What to do with a UK ISA as a French Resident?
If you are a French resident, you may already have one or more UK Individual Savings Account’s (ISA’s) from when you previously lived or worked in the United Kingdom.
You may be wondering if you can continue to hold your UK ISA or continue investing in your UK Individual Savings Account (ISA) now that you have become a French Resident.
Can a French Resident Continue to Hold or Invest in a UK ISA?
The short answer is yes, a French resident can keep or invest in their UK ISA. However, there are a few things you should be aware of before you do so.
Firstly, for new ISA investments, you will need to find a UK-based ISA provider that accepts applications from non-UK residents. Most UK providers, post-Brexit won’t accept new customers if they are not UK residents.
What happens if I already have a UK ISA?
Secondly, you will need to consider the tax implications of investing in a UK ISA as a French resident. While ISAs are tax-free in the UK and allow gross roll-up, they are not if you are a French resident and they would be subject to French taxation on any gains each tax year, and when you make any withdrawals.
Alternative Investment Opportunities for French Residents:
French Tax-Efficient Savings Accounts
Similar to a UK ISA, a French tax-efficient savings account can offer you the same tax benefits that you came accustomed to when you were a UK resident and investing in a UK ISA, such as gross roll-up on investment gains. There are numerous tax-efficient savings accounts available in France such as an “Assurance Vie“ (AV), the “Plan d’Epargne en Actions” (PEA) or the “Livret A”.
An Assurance Vie is very popular with French residents and allows you to invest in a range of mutual funds and ETFs. Here at Harrison Brook, we do also have Assurance Vie options available in British Pounds (GBP) if you would prefer to roll your UK ISA into an Assurance Vie without needing to change the underlying currency to Euro (EUR). If you also currently hold a UK Stocks & Shares ISA, it can also be possible to asset transfer your existing investments directly from your ISA to an Assurance Vie.
French Real Estate
Another option is to invest in real estate. France has a strong real estate market and there are a number of investment opportunities available, such as buy-to-let properties or real estate investment trusts (REITs).
You could also consider investing in French or International stocks and shares, mutual funds and ETFs through an “Investment Platform“. Similar to a UK ISA, the main drawback compared with a French tax-efficient savings account is that it does not offer gross roll-up on investment gains or any additional tax benefits as a French resident. If you are only in France for a short period of time, for example on a short-term work contract. An investment platform can be useful to setup while you are a French resident and then move to another country. As you could continue to invest and withdraw as you move around on varying work contracts. But you just need to be wary of the tax drawbacks during the time that you are a French resident.
In summary, if you are a French resident, you can continue to hold and invest in your UK ISA, but you should be aware of the tax implications and that similar tax-efficient investment vehicles do exist in France that you could utilise instead now that you are a French resident.
To fully understand what to do with a UK ISA as a French resident you can arrange an introductory meeting with a member of the Harrison Brook France advisory team. They can look at your current situation and propose the best solution for your circumstances, focusing on future growth potential but also on French tax efficiency.