NISA - Nippon (Japan) Individual Savings Account - is a type of tax-advantaged investment account modelled on the British Wikipedia:Individual savings account.
There are three types of NISA:
From 2024 the system is being revised, with NISA and Tsumitate NISA being merged into a new account with a lifetime allowance. See #New NISA from 2024 below.
- It is possible to invest up ¥1,200,000 yen per year in a NISA
- Investments are tax-free for 5 years, including the purchase year.
- Any dividends earned in a NISA are free of Japanese taxes.
- Any assets sold from a NISA are free of Japanese capital gains tax (but the allowance for sold assets cannot be reused).
Investments are free of Japanese dividend and capital gains tax for 5 years, including the purchase year.
It is possible to maintain a total of 5 years (so ¥6M + gains and dividends) of tax-free allowance at once.
- Investments made in 2019 are tax free until the end of 2023.
- Investments made in 2020 are tax free until the end of 2024.
- Investments made in 2021 are tax free until the end of 2025.
- Investments made in 2022 are tax free until the end of 2026.
- Investments made in 2023 are tax free until the end of 2027.
- Foreign stocks are subject to foreign withholding tax that cannot be reclaimed.
- Selling an asset in a NISA does not return the annual allowance.
- Thus the allowance is an allowance on total purchases for a year.
- Once a purchase has been made, that amount of the NISA allowance is irreversibly consumed.
- When the tax free period is over, the price as the end of the period is considered the purchase price for the purposes of calculating future capital gains. This is normally a benefit, but if the asset value is lower than the purchase price at the end of the tax free period, any future gains will be calculated from the lower value.
End of the 5-year period
When the 5 years are up, any unsold assets will be moved into a taxable account. Future capital gains are calculated from the price of the assets at the time the assets were removed from the NISA.
Rollover until 2023
It used to be possible to rollover the balance from an expiring 5-year NISA into the next year's NISA. However, as 2023 is the last year of the 5-year NISA, this is no longer possible. The assets in a NISA will be converted to a taxable account as the NISA expires.
New NISA from 2024
The New NISA (新しい NISA) system starts in 2024 to replace the old NISA system which is ending in 2023. Details of the new system are still sparse as of May 2023, but here is what is known so far:
- No time limit - investments are tax free forever
- A lifetime investment limit of ¥18 million.
- An annual investment limit of ¥3.6 million.
- The lifetime limit can be re-used when selling investments. Selling an investment from the New NISA increases the remaining lifetime allowance by the amount the investment was originally purchased for, from the following year.
For example, if you invested ¥10k and then sold it after it grew to ¥20k, the original ¥10k of lifetime allowance would become available the following year for reinvestment. The other ¥10k would be a tax-free gain but you would not be able to reinvest it without consuming additional lifetime allowance.
The annual and lifetime limits are split into two categories: Tsumitate and Growth.
- Tsumitate investments are monthly investments in approved mutual funds (the same as the current Tsumitate NISA).
- Growth investments are manual purchases of almost any available security, which can also be the funds that qualify for tsumitate investments.
- The ¥3.6 million annual limit is spit into ¥1.2M of tsumitate investments, ¥2.4M of growth investments.
- Of the ¥18 million lifetime limit is, a maximum of ¥12M can be from growth investments. It is possible for the whole ¥18M to be from tsumitate investments (e.g. ¥1.2M × 15 years).
In order to take advantage of the full ¥18 million allowance, ¥6 million must be made as tsumitate investments over at least 5 years. This appears to be in order to encourage people to make regular investments in mutual funds (and not focus only on speculative stock purchases, for example).
The New NISA is a new system, unrelated to the existing NISA and Tsumitate NISA accounts. Tax free investments in those accounts can be held until their tax free period expires, when they will be moved to a taxable account. It's not possible to move "old" NISA investments to the New NISA.
Choosing an account in 2023
For most people considering starting a NISA in 2023, Tsumitate NISA is the better choice.
This is because, as rollover in the regular NISA is no longer possible, the short 5 year period may result in assets being worth less than they were at the start of the period. When the 5 years are up, the assets are moved into a taxable account. However in the case where the assets have devalued, you will need to pay future capital gains tax on any gains from the devalued price, not the (higher) price you originally paid. In a Tsumitate NISA, the 20-year period means there is more likelihood that the assets will have risen in value by the time the 20 year period is over and they are moved to a taxable account.