Individual savings accounts

Produced by Tolley
  • (Updated for Budget 2021)
Individual savings accounts

The following Personal Tax guidance note Produced by Tolley provides comprehensive and up to date tax information covering:

  • Individual savings accounts
  • Introduction
  • Giving investment advice
  • Individual savings accounts
  • Who can invest in an ISA?
  • Transfers and repairs
  • Repayment of funds in same tax year
  • Balance transfers
  • Repair of invalid accounts
  • ISA(s) of a deceased spouse / civil partner
  • More...

Introduction

Individual savings accounts (ISAs) are tax-free funds in which UK residents can hold a range of different investments. Originally, these were cash or stocks and shares products held by those over 16 years of age, but in November 2011 the junior ISA was launched which allows tax-free cash accounts to be set up for the benefit of those under 16. See the Junior ISAs guidance note.

Help to buy ISAs were introduced from 1 December 2015 as a tax-free cash account aimed at encouraging first-time buyers to save for a UK residential property. As well as receiving interest on the balance tax-free, the Government supplements the amount saved with a 25% bonus (up to a maximum of £3,000) when the property is purchased. These ISAs are closed to new savers with effect from 1 December 2019, although anyone with an existing help to buy ISA can keep saving into the account until 30 November 2029.

Lifetime ISAs were introduced from 6 April 2017. Like the help to buy ISAs, the Government will supplement the amount saved with a 25% bonus (limited to £1,000 per year). There are conditions around the age of the individual and the funds can only be withdrawn without a penalty to fund a first home, on reaching 60 years old or on diagnosis of a terminal illness.

For more information, see the Lifetime ISAs and help to buy ISAs guidance note.

Giving investment advice

The usual health warning applies here: you cannot give investment advice unless you are authorised to do so by the Financial Conduct Authority. You can tell your client about tax efficient investments but you must not recommend any based on the individual circumstances.

See the Regulated investment advice guidance note.

The main benefits of ISAs are:

  1. no tax on income or gains within the ISA

  2. no tax on capital gains arising on the encashment of an ISA

  3. no minimum holding period ― withdrawals can be made at any time

SI 1998/1870, reg 22

There

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