy choice fund ISA, or a selection of nine different fund ISA’s. Your money will be invested in a policy within a Scottish Friendly ISA which will then invest in a choice of funds from Scottish Friendly including stock market and bond funds.

Important information: Investment ISAs are tax-efficient wrappers for long term investments. Capital at risk. Charges may apply.  Tax rules may change in the future and whether particular tax rules benefit you, will depend on your individual circumstances. ISA transfer charges may apply, please check with your provider.

Invest From
£30 per month or £500 single
Fund Choice
With-Profits Fund
Protection Scheme
FSCS
ISA Transfers

Why we like it: You don’t have to make any tricky investment decisions; your money will be invested in Shepherds With Profits Fund, and the bonuses you could receive will depend on the future performance of the fund. To try to achieve higher returns for you, your money is invested in a variety of assets, the majority of which consist of stocks and shares, but also property, bonds and cash. While returns are not guaranteed in stocks and shares investments and the value can go down as well as up, Shepherds apply a process known as ‘smoothing’ that attempts to even out fluctuations in the value and aims to keep a consistent level of bonus payments.

Important information: Investment ISAs are tax-efficient wrappers for long term investments. Capital at risk. Charges may apply.  Tax rules may change in the future and whether particular tax rules benefit you, will depend on your individual circumstances. ISA transfer charges may apply, please check with your provider.

There are five types of ISAs:

Cash ISAs

You must be 16 or over to open a Cash ISA.

Cash ISAs can be Instant Access, Regular Savings or Fixed-Rate.

Some of the rates on old Cash ISAs don’t compare well with the current best buys so you’d be advised to check the rates and transfer your balance to a new account with a higher rate. But be sure to get your new provider to do the transfer to keep it ISA-compliant.

Save in a Cash ISA

Help to Buy ISAs launched in December 2015 and are for first-time buyers only. They are a type of Cash ISA so you usually can’t hold both in the same tax year, but some providers do offer a “split ISA” package.

The maximum savings limit for Help to Buy ISA each year is lower: you can save £1,200 in the first month and up to £200 every month after that (= maximum £3,400 in the first year, £2,400 each year after that).

The big advantage of the Help to Buy ISA is that the government will add 25% to your savings – to a maximum of £3,000. So if after four and a half years you’ve saved the maximum the government will match – £12,000 – you will have £15,000 for your home deposit.

Your last chance to open this kind of ISA is 30 November 2019, and the government will pay out the bonuses until December 2030.

One Junior ISA per child can be opened by anyone who has parental responsibility for a child under the age of 18.

The maximum contribution limit (2019/20) is £4,368.

The money is tax-free until they turn 18: they can then withdraw it or transfer it to an adult ISA.

Open a Junior ISA

 

You must be 18 or over to open a Stocks and Shares ISA.

Making your investments within an ISA “wrapper” has three tax advantages:

  • No tax on profits: outside of an ISA, any profits above your annual capital gains tax allowance (£12,000 for 2019/20) are taxed at 18% for basic-rate taxpayers, and 28% for higher-rate taxpayers.
  • No tax on interest earned on bonds
  • No tax on dividend income: outside of an ISA , any dividends above your £5,000 annual dividend allowance are taxed at 25% for higher-rate taxpayers, and at 30.56% for additional-rate taxpayers.

Invest in a Stocks and Shares ISA

 

You must be 18 or over to open an Innovative Finance ISA.

Innovative Finance ISAs can be riskier than Cash ISAs, but give you a chance to do peer-to-peer lending, lending to businesses and crowdfunding within a tax-free ISA wrapper.

Invest in an Innovative Finance ISA

 

You must be over 18 but under 40 to open a Lifetime ISA (LISA).

You can save up to £4,000 a year in a LISA and the government will add 25% on top.

The bonus is paid once you reach the age of 50, and is paid monthly, and you’re paid interest on it.


 

An investment ISA is simply where you use your annual ISA allowance (currently £20,000 in 2019-20) to invest in non cash assets such as shares, investment trusts, open-ended investment companies (OEICs), life insurance policies, corporate bonds, and gilts.

An investment ISA, as with all investments, involves an element of risk, so it’s important that you are comfortable with this and you are in a sufficiently stable financial position. If you are unsure you should seek independent financial advice.

Before you open an investment ISA, make sure that:

  • Your debts are under control – you’ve either paid them off or have affordable arrangements in place to do so.
  • You have emergency savings that you can access easily if something unexpected occurs – if your car breaks down or you’re made redundant, you’ll need savings that you can use straight away.

