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Junior ISA

Junior Individual Savings Accounts

This section explains how to open a Junior Individual Savings Account (ISA) for a child. Find out how to manage the account and add money into a Junior ISA - sometimes called a JISA.

WHAT IS A JUNIOR ISA? In simple terms, Junior ISAs are long-term, tax-free savings accounts meant for young children.

Note: There is an upper savings limit on a child ISA account. The Junior ISA limit is £4,260 for the UK tax year 2018 to 2019.

Junior ISA Eligibility Rules

To qualify for the children's version of Individual Savings Accounts the child must be:

What happens if the child lives outside of the United Kingdom? In this case, both of these rules must apply for your child to qualify for a Junior ISA:

Note: Junior ISA rules do not allow the policy holder to have a Child Trust Fund at the same time. Thus, ask the CTF provider to transfer the funds if you want to open a Junior Individual Savings Account.

How a Junior ISA Works

There are two (2) different types of Junior Individual Savings Accounts. A child can have one or they can have both types of Junior ISA:

  1. A cash Junior ISA (e.g. no tax on children's savings is liable on the interest made on the cash saved).
  2. A stocks and shares Junior ISA (e.g. cash gets invested for you and no tax is liable on any capital growth or dividends received).

A parent or a guardian (with parental responsibility) can open a Junior ISA and manage the account. The money 'officially' belongs to the child and they can control or manage the account when they get to 16. But, they cannot withdraw from the fund until they reach 18 years old.

How to Open a Junior ISA Account

The parents or a guardian must have parental responsibility to open an ISA for a child under 16 years old. To do so, follow these three steps:

  1. How to Open and Manage Junior Individual Savings Accounts (ISA) in the United KingdomDecide which type of Junior ISA you want for your child. It can either be cash, stocks and shares, or it can be one of each (but not more).
  2. Search for an account provider and choose one to open the account for you.
  3. Ask the provider for an application form and fill it in.

Note: Children can open their own Junior ISA while they are 16 or 17 years old. Once they get to this age, they can also open an adult cash ISA at the same time.

Child ISA Account Providers

Junior ISAs are available at almost all banks and building societies. You can also get them at credit unions, some friendly societies, and through stock brokers. Contact any of them to get further information.

Adding Money to a Junior ISA Account

Junior ISA rules allow anyone to put money into the fund for the child. But, the total amount that gets paid in must not go over £4,260 during the current tax year 2018 to 2019.

An Example: A child has £2,000 paid into their cash Junior ISA between the 6th of April 2018 and the 5th of April 2019. Thus, £2,260 is the most that could get paid into their stocks and shares Junior ISA during the same tax year.

Transferring Money between Junior ISAs

The rules of Junior Individual Savings Accounts (ISA) allow money transfers between:

But, you cannot transfer money from a Junior ISA to an adult Individual Savings Account. Even so, you can add cash investments to your child's account if they move abroad.

Note: As a rule, money invested in a Junior ISA belongs to the child. They cannot access the money (withdraw it) until they reach 18 years old. Some exceptions apply for a terminal illness or if the child dies.

Managing a Child ISA Account

The policy of a child Junior ISA will get registered in their own name. But, the responsibility of managing the account rests with the parent who opened it. Thus, the parent or guardian would be the 'registered contact'.

There are some things that only the registered contact can do or change (with the account provider) such as:

Children Aged 16 or 17

Once the child turns the age of 16 they are then allowed to:

Note: When the child reaches 18 years of age they can take out money from their own accounts. All Junior ISAs turn into an adult ISA by automatic process once the child turns 18 years old.

If the Child is Terminally Ill (or dies)

If the child becomes terminally ill, the registered contact can take money out of the Junior ISA. As a rule, the definition would be a disease or an illness that is going to worsen. The expectation would be for the child not to live longer than six (6) months.

ALSO IN THIS SECTION

Become a Legal Parent | The process for becoming the legal parent of a child in the United Kingdom.

Parenting Rules | A section explaining the basics of parenthood and your legal rights of being a parent.

Taking Money Out of an ISA

HMRC need to confirm whether you can take money out of your child's Junior ISA. Filling in the terminal illness early access form will let HM Revenue and Customs know that:

If the Child Dies

Any money in the account gets paid to whoever inherits the estate if the child dies. Thus, the usual rules of wills, probate, and inheritance apply. In most cases, it would be one of the child's parents. But, if the policy holder is 16 or older, it could be their spouse if they got married.

If this happens, there would be no need to inform HMRC about the death of the child. But, you must inform the account provider so they can close all Junior ISAs of the child. They might ask for some proof before doing this (e.g. a copy of the death certificate).

Interest on Savings for Children

As a rule, there is no tax to pay on savings accounts for children. But, you must inform HMRC if the child 'earns' more than £100 in interest from money given by a parent (in the tax year).

You must also inform HMRC if a child gets an income over their Personal Allowance (e.g. from a trust). In this case, the child would have to pay the tax on it. The parent would need to pay tax on all the interest if goes above their own Personal Savings Allowance.

The £100 savings interest limit does not apply to money in a Junior ISA or Child Trust Fund or to money given by relatives, grandparents, or friends.

How to Open and Manage Junior ISA Accounts in the United Kingdom