This section looks at some of the main rules affecting Junior ISAs. The Junior ISA allowance in the 2016/17 tax year is £4,080.
See an illustration of how much your child's ISA investments could be worth when they reach 18.Use our calculator
- Each tax year the Junior ISA allowance rises in line with inflation, measured by the Consumer Price Index (CPI).
- A tax year runs from 6 April one year to 5 April the next.
- You can split the allowance however you choose between a Cash Junior ISA and a Stocks & Shares Junior ISA, or put the full allowance into one type of Junior ISA.
- A child can only hold one of each type of Junior ISA.
All stock market investments can fall in value as well as rise, so your child could get back less than is invested and you should regard them as long-term investments. Whilst the tax benefits we refer to are those that currently apply, they can change over time and their value will depend on your child's circumstances.
In this section
What is a Junior ISA (JISA)?
Junior ISAs are tax-efficient investment and savings accounts for children. In practice they are extremely similar to 'adult' ISAs.
Depending on how much you save, a Junior ISA could be used for a number of different purposes such as saving towards a child's university fees or a deposit on their first home. The government does not insist a Junior ISA is used for any particular purpose.
What type of Junior ISAs are there?
There are two types available:
- Junior Cash ISAs
- Junior Stocks & Shares ISAs
The HL Vantage Junior ISA is a Stocks & Shares Junior ISA.
Junior ISA eligibility
Any child under age 18 resident in the UK and who wasn't eligible for a Child Trust Fund is automatically eligible for a Junior ISA.
Children born between 1 September 2002 and 2 January 2011 need to transfer their Child Trust Fund to a Junior ISA first in order to open an account.
Basic Junior ISA rules
Who can make contributions?
Once a parent or guardian opens the account, anyone can make contributions. Total contributions to the account must fall within the annual Junior ISA allowance (£4,080 for the 2016/17 tax year).
Who gives the investment instructions?
While anyone (including parents, grandparents and friends) can contribute to a Junior ISA, only the registered contact (a parent or legal guardian) is able to give instructions about where to invest the money.
The money is ring-fenced for the child until they are 18 - no withdrawals are permitted before then except in the event of terminal illness or death.
When the child reaches 18 their account is automatically converted into an 'adult' ISA and they are entitled to full access to their investments and savings.
Junior ISA regulations permit children to take control of their account at age 16. However, the Vantage Junior Stocks and Shares ISA doesn't offer this as an option.
Topping up a JISA
Unlike adult ISAs, a child is only able to hold one type of each Junior ISA account (one Junior Cash ISA and one Junior Stocks & Shares ISA. Therefore, you need to use each year's annual allowance by topping up the existing accounts).
Contributions can normally be made to Junior ISAs either with a lump sum payment or via monthly payments. Using the full 2016/17 JISA allowance (£4,080), a regular contribution would equate to a regular investment of £340 per month for 12 months. Top up an existing Vantage Junior ISA
Do I have to use a whole year's allowance?
Whilst the full allowance does not have to be invested each year, any unused amount cannot be rolled over into subsequent years. So, if the full allowance isn't used in a year, it will be lost.
Switching account providers
Whilst the rules state a child can only have one Junior Stocks & Shares ISA and one Junior Cash ISA at any one time, transferring between the two is acceptable.
You are also free to switch your child's Junior Stocks & Shares ISA or Junior Cash ISA provider. However, since only one of each type of Junior ISA is permitted, you would need to transfer the full amount of your child's existing Junior Stocks & Shares ISA to any new provider.
Transfer your current Junior ISA to Hargreaves Lansdown
Transferring from a Child Trust Fund (CTF)
CTFs were launched in 2005 as a way to encourage parents to save tax-efficiently for their children's future. Most children born between 1 September 2002 and 2 January 2011 would have received a voucher from the government worth at least £250, which could be used to set up a CTF.
In November 2011, CTFs were replaced with Junior ISAs which shared many characteristics (including their tax efficiency), but were much simplified and improved. Junior ISAs have proven more popular with parents as they typically offer more competitive charges and greater investment choice to enable potentially greater returns.
To transfer a CTF to the Vantage Junior Stocks & Shares ISA, the registered contact for the CTF (parent or guardian) must complete and return the Junior Stocks & Shares ISA Transfer form.
Find out more about CTF to Junior ISA transfers here
Junior ISA tax rules and benefits
What are the tax benefits?
There is no capital gains tax and no UK income tax to pay on the income on the investments in a Junior ISA. They don't need to be declared on any tax returns, and this simplicity makes them the first port of call for many parents and grandparents looking to save for a child's future.
Please note that tax rules can change over time and the benefits to the child will depend on their individual circumstances.
16 and 17 year olds
The current rules allow children aged 16 and 17 to hold an adult Cash ISA alongside any Junior ISAs they hold.
The allowance for an adult Cash ISA is a further £15,240 that can be invested alongside the full Junior ISA allowance of £4,080.
Why save for your child's future in an ISA?
Today's children face an uncertain financial future, and many will have accumulated a significant debt burden of their own before they even commence work - Junior ISAs can provide a nest egg.
Any money paid into a JISA is treated as the child's and all interest earned is free of tax (unlike children's savings accounts, where income over £100 on contributions from a parent is taxed as the parent's income). Anyone can add funds to a Junior ISA - parents, grandparents, friends and relatives.
Children from families that save tend to continue the pattern, and Junior ISAs can provide valuable childhood experience. Many children leave some or all of their Junior ISA invested when they turn 18, continuing the saving and investing habit, well into adulthood.
Find out how you can start investing for a child or grandchild's future.Claim your free guide
The Vantage Junior ISA - one of the most popular on the market
- In 2014/15, over 30% of all Stocks & Shares Junior ISA subscriptions were held with Hargreaves Lansdown*
- Opening an account online takes less than five minutes.
- Start investing from just £25 per month or a £100 lump sum.
- View and manage your child's investments online or using our award-winning app, and see all of your family's accounts in one place.
- When you call us, you'll speak to a real person who'll be able to help. The experts on our Bristol-based helpdesk aim to answer all calls in under 10 seconds.
- A wealth of expert investment research is available, helping you make the most of this investment in your child's future.
- Existing Child Trust Funds can be easily transferred into our Junior ISAs.
View our charges
Open a Junior ISA
You can open a Junior ISA for an eligible child quickly and easily online.
You can start investing for your child from as little as £25 per month or a lump sum of £100. Once a child's account has been opened by a parent anyone can make a subscription e.g. parents, grandparents, friends and relatives.
Open a Junior ISA