Text taken from www.investments.co.uk
ISA's - Individual Savings Accounts
An ISA is an Indiviual Savings Account. It is basically a way to wrap up your investments - either cash or shares - so you don't have to pay tax on them.
Think of it like a box. Inside the box you can put cash, shares, funds or some life insurance policies. The box protects anything inside it from the taxman so you don't have to pay tax on any increase in your investment, or on any dividends you receive.
There are limits each tax year to the amount you are allowed to invest and you can only open one new ISA in any tax year. You don't have to put all the money in at once - you can add to an ISA during the tax year at regular intervals, or occasionally when you are able, within the annual limits.
See our Tax Guide for details.
You can keep the same ISA open for longer than one tax year and continue adding into it after the first year, but if you do this you won't be allowed to open another ISA. Alternatively you can open a different ISA every tax year.
There are essentially two options - a Maxi ISA or a Mini ISA and you can choose whether you want to open one maxi ISA or up to three mini ISAs (one of each of cash, shares and insurance).
You can get an ISA from any ISA manager. They include banks, building societies, some retailers, insurance companies, investment and unit trust companies, financial advisers, stockbrokers and friendly societies. See our Providers' Pages or complete our Quick Enquiry Form for more information.Your ISA will continue until you decide to withdraw your cash or investment.