Employers were paid £1.7 billion more in bonuses this April than last year as they took advantage of the new 45p top tax rate.
Many businesses held over pay-outs normally made in March, when they would have had to pay 50p in the pound to the Treasury.
Bonuses in the finance and insurance industry were more than double in April than they were the year before, despite an outcry earlier this year that forced banking giant Goldman Sachs to back down on plans to defer bonus payments to UK staff.
A report from the Office for National Statistics said the usual definition of “bonus season” from December to March did not apply, with April seeing “unusually high levels of bonus payments”.
Total bonuses for the tax year from April 2012 to March 2013 were up 1% to £36.9 billion, giving an average of around £1,400 per employee which was unchanged from last year, the ONS figures showed.