An ISA is simply an account that you open with an ISA manager, such as a bank, a stock broker or fund manager. Depending on the type of ISA, one of the main benefits is that whatever is in the ISA is sheltered from income tax and capital gains tax.
1.√Accessibility and unlimited withdrawals
ISA investors have access to their money at all times. You can withdraw any or all the cash realised from dividends or by selling shares at any time without penalty.
ISA income also does not count towards the age related allowance "means" test or the new personal allowance "means" test.
2.√ NO disclosure
You don't have to mention to the tax authorities that you have a stock and shares ISA, nor disclose the value of your portfolio nor the money you hold in your ISA. You don't even have to mention the money you earn in an ISA nor have to disclose the cash amounts you are taking out.
3.√ NO tax implications on withdrawals
Income can be paid out free of any additional tax. There are no income tax or capital gains tax implications on withdrawals from an ISA.
4.√ Tax free growth within an ISA
A stock and shares
ISA grows free of capital gains. While dividend income may still be subject to 20 per cent taxation, interest on cash and corporate bonds is paid gross.
5.√ Invest up to £10,100 cash in your ISA for 2010/11
For the tax year 2010/11, anybody who is 18 year or older can invest £10,100 in a stocks and shares ISA. (£20,200 in total if you have a partner).
There is NO overall lifetime limit for your ISA!
6.√ ISA limit to rise to £10,680
The Treasury has confirmed the index-linking of Individual Savings Accounts, as from April 2011. As a result, the existing ISA allowance limit is being raised to £10,680. Half can be saved in a cash ISA
For the tax year 2011/12, anybody who is 18 year or older can invest £10,680 in a stocks and shares ISA. (£21,360 in total if you have a partner).
7.√ No cash no worries! Just ‘Bed and ISA’
One of the interesting ISA benefits is that you do not need to depost cash to make use of your annual allowancew.
“Bed and ISA” is where you sell a fund or shares to the value of £10,100 and then re-purchase them in your stock and shares ISA.
As before, future growth and income are free of tax. This is an ideal way to shelter some of your existing investments from tax. The sale into the stock and shares ISA may create a charge to CGT but the profit is usually lower than the
Capital Gains Tax annual allowance, currently £10,200.
8.√ Open an ISA when you are 16
A cash-only ISA can be opened under your own name when you are 16. Up to £5,100 can be deposited in a cash ISA. The interest grows tax free. When you are 18, consider setting up a stock and shares ISA.
ISAs are regarded as particularly useful for “younger savers” to allocate their ‘long-term savings’ into a stock and shares ISA, thereby building up their retirement pot. Over time you may accumulate a decent lump sum in your ISA.
Once you start to earn a decent salary you may want to consider transferring some of your ISA capital into a personal pension or SIPP, receiving immediate upfront tax relief.