HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) has issued a call to all teenagers in Armagh, Newry and the rest of Northern Ireland to check if they have a Child Trust Fund (CTF).
CTFs were launched in the early 2000s, enabling parents and guardians with live Child Benefit claims to set up CTFs with banks and building societies for kids born between 1st September 2002 and 2nd January 2011.
In the event a CTF was not opened by a parent or guardian, HMRC opened one on behalf of each child, which equated to over a million CTFs formalised by the tax authority alone. An additional six million CTFs were opened by parents and guardians between 2002 and 2011.
The principle of a CTF was to help educate the next generation of adults to develop good fiscal habits, fostering a savings culture among Gen Z account holders that will be vital for everything from education to getting on the property ladder.
How to access your CTF and what to do with it
It’s been 12 months since the earliest CTF account holders were able to access their matured funds. Consequently, HMRC has launched a #FindMyCTF campaign designed to raise awareness and ensure Northern Ireland’s next-generation get the chance to withdraw funds or invest again into a new adult ISA.
Stocks and shares ISAs are eligible to anyone aged 18 and over that’s prepared to invest for a minimum of five years and is residing in the UK. It is known as one of the most tax-efficient investment tools given that any money generated from a stocks and shares ISA does not incur income tax or capital gains tax.
They are one of four types of individual savings accounts (ISAs) most commonly used by everyday people to build wealth for the future. The most basic accounts are cash ISAs, with no tax paid on interest accrued. The second is a stocks and shares ISA, which is invested across a broad portfolio of investments, including shares, government bonds, investment trusts and more. You don’t have to pay a penny in tax on any interest, income or dividends received from this type of ISA. The purpose of this product is to invest your savings into stocks in an attempt to achieve higher growth, with the ISA wrapper ensuring you don’t pay any capital gains on any profit made. The maximum allowance in 2021/22 that can be invested tax-free is £20,000. Although you can invest in multiple ISAs over your lifetime, you can only commit to one type of ISA in a tax year.
John Glen, Economic Secretary to the Treasury, believes the campaign is “fantastic” in helping the next generation “access the money saved for them in Child Trust Funds”. Glen added that this awareness campaign is designed to ensure “nobody misses out” on the ability to “invest in their future”.
Those unsure of whether they have a CTF or who their CTF provider may be can liaise directly with HMRC. Glen said that the Treasury is on-hand to help “track down your provider online” using their easy online tool.
Anyone aged 18 or 19 should ask their parent or guardian if they created a CTF and the name of the fund provider. Once the provider is known, young people can contact their providers directly to arrange a withdrawal of the matured funds or move the money into an adult ISA or alternative savings account.
Those unable to access HMRC’s online tool can also request to receive the details of their CTF provider via post. The details will be distributed within three weeks of receiving the request.