Your UK ISA is Not Tax Free Income in an EU Country

You could be getting the wrong information

Author: James Pearcy-Caldwell

ISA’s are only recognised for their tax efficient status by HMRC within the UK for Ordinary Residents.

Additionally HMRC does not apply tax or seek to cancel the ISA status for expatriates after they have left the UK, although no contributions or new applications are possible.

Further an ISA is by nature a MiFID product and can only be advised by qualified and registered investment advisers in, or outside, the UK and within the European Union and USA.

Any income or growth achieved from an ISA should be declared at the point of access to your local tax authority, but also where required on your annual wealth and tax declaration. An ISA is effectively a GIA. It has no tax benefits outside the UK and also is not classified as pension income or retirement earnings.

Whilst individual shares within an ISA can be sold and bought, and also there can be a transfer between ISA providers ALL gains and income are subject to declaration and assessment of tax in the country of client residence and is likely to be taxable in most cases. Most tax advisers would advise a client to treat an ISA the same as a GIA account.


If you, as the client, live in the EU and hold an ISA then the income and gains you receive should be declared and assessed for tax where you live. If you then transfer your ISA to a new provider and move part or all to cash, then the gains from the investments need to be declared in your EU country of residence because the ISA wrapper is not recognised outside the UK and you may have a tax bill upon transfer. This would be the same in the US and many other countries where you may also have annually reportable tax requirements.

Some advisers do not understand what an ISA is.

As an expatriate, what RED flags should you be aware of?

Tax advisers overseas have found IDD advisers (this is a firm with an insurance licence) not only giving incorrect advice about ISA transfers being “tax-free” but actually operating outside their legal and regulatory status. Also IDD advisers appointing another MiFID firm cannot give investment advice as the other MiFID firm must give the advice directly to the client.

We have seen advisers and product promoters writing that clients can retain their “tax-free” ISA and transfer it without implications often as in-specie transfers. As far as we are aware, an in-specie transfer of funds from one ISA to a new ISA is not available without the funds being sold down to cash before transfer. This could potentially lead to significant gains being realised that could be open to a tax charge in the new country of residence that the investor may not be expecting. This is likely to lead to potential tax penalties but in the worst case, fines and an investigation.

OpesFidelio advisers have a massive advantage as they have the regulatory status and are knowledgeable and experienced in answering your questions.

Contact OpesFidelio to Obtain Quality Investments Advice

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