How much can I invest in a Stocks and Shares ISA?
The tax-free stock market earnings offered by Stocks and Shares ISAs look a very attractive compared with the low returns from savings accounts, and some other types of ISAs. But is there a limit to how much you can put away into this personal tax haven every year?
There are few financial questions which have a simple answer, but this is one of them.
The maximum you can pay into a tax-free Stocks and Shares (investment) ISA account in any UK tax year (ending 5 April) is: up to £20,000.
Your maximum yearly ISA investment is set by the government
In fact, the maximum amount you can pay into any kind of ISA account in a year is £20,000.
That’s your allowance for paying into tax-free ISAs as set by HMRC, and it has stayed the same since the 2017-2018 tax year.
The allowance has gradually increased from £7,000 a year back in the 1999-2000 tax year. There has been no notice that it will be increased for the 2020-2021 tax year.
Investing all in one ISA, or a mix
You can use all of your ISA allowance to pay into a Stocks and Shares ISA.
Or you can spread your allowance across the four types of ISA investment available to UK adult taxpayers:
- Cash ISAs
- Stocks and Shares ISAs
- Innovative Finance ISAs
- Lifetime ISAs
This year you might choose to invest:
£10,000 with a High Income Trust ISA (a Stocks and Shares ISA)
£4,000 into a Lifetime ISA (the maximum you can put into a Lifetime ISA each year)
£5,000 into an Ethical Investment ISA (another type of Stocks and Shares ISA)
£1,000 into a Cash ISA
Do I have to pay in all at once?
You don’t have to pay in your full allowance of £20,000 – just as much as you can afford this year.
And you don’t have to pay in one lump sum.
You can do so, if you’ve just received an inheritance, cash from a house sale, or a salary bonus, for example.
But you may be wanting to put money away from monthly your earnings. In which case it’s possible to invest as little at £25 month.
You can’t pay into more than one Stocks and Shares ISA in any one year
If you’ve invested in a new Stocks and Shares ISA this year, that’s the only Stocks and Shares (investment) ISA you can pay into this year.
For example, if you opened an account with Investec’s FTSE 100 Defensive Income Plan this year, you can’t now open a YouInvest ISA with AJ Bell (another Stocks and Shares ISA provider).
But can mix the type of investments you make within your Stocks and Shares ISA
You may have bought Legal & General’s Stocks and Shares ISA.
Later in the year you can decide to invest in their Future World Ethical ISA as well, so long as you don’t go over your total £20,000 investment limit.
Can I transfer money I already have in an investment ISA into my new Stocks and Shares ISA?
Any money you’ve already got put away in an ISA structure you can transfer over to your new account, without it counting as part of your £20,000 allowance this year.
It doesn’t have to already be in a Stocks and Shares ISA account. If the new investment account you’ve opened looks like a much better investment, you would be wise to roll some or all of your other ISA reserves into it, and possibly make a savings on some of the management fees for each account.
How many different Stocks and Shares ISA can I have?
There’s no limit to the number of different Stocks and Shares you can have. Or to how much you can earn from them, tax free.
The only limit is: only one new account of each ISA type this year.
Is there a minimum payment for opening a Stocks and Shares ISA account?
Usually, yes – the requirements will depend on the provider you go with, but will usually be around a minimum opening investment of £500.
But after that you can make monthly payments of as little as £25.
You must invest a minimum of £500 to open our Stocks and shares or Lifetime ISAs, but you can invest as little as £25 per month if you want to make regular payments. The maximum you can invest across all types of ISA under the current regulations is £20,000 for the 2019/20 tax year.
Use it, don’t lose it
Your annual ISA allowance isn’t transferable from one year to the next. If you only invest £14,000 this year, you won’t be able to add on your unused £6,000 allowance to your next year’s total.
If in doubt, put it in a Cash ISA
Most ISA providers also offer a Cash ISA account within their Stocks and Shares ISA structure. It won’t earn much, but if you haven’t decided which higher-earning investment account you want to go with before the end of the tax year, just get your spare cash into a Cash ISA so you can have it transferred over later to a different account, without it counting as part of that year’s £20,000 investment limit.