Some of Asda’s top brass have been paid part of their salary early in order to avoid the new 50% tax rate.

Directors were offered the chance to receive two months’ pay in March, meaning they would be taxed at 40% rather than the higher rate which will be applied to those earning more than £150,000 a year.

The executives would normally have been paid on April 9, three days into the new tax year, the Daily Mail reported.

Asda said senior staff are paid four weeks in arrears and that most of their earnings on April 9 were made during the previous tax year.

An Asda spokesman said: “We did give the small number of people who fell into the 50% tax bracket the option to receive the portion of their party in the correct tax year in which it was earned.”

It is not known which Asda executives took up the opportunity.

Other retailers, such as Marks & Spencer, Sainsbury’s and Tesco have brought forward employee bonus payments to avoid the higher tax rate.