The answer to how many ISA accounts you can have in the UK may not be as simple as you first think. The British government’s Individual Savings Account (ISA) scheme encourages people to save money by offering tax breaks on savings and investments.
Under the current rules, you can open and contribute to one Cash ISA, one Stocks and Shares ISA, one Innovative Finance ISA, and one Lifetime ISA in each tax year; look here to see how.
When it comes to managing your ISA accounts, you need to be aware of some important caveats to this before opening multiple ISAs.
You can only contribute to one of each
Firstly, while you are free to open more than one ISA account in each tax year, you can only supply one of each type of ISA. If you have already made the maximum contribution into a Cash ISA, you will not be able to make any further contributions into a Stocks and Shares ISA in that tax year.
Secondly, the maximum amount you can contribute to all of your ISAs in each tax year is currently £20,000. So, even if you have multiple ISA accounts, the total amount you can save into them combined is still capped at £20,000.
It is worth noting that some financial institutions may impose limits on how many ISAs you can hold with them. For example, Virgin Money currently only allows customers to hold one Cash ISA and one Stocks and Shares ISA with them at any one time.
If you have multiple ISAs, it is possible to transfer funds from one ISA to another. For example, you may want to transfer money from a Cash ISA that is no longer performing well into a Stocks and Shares ISA to try and grow your savings more effectively.
However, there are some important rules to be aware of. Firstly, you can only make one transfer out of each ISA per tax year. Secondly, once you have transferred money out of an ISA, you will not be able to put that money back in again during the same tax year.
Another vital point to note is that you can only make withdrawals from a Cash ISA, and you must sell your investments first to access the money in a Stocks and Shares ISA.
Be aware of the tax implications of holding multiple ISAs. For example, if you have both a Cash ISA and a Stocks and Shares ISA, any interest you earn on your Cash ISA will be tax-free. However, any dividends from your investments in a Stocks and Shares ISA will be subject to income tax.
Any money you have saved into an ISA is exempt from inheritance tax. However, this only applies to a maximum of £325,000 per person. So, if you have multiple ISAs with a combined value of more than £325,000, your estate may be responsible for inheritance tax on the excess.
Closing an ISA
It’s worth noting that you are not obliged to keep your ISA open for any minimum period. So, if you need to access your money for an emergency expense, you can close your ISA and withdraw the money without incurring any penalties.
Opening multiple ISAs
One final point is that you are not restricted to opening just one ISA with each financial institution. So, if you want to spread your money around and reduce the risk of having everything in one basket, you could open multiple ISAs with different banks and building societies.
So, while the answer to how many ISAs you can have in the UK is technically four, there are things that you need to bear in mind before opening multiple accounts. It is vital to ensure you’re familiar with the restrictions and limits surrounding ISAs before making any decisions so you don’t inadvertently break them.