Making the most of ISAs

  • An introduction to Isas

    Individual Savings Accounts, universally known as ISAs, began life as relatively simple savings plans in 1999, but over the past 24 years the rules surrounding them have become ever more complex. While there have been calls to make the regime simpler and more accessible, in recent years the government has shown little interest in ISAs. For example, the main contribution limit has been unchanged since April 2017.

    However, in September 2023, rumours emerged that an ISA overhaul could be announced in the Autumn Statement on 22 November.

    There are three main categories of ISA – cash ISAs, stocks and shares ISAs and Lifetime ISAs – but variants exist for specific investment needs.

    This guide will explain how the main variants work, in order of their original launch date.

    The Guide covers the following topics:

    • The types of ISA available 
      The ISA family includes a range of products suited for a variety of investment plans
    • The investment options 
      How you can use ISAs for cash savings, stock and shares and more
    • Investment limits
      The amount you can contribute each tax year depends on the type of ISA
    • How ISA investments are taxed
      How the tax privileges work in practice, for each type of ISA 

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This publication is for general information only and is not intended to be advice to any specific person. You are recommended to seek competent professional advice before taking or refraining from taking any action on the basis of the contents of this publication. The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) does not regulate tax advice, so it is outside the investment protection rules of the Financial Services and Markets Act and the Financial Services Compensation Scheme. This publication represents our understanding of the law and HM Revenue & Customs practice as at 30 September 2023.