ISA Explained: What Is The ISA Allowance / ISA Limit This Year? [Updated]

One of the most popular questions asked about the ISA (Individual Savings Account) concerns the ISA allowance, otherwise known as the ISA limit.

This article explains what these terms mean and more importantly, what the ISA allowance / ISA limit is for each tax year from 1999 until today.

Also, near the end of this article we explain how you can access more free information from one of the best ISA providers in the UK market today.

So let’s start with the easy bit first…

What Is An ISA Allowance / ISA Limit?

Each tax year, the UK Government restricts the amount of new cash that you can save or invest into your ISA.

This amount is known as the ISA limit or ISA allowance for a given tax year.

As the UK tax year runs from 6th April to 5th April each year, this means that you have a separate allowance each and every year which you can put into your ISA between those two dates.

You are only allowed one ISA each tax year with one ISA provider, but you can have a different ISA provider each year for that year’s allowance if you wish.

Stocks And Shares ISA Allowance / Limit

As ISAs are primarily supposed to be an investment vehicle as opposed to a savings vehicle, you are allowed to put the full annual allowance into a stocks and shares ISA.

By doing this, you are protecting your stocks and shares from income tax and capital gains tax.

I don’t go into these aspects in this article but you can find the information here, if you want it.

However, if you are using your ISA as a cash savings account instead, as a means of getting a slightly higher interest rate on your savings, there are some additional restrictions for cash-only ISAs.

Cash ISA Allowance / Limit

Since ISAs started, the amount that can be invested into them as cash only, to be retained as cash as opposed to cash for investing in stocks and shares, has always been restricted.

Up until July 2014, the cash ISA allowance / cash ISA limit for every tax year has been 50% of that allowed for investing in stocks and shares.

However, as of July 2014, this is no longer the case because the rules have changed with the advent of the NISA (New ISA).


As of 1st July, 2014, the ISA allowance / ISA limit has increased (see below) and the rules of what you can and can’t do with your cash have become a lot more flexible.

With the new ISA, you no longer need to restrict your cash amount to 50% of the total – you can use the full 100% for cash if you so wish.

Also, you can have any split of cash / stocks and shares that you wish – so you could hold 80% cash and 20% shares.

Not only that, but you can now move freely back and forth between the cash ISA and the stocks and shares ISA, whereas in the past you could only move in one direction (cash ISA to stocks and shares ISA).

ISA Allowances / ISA Limits For Each UK Tax Year

The table below shows the UK ISA tax allowances for each year going back to 1999/2000.

The table shows the cash ISA limit as well, for each year, in a separate column:

Tax Year
(April 6th to April 5th)
ISA Total Allowance
Cash ISA Allowance
1999 to 20007,0003,500
2000 to 20017,0003,500
2001 to 20027,0003,500
2002 to 20037,0003,500
2003 to 20047,0003,500
2004 to 20057,0003,500
2005 to 20067,0003,500
2006 to 20077,0003,500
2007 to 20087,0003,500
2008 to 20097,2003,600
2009 to 20107,2003,600
2010 to 201110,2005,100
2011 to 201210,6805,340
2012 to 201311,2805,640
2013 to 201411,5205,760
2014 to 2015 (pre July)11,8805,940
2014 to 2015 (from July)15,00015,000
2015 to 201615,24015,240
2016 to 201715,24015,240
2017 to 201820,00020,000
2018 to 201920,00020,000

As you can see, the allowances have risen sharply in the last few years but this may not always be the case.

Indeed, in these times of austerity, the UK Government may decide to reduce the annual allowances in an attempt to increase their tax income.

How To Invest In Shares In An ISA

At How To Invest In Shares, we are big fans of anything that enables taxes of any kind to be avoided legally.

Personally, I hold as many of my company shares and investments in tax-efficient vehicles as possible and the ISA is one of these vehicles that I use.

If you’d like to know more about how to use ISAs to shelter your shares from tax, then why not access a copy of the free ISA guide from Hargreaves Lansdown?

Hargreaves Lansdown is a solid FTSE 100 company providing one of the best ISAs available today.

Alternatively, If you have any questions or comments about ISAs, ISA limits or ISA allowances then please leave them below and I will answer…

Disclosure: The author of this post is a customer and affiliate of Hargreaves Lansdown

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