The mistake has affected nearly 5000 army service men and women and is thought to have been due to a fault in a new computer payroll system.
The Ministry of Defence says the blunder was discovered in June, but that incorrect amounts had been paid into soldiers’ bank accounts since 2007.
485 staff will now have to make repayments. The vast majority – 398 – owe between Ã‚Â£1,000 and Ã‚Â£3,000. But one soldier will be required to repay Ã‚Â£6,500.
The MoD acknowledged that many personnel would not have noticed the minor overpayments, but that they had accumulated over the three-year period.
The errors have been blamed on incorrect data being fed into the Joint Personnel Administration system – a Ã‚Â£269 million initiative introduced to replace separate payrolls for the Army, Navy and RAF.
The MoD was unavailable to comment, but a spokesman was quoted as saying: “We can confirm an overpayment of salary has been made to some 485 Army personnel. We apologise to those affected and are in the process of contacting everyone involved. Procedures are in place to prevent any hardship to individuals.”
HM Revenues and Customs is still under fire for miscalculating the tax payments of millions of employees over the past year due to computing errors. Up to 1.4 million people received unexpected tax bills this month, averaging Ã‚Â£1,428 each, after officials miscalculated Ã‚Â£2 billion worth of payments.