If you’re very new to saving and don’t yet have a basic emergency fund, you may find that a cash ISA is more suitable for you at this stage. Once you’ve built up some accessible savings in this way, you might then want to consider an investment ISA.

 

  • You should be prepared to invest for the medium to long term with a investment ISA – for example, for five years or more.
  • If you think you might require access to your cash in the next couple of years, a investment ISA may not be the right choice for you. Share prices can be volatile – and so if you were to withdraw your investment in the next twelve to eighteen months, you could end up with less money than you started with.
  • Different investment ISAs have different investment options. These range from as little as £10 per month (e.g. through a fund) to a specified minimum investment (e.g. £500).
  • Some ISA providers will give you online access to your account, allowing you to see the investment performance of your ISA and keep up to date with any charges incurred.
  • If your investment ISA isn’t performing as well as you’d like, you will usually be permitted to transfer it another provider. To do this, speak to your new ISA manager who will arrange the transfer, allowing you to avoid losing any tax benefits by withdrawing your cash.
  • You can transfer shares you get from an HMRC-approved SAYE (save as you earn) scheme run by your employer, or a share incentive plan, into a investment component of an ISA without incurring capital gains tax, up to your annual ISA allowance.
  • You will not be able to transfer any existing non-ISA shares, or shares you’ve inherited, into an investment ISA.
  • With an investment ISA, there is greater long-term growth potential than a cash ISA – however, bear in mind that the value of your investment can go down as well as up.
  • If you have an investment ISA from a previous tax year, you’re permitted to move this into a current investment ISA or split it between more than one investment ISA.
  • If you want to open a Junior ISA (JISA) for your child, you can also invest in investment on their behalf up to a maximum of £4,368.

 

A stocks and shares ISA acts as a tax-efficient ‘wrapper’ for your investments, allowing you invest up to a set amount per year (currently £20,000 for the 2019/20 tax year) while paying a reduced amount of tax on any investment income you make.

Your personal allowance for a stocks and shares ISA is £20,000 for the 2019/20 tax year. Investing this amount would use up your full ISA allowance, but if you prefer, you can divide your ISA allowance between a cash ISA and a stocks and shares ISA.

You could, for example, put some of your allowance in a cash ISA and the remaining balance can be invested in stocks and shares.

When considering a stocks and shares ISA, bear in mind that tax treatment may vary and is subject to change in the future.

You can switch your investments within the stocks and shares ISA, or transfer your ISA to another provider without it affecting your allowance for that tax year.

To transfer a stocks and shares ISA from one provider to another, speak to the new provider, who will arrange it on your behalf.

Different stocks and shares ISA providers offer different levels of risk, as well as varying potential returns. Some are focused on specific types of asset, while others are more varied.

If you want the opportunity to spread your investments around different areas – and thus avoid putting all your eggs in one basket – you could choose a stocks and shares ISA provider that specializes in diverse portfolio management.

One of the key advantages of a stocks and shares ISA is that it can offer the potential to deliver higher returns than a cash ISA, especially if you plan to hold it over the long term.

Holding a stocks and shares ISA for a longer period of time increases your chances of riding out fluctuations in the market.

If you’re looking to hold your investment for at least five years, and are happy to take on a level of risk, then a stocks and shares ISA might be a suitable choice for you.

However, stocks and shares ISAs don’t provide the same level of security as cash ISAs. If you’re saving for the short term, need easy access to your money, can’t afford to risk your capital, or are simply risk-averse, then a stocks and shares ISA probably won’t be suitable for you.

As with all financial decisions, it’s best to seek independent advice if you’re unsure.

If a stocks and shares ISA isn’t the right choice for you, we also provide access to a leading range of cash ISAs.

Offers

Important Risk Information:

This website contains information only and does not constitute advice or a personal recommendation in any way whatsoever. The value of investments and income from them can fall as well as rise and you may not get back the full amount invested. The tax efficiency of ISAs is based on current tax law and there is no guarantee that tax rules will stay the same in the future.

Different types of investment carry different levels of risk and may not be suitable for all investors. Prior to making any decision to invest, you should ensure that you are familiar with the risks associated with a particular investment and should read the product literature. If you are in any doubt as to the suitability of a particular investment, both in respect of its objectives and its risk profile, you should seek independent financial advice.