IRS Exam 2024 - Syllabus, Eligibility, Exam Date, Preparation Tips

by Vajiram & Ravi

Indian Revenue Service is a Group A Service in India for which eligible candidates are recruited every year through the UPSC CSE exam. Aspirants seeking to join this prestigious service undergo a rigorous selection process that comprises multiple stages (UPSC Prelims, Mains, and Interview), each designed to assess their aptitude and knowledge.

There are two branches for which the candidates are recruited through the IRS exam, which are Customs and Central Excise and Income Tax. IRS Exam 2024 Prelims will be conducted on 16 June 2024. Candidates who qualify Prelims will be appearing for the IRS Mains exam from 20th September 2024.

IRS Exam 2024 Overview

The IRS exam conducted by UPSC involves a rigorous selection process that includes three phases - Prelims, Mains, and the Interview. Upon successfully passing these three stages, candidates are assigned to various services based on their ranks and preferences. Those who are assigned to the IRS go through training programs to develop the necessary skills and knowledge for their roles, which primarily involve tax administration and enforcement.

IRS Full-FormIRS stands for Indian Revenue Service, and those selected are known as IRS Officers.
Educational Qualification

Candidates need a Bachelor's degree from a recognised university or an equivalent qualification.

Those candidates who are in their final year of graduation are also eligible for the IRS Exam.

Who is an IRS officer in India?IRS officers have the primary responsibility of collecting and administering direct and indirect taxes for the Government of India.
Who is conducting the IRS exam?The IRS Exam, like the IAS Exam, is conducted by the Union Public Service Commission, as it is a part of the Civil Services Examination.
Salary CriteriaThe starting salary of an IRS officer is Rs. 56,100 per month for the post of Assistant Commissioner of Income Tax. However, the highest salary can go up to Rs. 2,25,000 p.m for the rank of Principal Chief Commissioner of the IT department.

IRS Exam Date

It is crucial for all aspiring candidates to check out the IRS Exam date for the years 2024 and 2025 so that they can start their preparations on time.

IRS Exam Date 2025

As per the official calendar of the Union Public Service Commission, the IRS Prelims Exam date 2025 is 25th May 2025, and the Mains exam will take place from 22nd August 2025 onwards for the qualified candidates. Individuals aspiring to clear the IRS exam and become Indian Revenue Service officers must start their preparations now to score well in the exam.

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IRS Exam Date 2024

The IRS Exam Date for 2024 was announced in the notification. The Prelims exam will take place on June 16, 2024, and the IRS Mains exam is going to commence from 20th September 2024 onwards.

Important EventsDates
UPSC IRS Exam 2024 Notification release date14 February 2024
Registration Started on14 February 2024
Registration Ends on05 March 2024
UPSC Prelims 2024 Exam date16 June 2024
UPSC IRS Mains 2024 Exam Date20th September 2024 onwards
Result DateTo be announced
UPSC IRS Interview DatesTo be announced

How to Apply for the IRS Exam?

Applying for the IRS Exam involves a straightforward online process through the UPSC website. Candidates need to fill out the application form, upload the necessary documents, and pay the application fee before the specified deadline. Here's how you can apply:

  • Visit the official website of UPSC.
  • Next, click on the "Examination" tab and choose "Active Examinations."
  • Then, Click on Civil Services (Preliminary) Examination, 2024.
  • Then, Click on the ‘apply’ option.
  • Fill in all the necessary details and upload your most recent photograph and signature in the specified size and file format.
  • After completing the form, review it, save a copy for your records, and then proceed to submit it.
  • Pay the application fee as mentioned in the notification. The fee amount varies based on categories and is subject to change. Payment can be made online through various modes.

Application Fee for IRS Exam 2024

When applying for the UPSC IRS exam, candidates falling under this category are required to submit an application fee as outlined below.

CategoryUPSC (Preliminary) ExamMains Exam Fee
General/OBC/EWS(Male)INR 100INR 200
SC/ST/All Female CandidatesNo Fee/ExemptedNo Fee/Exempted

Candidates have the option to pay the application fee through both offline and online methods. 

For Online Mode:

  • Applicants can use SBI Net Banking or a debit/credit/Rupay card to pay for online options.
  • Candidates will get a pay slip during the registration process.

For Offline Mode:

  • Applicants are required to pay the fee at any SBI branch if they opt for the offline payment method.
  • Candidates making a cash payment should print the provided Pay-in-slip.
  • On the Next working day, the applicant must deposit cash at a counter of an SBI branch.
  • If a candidate fails to make the cash payment by the deadline, even with a valid pay-in slip, they must complete the payment online.

