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What is the ISA limit?

What is the ISA limit?
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If you’ve got an Individual Savings Account (ISA), it’s important you know what your ISA limit is. Here’s a breakdown of how it all works. 

Please note that tax treatment depends on the specific circumstances of the individual and may be subject to change in the future. 

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How much money can you have in an ISA?

You don’t pay tax on the money you place into an ISA. So, unsurprisingly, there’s a cap on how much you can save in an ISA within a single tax year.

This is called your ISA limit. Right now, the threshold is £20,000. 

What are the different types of ISAs?

There are four main types of ISAs, and they’re all subject to the same ISA limit. 

  • Cash ISA: works like a savings account, but you won’t pay tax on interest.
  • Stocks and Shares ISA: allows you to invest in funds and shares (but since you’re investing, there’s risk involved, and you could lose money).
  • Lifetime ISA: designed to help you buy a first home or save for your retirement. 
  • Innovative Finance ISA: works like peer-to-peer lending, so you’re loaning out money to businesses through an ISA.

The £20,000 ISA limit applies to them all. No matter which ISA you choose, you can only deposit £20,000 in total per tax year. 

Can I pay into two ISAs?

You can spread your money over four different types of ISA. However, you can’t invest in more than one ISA of the same type in the same tax year. For example, if you’ve got two cash ISAs, you can only invest in one per tax year. 

Next, you can only have one Help to Buy ISA on the go at the one time.

To be clear, Help to Buy ISAs fall under the “cash ISA” category, so if you save in a Help to Buy ISA, you can’t save in a cash ISA that tax year, and vice versa. 

And finally, it doesn’t matter how many ISAs you have – you can still only save up to £20,000 in a single tax year.

Can I carry my ISA limit forward?

No, you can’t carry your allowance into a new tax year. Your limit just starts over once the new tax year begins. 

So, in 2021, if you haven’t used your whole allowance by 5th April, it “resets” on 6th April. 

Compare stocks and shares ISAs

If you’re planning to open a stocks and shares ISA, choosing the right platform is important. To help you narrow down the choices, we’ve created a list of some of the top stocks and shares ISAs.

What happens to my ISA limit if I want to withdraw cash?

Many (but not all) ISAs let you withdraw money at any time. 

  • You can take out the cash without losing your tax benefit on the withdrawn sum.
  • However, you can’t always just put the money “back” in an ISA that tax year. 

Here’s an example. 

  • You have £20,000 in a cash ISA. You paid it all in during one tax year. Now you need £3,000 for home repairs, and you withdraw it from the ISA. There’s still £17,000 left in the account. 
  • Since you’ve already reached the £20,000 ISA limit, you can’t put the £3,000 back into the ISA in the same tax cycle. You need to wait until the following tax year to put the money back in.  

Talk to your provider if you’re unsure what the rules are – they can be complex.  

Takeaway

If there’s one thing you take away from this article, make sure it’s this: you only have one ISA limit per tax year. If you’re at all concerned about your allowance or you’re unsure what might happen to your money if you withdraw it from an ISA, contact your provider for more help. 

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