From April 2017, adults under the age of 40 will be able to open a Lifetime ISA (LISA) and pay in up to £4,000 each tax year. They will be able to continue making contributions up to the age of 50. The government will add a 25% bonus to these contributions. This means that individuals who save the maximum will receive a £1,000 bonus each year from the Government.
The tax-free funds, including the Government bonus, can be used to help buy a first home worth up to £450,000 at any time from 12 months after first saving into the account. The funds, including the Government bonus, can be withdrawn from the LISA from age 60 tax-free for any purpose. LISA holders will also be able to access their savings if they become terminally ill.
If savers make withdrawals before age 60 for other purposes a 25% charge will apply to the amount of withdrawal. This returns the bonus element of the fund (including any interest or growth on that bonus) to the Government.
“Help to Save”, aimed at supporting people on low incomes to build up their savings will follow in 2018. That scheme will add a 50% Government bonus on savings up to £50 a month for up to four years. Help to Save will be available through NS&I to any adult who is receiving working tax credit or universal credit with minimum household earnings equivalent to 16 hours a week at the National Living Wage.