That helpful Mr Taxman

There's no need to move to the Cayman Islands or open a Swiss bank account if you want to pay less tax and make your savings grow

It's the dream of everyone who has ever had a "Dear Sir, Unless ..." letter from the Inland Revenue: to make some money at the taxman's expense.

So why not make your dream come true? Or even go one better and get the taxman to help you make your money grow. All it takes is some careful planning, to work out the how, where, when and why you should put your money away.

This is not tax evasion. You don't have to reach for the atlas to check the whereabouts of the Cayman Islands, or memorise a password for a secret account with the gnomes of Zurich.

It's called tax efficiency. Managing your money in ways that have the effect of keeping your tax bill down. It's more than just legal: many of the tax-saving schemes described on these pages have actually been invented by the Government to encourage personal savings.

How to save efficiently means making full use of allowances. Remember that you can earn up to pounds 3,765 a year without paying tax. So if you are a married couple with only one partner working, put some investments in his or her name - and earn up to pounds 72 a week tax-free.

Then think about where to put your money: there is an increasing number of tax-free savings and investment vehicles, such as National Savings, Tessas and Peps, which can provide an easy way to beat the taxman without really trying.

"When" has a double meaning. When will you want to get your hands on the money - either the original sum you invest, or the interest it earns? Most tax-savers want to lock your money away for several years. And then there is the question of what stage in life you are at now - and what stage you are saving for. If you are saving for retirement, for example, the taxman will be particularly generous

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