Indian Revenue Service Eligibility Criteria

The eligibility of aspirants to participate in the UPSC IRS exam depends on several factors, and individuals need to pass all these criteria to be eligible for this exam. The eligibility criteria consist of four components:

IRS Exam Qualification

  • The minimum requirement is a bachelor's degree in any field, so you can pursue any course. It is preferable to major in commerce, with Business Economics and Accountancy as electives.
  • Degree from Central, State, or Deemed University. A degree through correspondence or distance education. Degree from an open university.
  • Also, any qualification acknowledged by the Indian Government is equivalent to all the above-given qualifications.

IRS Exam Age Limit

The age limit for candidates eligible to take the UPSC IRS Exam is between 21 and 32 years. This means that the minimum age requirement for all aspirants is 21 years, while the maximum age allowed for candidates is 32 years for the general category. The upper age limit for candidates of OBC is 35 years, and for candidates of SC/ ST is 37 years.

Nationality Criteria for the IRS Exam

Aspiring candidates for the Indian Revenue Service (IRS) must belong to one of the following categories:

  • An Indian Citizen (A person of Indian origin is one in whose case either of his parents or any of his grandparents, was born in undivided India).
  • A person of Indian descent who intends to permanently settle in India after migrating from Myanmar, Pakistan, Kenya, Sri Lanka, Uganda, Zaire, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Zambia, Malawi, or Vietnam is eligible.

Number of Attempts

  • A Candidate for the general category or EWS has six attempts to pass the UPSC IRS exam.
  • Candidates from the OBC have nine attempts.
  • Candidates from the SC/ST have no maximum number of attempts (they can take the exam until they reach the upper age limit).

IRS Exam Syllabus

The UPSC syllabus plays a crucial role in the successful preparation of the IRS exam. Having a proper understanding of the syllabus helps candidates align their preparation in the right direction. Candidates planning to appear for the IRS Exam 2023 should be familiar with the accurate syllabus for both the Prelims and Mains exams in advance.

Syllabus for IRS Prelims Exam

Paper I: General Studies

  • Current national and international events of significance.
  • History of India and the Indian National Movement.
  • Geography of India and the World: Physical, Social, and Economic Aspects.
  • Indian Polity and Governance: Constitution, Political System, Panchayati Raj, Public Policy, Rights Issues, and more.
  • Economic and Social Development: Sustainable Development, Poverty, Inclusion, Demographics, Social Sector Initiatives, and more.
  • General topics on Environmental Ecology, Biodiversity, and Climate Change that don't necessitate specialised knowledge.
  • General Science.

Paper-II: Aptitude Test

  • Comprehension
  • Interpersonal skills, including communication abilities.
  • Logical reasoning and analytical skills.
  • Decision-making and problem-solving capabilities.
  • Overall mental aptitude.
  • Basic numerical skills (numbers and their relationships, magnitudes, etc.) at the Class X level.
  • Interpreting data from charts, graphs, and tables, and assessing data sufficiency at the Class X level.

UPSC IRS Mains Syllabus

The UPSC Mains examination syllabus is based on the subject chosen by the Aspirants. This consists of a total of 9 papers. The first two papers, Compulsory Indian Language and English, are of a qualifying nature. Apart from these, other papers include 1 Essay paper, 4 General Studies Papers, and 2 papers on Optional Subjects.

Essay Writing Exam:

The types of essays that appear in the IRS exam include Informative essays, Descriptive essays, Narrative essays, and Persuasive essays.

General Studies - Papers 1 to 4:

Syllabus for General Studies - 1 in IRS Officer Recruitment:

  • Indian Culture
  • Modern Indian History
  • Geographical Elements of the World
  • World History
  • Indian Society

Syllabus for General Studies - 2 in IRS Officer Recruitment:

  • Indian Polity
  • Indian Constitution
  • Government Policies and Interventions
  • International Relations
  • Government Ministries and Departments

Syllabus for General Studies - 3 in IRS Exam:

  • Indian Economy
  • Internal Security
  • Science and Technology
  • Disaster Management
  • Environment and Biodiversity

Syllabus for General Studies - 4:

  • Ethics and Human Interface
  • General administrative and non-technical aspects
  • Human Attitude
  • Probity in Governance
  • Aptitude
  • Emotional Intelligence

Optional Subject Papers:

You can choose an optional subject from the list of exams mentioned below.

