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FSA looks to bolster unpopular NISA accounts with children’s version

Kyodo

The Financial Services Agency plans to expand its small-lot, temporarily tax-free NISA accounts to let people open them in the names of their children and grandchildren, sources close to the matter said Thursday.

The agency will make arrangements with the ruling parties to have the Nippon Individual Savings Accounts rendered tax-free up to a limit of ¥800,000 per year when used to invest in stocks and other financial instruments.

The move is aimed at promoting the transfer of assets from the elderly to younger generations, and to stimulate youngsters’ interest in the investment world, the sources said.

The agency also eyes expanding the annual investment tax exemption limit on conventional NISA accounts to ¥1.2 million from the present ¥1 million, sources said.

The agency plans to include the increased investment limit in its tax revision request for the fiscal year starting April 2015, with an eye to expanding the program from January 2016 at the latest.

The agency is considering setting a maximum age limit for the “children version” of NISA at 18 and lowering the minimum eligible age for the conventional NISA to 18 from 20 now.

Since NISA was introduced in January this year to increase the number of individual investors, total investment had topped ¥1 trillion by the end of March, thanks mostly to experienced investors eager to take advantage of the tax-free boost. But the program has failed to attract many younger people, who have grown skeptical of Japanese capitalism.

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