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Can I keep my UK ISA living in Spain?

By Chris Burke - Topics: Spain, UK investments, UK ISA
This article is published on: 19th November 2021

As explained on the UK government website, you can keep your UK ISA open if you move abroad. However, it is not possible to add money to the ISA in the tax year after you move (unless you are a crown employee working overseas or their spouse or civil partner). Furthermore, as soon as you stop being a UK resident you must inform your UK ISA provider. If you decide to move back to the UK in the future then you may continue to contribute to your ISA.

ISA’s in Spain – can I get a Spanish ISA?
In simple terms, it is not possible to get an ISA (Individual Savings Account) in Spain. In order to be eligible for a UK ISA, you must be a tax resident of the UK (or a crown employee working overseas or their spouse or civil partner). However, there are financial products available in Spain that are similar to an ISA which can be considered as a viable alternative.

Spanish compliant investment bonds – the ISA alternative?
Similar to the UK ISA, Spanish compliant investment bonds offer tax benefits. Only select accounts are eligible for these benefits, so one must be careful to open an account specifically designated as a Spanish compliant portfolio bond. Although in Spain the gains from the performance of the investment are not completely tax free like the UK ISA, the gains from the Spanish compliant investment bonds still hold notable tax advantages. These advantages can be summarised in the following table:

Benefit Explanation
Capital Gains Tax Reduction No capital gains tax is charged until a withdrawal takes place, allowing the power of compound interest to grow the value of the investment over time.
Tax Savings on Withdrawals Unlike ‘normal’ investments in Spain, you only pay tax on the growth of the investment as opposed to the overall percentage gain. The original investment is known as initial capital.
Annual Tax Return Does not need to be reported on the Modelo 720.
Different Currencies Can be held in a variety of currencies – it is not required to be held in euros.
Inheritance Tax Reduction It can be held jointly meaning that the policy would pass to the survivor in the event of death, preventing complex legal hurdles.
Fund and Provider Choice A wide range of regulated funds qualify, which are offered by international firms such as Prudential and Quilter PLC.

Spanish Compliant Investment Bond – Tax Saving Example

Initial Partial Surrender (Part Withdrawal) of €5,000)

Premium (Initial Investment) €100,000
Surrender Value €130,000
Partial Surrender (Withdrawal) Amount €5,000
Policyholder/Spanish Resident Before Chargeable Events Yes
(Initial Investment/surrender value) x partial surrender amount
(€100,000/€130,000) x €5,000 Non-taxable Portion €3,846
(Initial Investment – non-taxable portion) €5,000 – €3,846 Taxable Income €1,154
19% tax on the taxable income
€1,154 x 19% Tax Due €219
Amount Paid to Policyholder €5,000 – €219 = €4,781
Surrender Value – Partial Surrender Amount
(€130,000 – €5,000) Closing Surrender Value of Bond €125,000

In essence the more the Spanish Investment Bond grows, the more your tax is offset.

If you would like to find out more about the ISA alternative here in Spain or to talk through your situation and receive expert, factual advice, don’t hesitate to get in touch with Chris:

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Article by Chris Burke

If you are based in the Barcelona/Costa Brava area and would like to have an initial, complimentary face to face video call or arrange a time to visit Chris in his office in central Barcelona, contact Chris on chris.burke@spectrum-ifa.com or whatsapp +34 689915730. If you are based in another area within Europe, please complete the form below and we will put a local adviser in touch with you.

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