All about ISAs

In the 2019/20 tax year, you can save up to £20,000 tax-free in an Individual Savings Account (ISA), and when it comes to your ISA investment, you have a number of options.

Investors comfortable with the slightly higher risk Peer to Peer lending can also now invest in an Innovative Finance ISA, and those aged 18 to 40 can open a Lifetime ISA.

Although you can’t hold an ISA for anyone else, parents or guardians can open a Junior ISA and manage the account; but the money belongs to the child.

Put simply, an ISA is a tax wrapper for your money. There are two main types available depending on the level of risk you’re prepared to take:

  • Cash ISA
  • Stocks and shares ISA

Withdrawing Money

You can withdraw money from your ISA at any time without losing the tax benefits, but your ISA provider may have restrictions or ask you to pay a charge. It’s worth contacting them to find out before you withdraw any money.

If you have a ‘Flexible’ ISA, you can withdraw cash and replace it in the same tax year without reducing your current year’s allowance. For example

  • The 2019/20 allowance is £20,000
  • You pay in £10,000 and withdraw £5,000
  • If your ISA is flexible, you’ll have a remaining allowance of £15,000
  • If your ISA is not flexible, you’ll have a remaining allowance of £10,000

Transferring your ISA

All ISA providers allow you to transfer your money to a different provider (or to a different ISA with the same provider). By transferring, rather than selling or reinvesting, you keep future tax benefits.

Here are the rules:

You can transfer from one provider to another
You can transfer money from one type of ISA to another ie, from a cash ISA to a stocks and shares ISA
Money you have invested in an ISA in the current tax year must be transferred in full
Money you have invested in previous years can be transferred in part or in full
You may not be able to transfer your ISA back to the original source.

If your investments are moved to us as cash, you’ll be out of the market while your money is being transferred. You could miss out on growth/income if the market rises during this time.

Additional permitted subscription allowance (APS)

If you’re married or in a civil partnership with someone who died on or after 3 December 2014 you can apply for APS, which means the surviving spouse or civil partner will have an increased ISA allowance:

If a person dies with £50,000 in an ISA;

The remaining spouse can apply for APS
In the 2019/20 tax year they would have
an allowance of £70,000 instead of £20,000.

HM Revenue and Customs practice and the law relating to taxation are complex and subject to individual circumstances and changes which cannot be foreseen. An ISA is a medium to long term investment, which aims to increase the value of the money you invest for growth or income or both. The value of your investments and any income from them can fall as well as rise. You may not get back the amount you invested.