The UK government decided today that the annual ISA allowance (preferential tax treatment) will be increased from 11,520 to 15,000 GBP. The increased limit will apply to a single ISA, called the New Isa or NISA, which combines the current cash and stocks & shares wrappers.
Under the new regime, individuals will be able to invest the whole amount in cash, compared to present rules where only half of the 11,520 GBP can be invested in cash and the rest in stocks and shares. Current Isa savings will also enjoy the new flexibility. The increased limit will come into force on July 1st.
Osborne said: “We will make Isas simpler by merging the cash and stocks Isas to create a single new Isa. We will make them more flexible by allowing savers to transfer all of the Isas they already have from stocks & shares Isas into cash or the other way around.”
In addition, the Government intends to allow p2p loans to be held within a NISA and will consult on how to implement this later this year. The Government will also explore extending NISA eligibility to debt securities offered via crowdfunding platforms.
Zopa CEO Giles Andrews says: “Peer-to-peer ISAs are the most exciting thing to happen to the industry since Zopa launched back in 2005. This is a game changing moment for all savers. With ISA inclusion now a reality, we expect to see thousands of people transferring their existing ISAs over to Zopa once we launch them. Peer-to-peer ISAs will help provide a high tax free return and bring consumer savings back to life, even better to know is that all lending is covered by our Safeguard fund, so you can earn high returns and feel safe that your money is protected.”
On the announcement, Rhydian Lewis, CEO and founder of Ratesetter has said: “We welcome today’s news that ISA eligibility will be extended to peer-to-peer loans. The government is clearly acknowledging that something must be done to breath fresh life into this failing sector as one of the poorest ISA seasons on record comes to a close. Research has shown that a third of savers would consider P2P ISAs (*Peer-to-Peer Isa Survey, Populus, compiled January 2014)., so this news could truly reinvigorate the ISA sector. The change has the potential to give cash-strapped retirees and young people struggling to get on the property ladder the return on their savings investments that they really need.”
Funding Circle co-founder James Meekings says the move will open up peer-to-peer lending to a new audience. “This news is a huge win for British investors up and down the country, and represents a seminal moment for our industry,” he says. “The inclusion of peer-to-peer lending in ISAs ensures British people earn inflation-beating, tax-free returns whilst helping support the country’s economic recovery.”
1.167 Budget 2014 announces a radical reform of the ISA system. Around half of all UK adults have an ISA, and in order to give these savers greater choice in how they decide to save, the Budget announces that the ISA will be reformed into a New ISA (NISA), which will be a simpler product with equal limits for cash and stocks and shares.
This will mean that for the first time ever, savers will be able to transfer previous years’ funds from stocks and shares ISAs into cash ISAs. From now on, savers will have complete flexibility over how they choose to save and invest, within the overall limit.
1.168 The government also wishes to allow people to save more tax-free, so they can see their savings grow year on year. The Budget announces that the annual investment limit for the NISA will be £15,000 a year . This nearly trebles the current limit of £5,760 a year for saving in cash ISAs, and will benefit more than 5 million people who currently reach their cash ISA limit, three-quarters of whom are basic rate taxpayers. It will also increase the stocks and shares limit by nearly a third, from £11,520, and means in total over 6 million people will benefit from the higher overall limit. The government will also raise the limits for Junior ISAs and Child Trust Funds from £3,720 to £4,000. These changes will be introduced from 1 July 2014.
1.169 To further increase the choice that ISA savers have about how they invest, ISA eligibility will be extended to peer-to-peer loans, and all restrictions around the maturity dates of securities held within ISAs will be removed. The government will also explore extending the ISA regime to include debt securities offered by crowdfunding platforms
(Source: HM Treasury, Budget 2014)
(Illustration source: Zopa)