  1. Agriculture
  2. Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Science
  3. Anthropology
  4. Botany
  5. Chemistry
  6. Civil Engineering
  7. Commerce and Accountancy
  8. Economics
  9. Electrical Engineering
  10. Geography
  11. Geology
  12. History
  13. Law
  14. Management
  15. Mathematics
  16. Mechanical Engineering
  17. Medical Science
  18. Philosophy
  19. Physics
  20. Political Science and International Relations
  21. Psychology
  22. Public Administration
  23. Sociology
  24. Statistics
  25. Zoology
  26. Literature of any one of the following languages: Assamese, Bengali, Bodo, Dogri, Gujarati, Hindi, Kannada, Kashmiri, Konkani, Maithili, Malayalam, Manipuri, Marathi, Nepali, Oriya, Punjabi, Sanskrit, Santhali, Sindhi, Tamil, Telugu, Urdu, English.

IRS Exam Pattern

The IRS exam pattern involves multiple phases as part of the UPSC Civil Services Examination. The IRS is one of the prestigious services that fall under the Civil Services. Here is a general overview of the IRS exam pattern:

Preliminary Examination:

  • It consists of two papers: General Studies Paper I and General Studies Paper II (CSAT - Civil Services Aptitude Test).
  • Both papers are objective type (multiple-choice questions).
  • General Studies Paper II (CSAT) is qualifying in nature, and candidates need to score minimum qualifying marks, which is 33%.
  • The Preliminary Examination is used to shortlist candidates for the Mains Examination.

Mains Examination:

  • The Mains Examination comprises nine papers, which include language papers and various subjects of the candidate's choice.
  • The language papers are of qualifying nature and include an Indian language and English.
  • The other papers include Essay, General Studies I, II, III, and IV, and one optional subject (consisting of two papers).
  • The Mains Examination is intended to evaluate a candidate's in-depth knowledge and understanding of various subjects.

Interview (Personality Test):

  • Candidates who qualify the Mains Examination are called for an interview/personality test.
  • The interview assesses a candidate's suitability for a career in civil services, including the IRS.
  • The interview panel evaluates the candidate's personality, communication skills, critical thinking, and general awareness.

Final Selection:

  • The final selection is based on the candidate's performance in the Mains Examination and the Interview.
  • Marks obtained in the Preliminary Examination are not considered for the final ranking.

How to Prepare for IRS Exam?

There are lakhs of candidates who appear for the UPSC exam every year, however, only a few are able to get recruited to the civil services. Learn how to prepare for the IRS exam effectively by reading the following points:

  • Get familiar with the Exam Pattern and Syllabus: Familiarize yourself with the UPSC exam pattern for Prelims and Mains exams, as well as the interview. Understand the syllabus for each stage to know what topics you need to cover.
  • Create a Study Plan: Develop a comprehensive study plan that allocates time for each subject and topic. Balance your time between Prelims and Mains, and allocate sufficient time for revision and practice.
  • Choose the Right Study Materials: Select recommended textbooks, study guides, and UPSC study material that cover the syllabus comprehensively. Focus on quality over quantity.
  • Prepare Current Affairs: Keep yourself updated with current affairs, government policies, the latest economic developments, and social issues. Read newspapers, magazines, and online resources regularly. Look at the quality material available at Vajiram and Ravi to stay updated on the latest current affairs on India and the World:
  • Practice Previous Year Papers: Solve UPSC previous year question papers to understand the exam pattern, the types of questions asked, and the level of difficulty. This will help you gauge your preparation and time management skills.
  • Test Series: Enroll in a UPSC test series to simulate the actual exam environment. Mock tests will help you identify strengths and weaknesses and improve your time management skills.
  • Develop Writing Skills: The Mains examination involves subjective questions, so practice writing answers with clarity, coherence, and a structured approach. Use bullet points, diagrams, and examples where necessary.

FAQs on IRS Exam

How to crack IRS Exam 2024?

To increase the chances of cracking the IRS exam, candidates must keep track of important dates and events related to the UPSC CSE exam, and prepare for the Prelims and Mains exams using good quality study material, online and offline notes, current affairs magazines, etc.

What is the IRS Exam date 2024?

The IRS Exam 2024 Prelims will be conducted by UPSC on 16 June 2024, in two shifts: Shift 1 – General Studies Paper-1: 9:30 A.M. to 11:30 A.M, and Shift 2 (CSAT paper) from 2:30 PM to 4:30 PM. Those who clear Prelims will be appearing for the Mains from 20th September 2024 onwards.

Who is eligible to apply for the Indian Revenue Service Exam?

Indian citizens with a bachelor's degree from a recognized university are eligible for the Indian Revenue Service Exam conducted by UPSC. The upper age limit varies with categories: general (32), OBC (35), and SC/ST (37).

When will the application process for the IRS Exam 2024 start?

IRS Exam notification was released on 14 February, 2024, and the applications were open till 05 March 2024. Aspirants can apply through online mode only via the official website of UPSC.