Home Money Be warned – banks tell me they WON’T be ready for major Isa shake-up, says SYLVIA MORRIS

Be warned – banks tell me they WON’T be ready for major Isa shake-up, says SYLVIA MORRIS

by Elijah
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Be warned - banks tell me they WON'T be ready for major Isa shake-up, says SYLVIA MORRIS

Savers have been promised a shake-up of Isa rules, which will make tax-free saving easier than ever.

But with a month to go until April 6, when the changes are expected to take effect, industry experts say providers are far from ready.

Savers could benefit long after the deadline, and some providers may not make any changes.

That’s why you need to be agile to ensure you benefit from the new rules as soon as possible.

The biggest change is that from the new tax year on April 6, savers will be able to pay into as many Isas as they want, with as many providers as they choose.

However, savers will still have the responsibility to stay within the Isa limit of £20,000 per tax year.

The changes should make it easier to choose the best Isas for you (for example, you could have both an easy-access and a fixed-rate Isa) and get attractive deals.

Existing rules say you can only pay cash into Isa from your current year allowance.

The changes are expected to trigger greater competition among providers to offer better rates.

However, I have contacted all the big savings providers and some say they may not allow customers to open more than one Isa before the deadline.

They tell me their hands are tied because they are still waiting for HM Revenue & Customs to clarify how the rules should be applied.

The draft rules, published just two weeks ago according to internal sources, have not been made public.

Several suppliers also stress that it is up to them to offer the new flexibility. The rules are not mandatory.

I’m told some may decide not to offer easy-access, fixed-rate Isas. Others may not allow you to open more than one with them.

Rules should also mean fewer forms. Currently, if you have not contributed to your Easy Access Cash Isa with the same provider for a tax year, you must complete a new form to revalidate it. That rule disappears too.

However, some providers may still ask you to complete a new application form.

There is also a rule in place that all your cash must be carried over if you transfer an open Isa in the existing tax year.

Starting next fiscal year you will be able to move all the money you want.

Ask your new supplier to arrange the transfer so your cash doesn’t lose its tax-free status.

A transfer can take up to 15 business days, but the industry has committed to processing 85 percent in just seven business days.

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