Let us first understand what IRS is as a service. IRS or Indian Revenue Service functions under the Department of Revenue in the Union Ministry of Finance. It is concerned with the collection and management of the various direct and indirect taxes, accruing the same to the Union Government. It is a central Civil Service and falls under the Group A service category.

IRS comprises two branches: IRS (Income Tax) IRS (Customs and Central Excise). These are mainly attached to the Income Tax and Customs Departments but are also deputed to many other agencies and departments. The IRS advises on tax policy matters by playing a significant role in framing or amending of related statutes and regulations. Additionally, the newly created Directorate of Criminal Investigation under the Central Board of Direct Taxes collects and coordinates the intelligence gathered and prosecutes tax offenders. The positions of collector, commissioner, head of public sector units, chief secretary, the cabinet secretary, etc., fall under the purview of the IRS.

Roles and Responsibilities

Indian Revenue Service (IRS) officers are appointed to law enforcement and intelligence organisations like the Central Bureau of Investigation, Research and Analysis Wing, Intelligence Bureau etc.

Responsibilities in the Income Tax and Customs Departments – IRS officers are charged with responsibilities of identifying the tax evasions. They hold statutory powers to search for and seize illegally accumulated wealth and arrest the culprits to prevent further evasions. They also undertake patrolling missions in high seas and preventive operations against piracy and smuggling.

IRS Examination:

UPSC Examination is a civil services exam conducted by UPSC for recruitment to various Civil Services of India, including the Indian Revenue Service.


Nationality: For the Indian Revenue Service, a candidate must be one of the following: A citizen of India A person of Indian origin who has migrated from Pakistan, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Zambia, Malawi, Zaire, Ethiopia or Vietnam with the intention of permanently settling in India

Educational Qualification: Candidate should have any of the following credentials:

  • A degree from a Central, State or Deemed University
  • A degree received through Correspondence Education or Distance
  • A degree from an Open University
  • A qualification recognised by the Government of India as being equivalent to either of the above.

The following candidates are also eligible, but have to submit proof of their eligibility from a competent authority at their institute/university at the time of the main examination, failing which they will not be allowed to attend the exam:

  • Candidates who have passed the final exam of the MBBS degree but have not yet completed their internship
  • Candidates who have passed the Final exam of Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI), ICSI and ICWAI
  • A degree from a private university
  • A degree from any foreign university recognised by Association of Indian Universities (AIU)

Age Limit: Age limits vary according to the caste reservations. The minimum age limit for a candidate is 21 years. The upper age limit for General category is 32 years. The upper age limits are as follows

For OBC: Upto 35 years

For SC/ST: Upto 37 years. Upper age limit relaxation is provided to certain candidates who are backward with respect to other factors and physically handicapped people Number of attempts:

For General Category/ OBC Candidates: 6 attempts

For OBC Candidates: 9 attempts For SC/ST Candidates: No restrictions

Application form for IRS

Candidates need to fill up the application form for the IRS Exam online at www.upsconline.nic.in and follow the detailed instructions on the website.

Pattern and Syllabus of IRS exam 2019

The IRS exam consists of 3 parts:

  • Preliminary exam
  • Main exam
  • Interview

Each successive round has to be cleared to be appointed as an IRS officer.

Preliminary exam consists of multiple choice questions to evaluate General Studies and Aptitude of the candidates. This usually takes place in the month of August or September.

Civil Services Mains examination is a subjective examination. This exam tests a candidate on multiple subjects across nine papers followed by an interview. The mains exam takes place in the month of December, and the results are declared in the month of March. The interview is generally conducted in the month of May.

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Payal Ghosh

Payal is an FRM and an XLRI Jamshedpur alumnus interested in things as diverse as Waste Management and photography. She has over 16 years of work experience and is passionate about writing, teaching and sustainable living. Helping students and seeing them succeed makes gives her motivation to push herself further.

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