IAS versus IRS (Indian Revenue Service)

The Indian Administrative Service (IAS) is the most popular choice for candidates taking the UPSC civil services exam. The IFS and the IPS follow closely. But there are a few who take up the Indian Revenue Service (IRS) too without much hesitation. This article looks at the two services IAS and the IRS, and the pros and cons of taking up either service.

To know what are the other posts in the Civil Services, click on the linked article

Considering the power and prestige associated with the profession, the IAS attracts maximum popularity. But such a life is not without its pitfalls. It is said that political interference and pressure does not allow an honest officer to work properly. (Take the case of U Sagayam, IAS who has been transferred 20 times in 20 years!) An IRS officer may be able to lead a quieter life in comparison. Read on to know the difference between IAS and IRS. Perks and responsibilities that come with each of the services.

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Why UPSC candidates choose IAS?

  • The social standing and prestige that an IAS officer gets trumps that of an IRS officer’s.
  • An IAS is the administrative head of almost all the departments in the Central and State Governments.
  • The facilities and perks an IAS officer gets are superior to that of an IRS officer’s.
  • The IAS provides faster promotions compared to the IRS. For instance, an IAS officer can become a Commissioner in about 16 years whereas an IRS officer can take about 20-22 years.
  • The job of an IAS officer is far wider and eclectic and he gets more opportunities to help people directly than an IRS officer.
  • IAS officers have more role in policy formations at both the Central and State levels.

Reasons to opt for the IRS:

  • People interested in taxation should opt for this service.
  • If you are convinced about your choice of interest and have the guts to go against popular opinion, you should join the IRS.
  • There is more work-life balance in the IRS than the IAS.
  • Political interference is almost zero here.
  • If you prefer residing in the metro cities, you may prefer the IRS since 80-90% of the postings are in metro or big cities.
  • If your spouse is also in the IRS, you can be posted together most of the time, unlike the IAS.
  • There is more stability of tenure in IRS.
  • Most of the work is confined to normal office hours in the IRS whereas in the IAS, this is a rarely found luxury.
  • There is generally less pressure in this service as compared to the IAS.

The following table shows a comparison of the IAS and the IRS pay scales and the respective ranks:

IAS Rank IRS Rank Pay Scale
Sub Divisional Magistrate/Assistant Collector Assistant Commissioner of Income Tax Rs. 15,600-39,100 + grade pay of Rs.5,400
Under/Deputy Secretary to Government of India/Additional Deputy Commissioner/Joint Collector/Additional District Magistrate Deputy Commissioner of Income Tax Rs. 15,600-39,100 + grade pay of 6600
Deputy Secretary to Government of India /Deputy Commissioner/Collector/District Magistrate Joint Commissioner of Income Tax Rs. 15,600-39,100 + grade pay of 7600
Director to Government of India/Deputy Commissioner/Collector/District Magistrate(States) (Selection Grade) Additional Commissioner of Income Tax Rs. 37,400-67,000 + grade pay of 8700
Divisional Commissioner in a Division in states Rs. 37,400-67,000 + grade pay of 8900
Joint Secretary to Government of India/Secretary to State Govt. Commissioner of Income Tax Rs. 37,400-67,000 + grade pay of 10,000
Additional Secretary to Government of India/Principal Secretary to State Govt. Principal Commissioner of Income Tax HAG scale of 67,000-79,000
Chief Commissioner of Income Tax HAG + scale of 75,500–80,000
Secretary to Government of India/Chief Secretary of State Principal Chief Commissioner of Income (highest) Rs. 80,000 (fixed)
Cabinet Secretary (highest) 2,50,000

Read about IAS Salary in detail in the linked article.

Become familiar with the general pattern of the IAS Exam by visiting the IAS 2022 Syllabus page. For more exam-related preparation materials, refer to the links given in the table below:

Related Links

NCERT Books Free Download  UPSC Exam Pattern NCERT Notes for UPSC 2022
Intangible Cultural Heritage Indian Personalities PIB Summary and Analysis


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