The successor to the TESSA, the ISA (or individual savings account) provides a government regulated savings scheme for encouraging individuals to save rather than spend as a means of economic and financial control. By encouraging saving in the economy, inflation can be kept at a sustainable and manageable level, particularly where the economy is otherwise performing well, and the ISA has proven to be an invaluable asset for maintaining economic stability in this way. But what exactly are the tax benefits of the individual savings account, and how do they work in practice for those looking to stash some extra money into savings?
Monetarist economics revolves around the basic idea of controlling the amount of disposable income available and the money supply in an attempt to curb or stimulate economic growth as the particular economic climate demands. One means of doing this is to try to encourage the general population to hold onto their money for longer, rather than the excessive spending that can push up inflation and put pressure on the economy. The ISA works by encouraging those with excess cash to put it aside without having to worry about the associated tax burden. Payments into an ISA are tax deductible from income, and the interest accrued within the ISA is also tax free. In fact, the capital gains from an ISA are also tax free upon withdrawal, which ultimately makes it a valuable way to make money from your money.
Under normal savings schemes and taxation principles, paying money into an account cannot be deducted from your taxable income, meaning you still have to pay tax on the full amount include the sums paid into your savings as if it were income earned. However, by turning this on its head and allowing a deduction, savings can actually help reduce the direct tax burden, and so by encouraging saving in this type of account by reducing the amount of tax the saver has to pay. Secondly, the fact that the money in the savings account is allowed to earn money through investment tax free make it a prudent way to store your money and allow it to work for you, rather than the tax which is deducted at source from income earned in a regular savings account. Finally upon withdrawal from the account, there is no tax to be borne, leading to an all round attractive investment proposal for those with the disposable income to afford it.
Savings can be a great way to earn money from excess cash, and provide you with the resources to see you through for that rainy day. Within your annual personal savings limit, the ISA can be the best possible way to make a decent return on your money through high-yield low risk investments. Whereas normally one is liable for tax on the totality of his income above the annual allowance, the individual savings account allows you to make the most of your money whilst also saving from the tax implications of having excess income.