Last-minute mistakes that could cost you your ISA allowance

Sam Slator 26/03/18 in Basics

Human nature is such that there is a tendency among us all to leave things until the very last minute. This is also true when it comes to our investments. While we all have the opportunity to make the most of our pension and ISA allowances from the 6 April each year, a surprisingly large number of people leave it until the last few weeks of the tax year to take action.

As we all know, more haste can mean less speed and, in the case of ISAs, missing out altogether: unlike pensions, you cannot carry forward your ISA allowance into the next tax year. You must either use it, or lose it.

To help FundCalibre visitors avoid any costly mistakes, we’ve compiled a handy check-list for those of you who have left your ISA investments a little too close to 5 April for comfort.

For those sending their investments via post, there are a number of very simple things that can trip you up:

  1. One of the most common errors is making a cheque out to the wrong company or forgetting to sign it or the application form.
  2. Many people also forget to inform their bank or ISA provider if they’ve moved house – so double check you’ve done this or your investment could be rejected.
  3. Sending your investment off via guaranteed overnight delivery, rather than relying on first or second-class post, is also a shrewd move to minimise any chance of disappointment.

For those investing online or by phone there are also some steps you can take to minimise the risk of error:

  1. It’s always wise to account for any unforeseen dramas regarding your bank, so leave yourself plenty of time. Bank transfers can take a while to process and, of course, there could always be glitches on the website or the app you are using.
  2. A lot of banks might also block your transaction if the sum of money you are investing is substantial, so make sure you let your bank know beforehand to avoid delays.
  3. And, if you’re heading in-branch, double-check the opening times and account for any unforeseen closures.
  4. Finally, we’ve all been let down by technology before – and it always seems to happen at the most crucial of times! If you only leave yourself a precious couple of hours before the end of the tax year before topping up your ISA, a frozen laptop or broadband issue could mean you lose out.
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