A once-in-a-decade opportunity for huge Stocks and Shares ISA returns?

The Stocks and Shares ISA deadline is fast approaching. Could this be a rare opportunity for our writer to invest for long-term gains?

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Use it or lose it. That’s a useful mantra to bear in mind when thinking about the annual £20,000 contribution limit for a Stocks and Shares ISA.

The deadline for using the ISA allowance is 5 April 2023. After this date, I can’t backdate my contributions for the 2022/23 tax year.

With the S&P 500 in a bear market and the FTSE 100 sharply down from its record high at over 8,000 points, could this be a once-in-a-decade chance for me to invest for tax-free stock market returns? Let’s explore.

Using a Stocks and Shares ISA

Tax planning can be an unwelcome headache for investors. That’s particularly true for those who have made significant progress in their financial journeys and built sizeable portfolios. After all, staying abreast of the complex patchwork of HMRC rules and allowances isn’t easy.

This is where a Stocks and Shares ISA comes into play. Any gains made on my holdings within the ISA wrapper are awarded tax-free treatment. No capital gains tax, no tax on dividend income, and no tax on interest from bonds!

Granted, there’s a risk the rules could change in the future. However, currently the ISA is a very generous proposition for savvy investors.

Not only does investing in an ISA help to maximise my returns, but it also brings simplicity to my portfolio management. Accordingly, I aim to invest as much as possible in an ISA each tax year and hold my positions for a long time.

That’s because I’m a long-term investor and using an ISA is a great way to harness the power of compound returns. Plus, if I needed to sell some of my stocks for whatever reason, I can crystalise my holdings at any point. That makes an ISA a more flexible option than an age-restricted pension.

A rare investment opportunity

So, what should I invest in? Stock market corrections might instinctively inspire negative emotions, but sell-offs have historically proved to be profitable opportunities for long-term investors.

The share prices of many US tech titans have fallen substantially over the past year. To highlight two examples, Google’s parent company Alphabet is down 29% and Amazon is down 43%.

I already own both, but the risk/reward profile looks attractive to me today. I’m not sure these discounts will last, and history suggests corrections of this scale are rare events. I’ll be taking advantage and buying more.

Closer to home, one of my favourite Footsie holdings is Scottish Mortgage Investment Trust, which focuses on global growth stocks.

The fund’s shares have fallen nearly 40% over 12 months. High volatility isn’t unusual for this stock, but a share price that stands at a whopping 21.6% discount to the net asset value of its investments is. This looks like another rare buying opportunity that I’ll be capitalising on.

Of course, there are risks associated with these shares. The stock market sell-off could still have a long way to go and all three face the possibility of further falls. That said, I’m increasingly bullish about the long-term upside potential from here.

As things stand, this looks like a once-in-a-decade opportunity for me to buy cheap shares in my ISA with a view to securing long-term returns.

Please note that tax treatment depends on the individual circumstances of each client and may be subject to change in future. The content in this article is provided for information purposes only. It is not intended to be, neither does it constitute, any form of tax advice. Readers are responsible for carrying out their own due diligence and for obtaining professional advice before making any investment decisions.

Should you invest, the value of your investment may rise or fall and your capital is at risk. Before investing, your individual circumstances should be assessed. Consider taking independent financial advice.

Suzanne Frey, an executive at Alphabet, is a member of The Motley Fool’s board of directors. John Mackey, former CEO of Whole Foods Market, an Amazon subsidiary, is a member of The Motley Fool’s board of directors. Charlie Carman has positions in Alphabet, Amazon.com, and Scottish Mortgage Investment Trust. The Motley Fool UK has recommended Alphabet and Amazon.com. Views expressed on the companies mentioned in this article are those of the writer and therefore may differ from the official recommendations we make in our subscription services such as Share Advisor, Hidden Winners and Pro. Here at The Motley Fool we believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors.

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