ISAs were introduced in 1999 to replace PEPs and TESSAs. You can use an ISA to save in cash, usually via a bank, or invest in stocks and shares either via a unit trust, OEIC or directly into shares via a self-select ISA.
From 1 July 2014 a new, simpler product, the ‘New ISA’ (NISA), became available, with a current annual allowance of £15,240. Details of these product are as follows:
• The £15,240 limit (2015/16 tax year) can be invested wholly in cash, stocks and shares or any combination of the two.
• There is now a ‘two-way street’ in that ISAs can be transferred from cash to stocks and shares and vice versa without restriction. When you transfer an ISA, your full ISA allowance for that tax year remains unaffected.
• Since April 2015, the spouse or civil partner of a deceased ISA saver can benefit from an additional ISA allowance, and therefore have more of their savings tax advantaged. Individuals can save an additional amount in an ISA (or ISAs), up to the value of their spouse or civil partner’s ISA savings at the date of death, without this amount counting against their normal ISA subscription limit.