The Daily Mail reports today that HM Revenue & Customs will be able to take up to £17,000 direct from pay packets from next April – compared to the current limit of £3,000.

Tax codes will be altered for those believed to have underpaid income tax, capital gains tax or National Insurance contributions. HMRC said the Government held a full consultation on the changes in 2013 and the higher cap would come into effect in April.

The limit will remain at £3,000 for those earning less than £30,000, but rise to £17,000 for those on more than £90,000.

Chas Roy-Chowdhury, head of taxation at the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants, said: ‘This is another creeping of HMRC’s powers, which are skewed in favour of themselves and away from the taxpayers. HMRC is becoming a more confrontational and all-powerful organisation.”

HMRC, has been able to seize cash wages since 1944 but they insist any money taken would be spread out over 12 monthly instalments.

Accountancy firm Kingston Smith said raising the cap could be seen as ‘a new high in the intrusion of the state into private affairs’. And Tax partner Tim Stovold said: ‘These so far overlooked new rules are a continuation of powers being given to HMRC to collect amounts owing to them and will come as a nasty surprise to many.’