Interactive Investor

Stocks and Shares ISA rules

Learn the rules to investing in a Stocks and Shares ISA to help you gain control of your savings and make the most of your ISA annual allowance.

Important information - investment value can go up or down and you could get back less than you invest. If you're in any doubt about the suitability of a Stocks & Shares ISA, you should seek independent financial advice. The tax treatment of this product depends on your individual circumstances and may change in future. If you are uncertain about the tax treatment of the product you should contact HMRC or seek independent tax advice.

A Stocks and Shares ISA is a great way to save and take advantage of some tax-efficient features unique to ISAs.

HMRC set rules on the number of ISAs you can open, how to maximise tax-efficient earnings, transfer your ISA and manage your returns.

ISA contribution rules

Who can open an ISA?

You can open a Stocks and Shares ISA if you’re over the age of 18 and a resident in the UK for tax purposes - or you can open a Junior ISA (JISA) for any children you’re legally responsible for who are also residents in the UK.  

Our ISA is self-managed giving you complete control of what you invest in. An investment’s value can rise and fall, so you may get less back than you put in. You should also be: 

  • Confident researching and choosing your own investments 
  • Clear on the costs involved and our low flat fees

Learn more about our Stocks and Shares ISA.

What is the ISA allowance? 

You can currently contribute £20,000 across all your ISAs in each tax year – this hasn’t always been the limit and might not be in the future. Not all types of ISA can receive the full allowance, but a Stocks and Shares ISA can. 

Lifetime ISAs can only receive £4,000 of your annual allowance each tax year and you can only contribute up to £200 a month into a Help to Buy ISA. 

Junior ISAs have their own allowance, and you contribute up to £9,000 a year to each child’s JISA. This is separate to your allowance so contributing to a JISA doesn’t impact how much you can put into your own ISAs. 

Learn more about: ISA allowance

When is the ISA deadline? 

ISAs follow the UK tax year which begins each year on 6 April and ends on 5 April – a Stocks and Shares ISA is no different. 

To get the most out of your annual ISA allowance, you need to make sure you contribute as much as you can before the end of the tax year. Once the new tax year starts on 6 April, your allowance can’t be rolled over and any unused allowance is lost – along with the potential for it to create any tax-efficient gains.

Learn more about: ISA deadlines

Investment types  

Even though you can only contribute to an ISA in GBP, an ii Stocks and Shares ISA can hold shares listed on the UK, or any of our supported and recognised exchanges. You can also hold: 

  • Investment funds and unit trusts
  • Corporate bonds 
  • Government bonds – such as UK gilts. 

Need some inspiration? Take a look at our ISA investment ideas.

How many ISAs can you contribute to? 

The ISA rules have changed as of 6 April 2024. You can now have - and contribute - to as many ISAs as you want (except for Lifetime ISAs and Junior ISAs). You can only contribute a maximum of £20,000 each tax year across your ISAs. You can use your full allowance in your Stocks and Shares ISA, or split this across any other ISA types you might have.

This means you can now hold and contribute to two Stocks and Shares ISAs in the same tax year.

ISA transfer rules

What types of ISAs can you transfer to a Stocks and Shares ISA?

You can transfer all types of ISA to us - Cash ISAs, Stocks and Shares ISAs, Lifetime ISAs (LISA), Help to Buy ISAs and Innovative ISAs.  

Transferring doesn’t count toward your ISA allowance, but you may lose any unique benefits or be charged for transferring from a Lifetime or Help to Buy ISA. 

For example, you’ll incur a 25% tax charge on the total value of your Lifetime ISA if you switch to another ISA type before the age of 60.  

If your Cash ISA pays interest on a fixed term basis, you may sacrifice any interest accrued and your provider may charge for leaving early before maturity

What investments can you transfer? 

You can transfer: 

  • Cash 
  • Investment funds and unit trusts  
  • Corporate bonds 
  • Government bonds – such as UK gilts. 

You can transfer your ISA as cash or investments. Transferring as cash is typically quicker, but you can also stay invested throughout the process, so you don’t miss out on any returns. 

If your investments aren’t currently held in an ISA, they can’t be transferred directly into a Stocks and Shares ISA – unless as part of an Employee Share Plan. But you can top it up by selling the investments, contributing the proceeds, and buying them back in your Stocks and Shares ISA. This is called a Bed and ISA, and counts toward your annual allowance – currently £20,000.

Can you transfer an ISA to another person? 

No, you can’t transfer your ISA or its benefits directly to anyone else. However, you can access your ISA at any time and make a withdrawal to your nominated bank account.  

Once withdrawn you can use the cash any way you want, but you won’t be able to put it back into your ii Stocks and Shares ISA without using more of your annual allowance.

Are there any penalties or charges to transfer your ISA? 

There aren’t any HMRC penalties for changing your ISA provider in the Stocks and Share ISA transfer rules – but there may be other charges from your provider. 

At ii, we don’t believe in charging customers for wanting to leave or for transferring your ISA to or from our, but other providers might charge you an exit fee for transferring out. You should check this with them first before starting your transfer. 

How to transfer an ISA to ii

It's quick and easy to get your ISA transfer started.

You will need the account details for the ISAs you want to transfer.


Open an ISA

If you don't already have an account with ii, then you'll need to open an ISA to start your transfer. It only takes a few minutes to complete.


Start your transfer online

You can do this while opening an account - or you can log in and transfer at any time.


We'll take it from there

We’ll work with your current provider(s) and provide you with regular progress updates.

ISA withdrawal rules

When can you withdraw money from your ISA?

You can access your ii Stocks and Shares ISA at any time. You can withdraw just some, or your balance in full, but once you’ve withdrawn you won’t be able to put it back in your ISA unless you have enough annual allowance remaining. 

How much does it cost to withdraw from your ISA?  

There are no penalties for withdrawing from your Stocks and Shares ISA, but depending on how you want to receive the cash there may be standard payment charges.

Learn more about withdrawing from your ISA.

ISA tax rules

Unlike general investment accounts, ISAs are exempt from Capital Gains and Income Tax.

This means you get to keep more of any gains, interest, and UK dividends you make from investments in your ISA versus a general investment account.

Any UK dividends you receive in a Stocks and Shares ISA also don’t count towards your tax-free dividend allowance. You can make full use of this by investing in a Trading Account alongside your ISA.

Find out more about how you can benefit from the ISA tax rules.

Inheriting an ISA: What happens to your ISA when you die?  

When managing your finances, it’s important to think about what happens to your Stocks and Shares ISA when you die. You can pass on your cash and investments to your loved ones, but the options can vary depending on who your beneficiaries are. 

For example, anyone can be a beneficiary of your ISA but only a spouse or civil partner can receive their inheritance directly into their ISA. 

They can either:  

  • Receive their inheritance into a general trading account in their own name 
  • Receive the value as a cash payment 

Your surviving spouse or civil partner can also apply for APS (Additional Permitted Subscription) to inherit your ISA value into theirs. 

Find out more about inheriting an ISA .