Start Investing

How are ISAs taxed?

Andrew Goldman

Andrew Goldman has been writing for over 20 years and investing for the past 10 years. He currently writes about personal finance and investing for Wealthsimple. Andrew's past work has been published in The New York Times Magazine, Bloomberg Businessweek, New York Magazine and Wired. Television appearances include NBC's Today show as well as Fox News. Andrew holds a Bachelor of Arts (English) from the University of Texas. He and his wife Robin live in Westport, Connecticut with their two boys and a Bedlington terrier. In his spare time, he hosts “The Originals" podcast.

The simple answer: ISAs aren't taxed! And that’s what makes them so great. As usual, the truth is more complicated. ISA investment gains are not taxed, however the money deposited into an ISA will not help reduce your current year tax bill the way a deposit into a pension would.

For instance, a person who earns £75,000 in a year and contributes £20,000 to her ISA is still taxed on £75,000 by HMRC, but if she deposited that same £20,000 to her pension, she’d only be taxed on £55,000 of income. So owing to those immediate tax breaks, the pension would be the clear winner, no? Not necessarily. Because unlike a pension, which is taxed upon withdrawal, the money within the JISA will never again be subject to income tax, so any and all JISA gains are tax-free. We’re pro not paying taxes whenever possible and legal, however the pension versus ISA question is a complicated topic, and best debated elsewhere.

Last Updated April 16, 2018

Wealthsimple is investing on autopilot.