March 1 2004 Small investors should look out for deadlines which, if missed, could jeopardise their returns.

From April 2004, the 10 per cent tax credit paid on UK dividend income from ISAs will be abolished. In April 2006, the maximum investment amount per year is likely to fall to £1000 for a mini ISA and £5000 for a maxi ISA.

Under the current ISA scheme, individuals' savings are not subject to tax, and individuals are able to annually invest £3000 in a mini ISA and £7000 for a maxi ISA.

With such disadvantageous plans in the pipeline, investors should be taking full advantage of the incentives currently available. Those thinking of opening an ISA account should consider exhausting the maximum limits of £3000 and £7000 before they are reduced.

Additionally, those who have maturing Tessas, have just six months from the date of maturity to retain the tax-exempt status of the product by moving the capital element into a Tessa-only ISA. If you miss this deadline, your Tessa account converts to an ordinary deposit account and your tax savings will be lost.