Indian Revenue Service
Raisina Hill, New Delhi
|Training Grounds||1. National Academy of Direct Taxes (Nagpur)
2. National Academy of Customs, Excise and Narcotics (Faridabad)
|Controlling Authority||Ministry of Finance, Government of India|
Federal law enforcement
|Cadre Size||3904 (Income Tax)
2644 (Customs and Central Excise)
|Head of the Civil Services|
Current: A. K. Seth
The Indian Revenue Service (Hindi: भारतीय राजस्व सेवा, Bhāratīya Rājaswa Sevā), abbreviated as IRS, is the revenue service of the Government of India. It is one of the Central Civil Services (Group A). The Service functions under the Department of Revenue in the Union Ministry of Finance and is concerned with the collection and administration of the various direct and indirect taxes accruing to the Union Government.
IRS comprises two branches - IRS (Income Tax) and IRS (Customs and Central Excise), which are controlled by two separate statutory bodies, viz., Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) and Central Board of Excise and Customs (CBEC) respectively.
There are two streams of recruitment to the Indian Revenue Service - Direct Recruits and Promoted Officers. Direct Recruits are selected from the Civil Services Examination conducted by Union Public Service Commission and based on preferences opted by them. Promoted Officers like Income Tax Service, Group ‘B’ are promoted gradually over several years of service. The current ratio of two streams is kept at 1:1. Initial posting would be Assistant Commissioners up to senior rank of Principal Chief Commissioners, Member/Chairman of the Central Board of Direct Taxes or Central Board of Excise and Customs.
The designations and time-scales within the Indian Revenue Service are as follows after cadre restructure:
|Position / Pay Grade in the Government of India||Level and Rank||Order of Precedence
(As per Presidential order)
|Equivalent Position or Designation in the State Government(s)|
|1||Junior Time Scale||Assistant Commissioner of Income Tax / Entry-level (Probationer)||Additional District Magistrate/Assistant Superintendent of Police|
|2||Senior Time Scale||Deputy Commissioner of Income Tax (Equivalent to) Under Secretary to Government of India||District Magistrate/ Superintendent of Police|
|3||Junior Administrative Grade||Joint Commissioner of Income Tax (Equivalent to) Deputy Secretary to Government of India||Special Secretary/Senior Superintendent of Police|
|4||Selection Grade||Additional Commissioner of Income Tax (Equivalent to) Director to Government of India||Secretary/Deputy Inspector General of Police|
|5||Senior Administrative Grade||Commissioner of Income Tax/Additional Director General (Equivalent to) Joint Secretary to Government of India||26||Secretary/Inspector General of Police|
|6||Higher Administrative Grade||Principal Commissioner of Income Tax (Equivalent to) Additional Secretary to Government of India||25||Principal Secretary/Additional Director General of Police|
|7||Higher Administrative Grade +||Chief Commissioner/Director General (Equivalent to) Additional Secretary to Government of India||25||Addl.Chief Secretary/ Director General of Police|
|8||Apex Scale||Principal Chief Commissioner of Income Tax (Equivalent to) Special Secretary to Government of India||23||Chief Secretary/ Director General of Police|
|9||Apex Scale||CBDT Chairman/Member CBDT/DG Central Economic Intelligence Bureau (Equivalent to) Secretary to Government of India||23||Secretary to the Government of India|
Indian Revenue Services officers are mainly attached to the Income Tax and Customs Departments but are also deputed to many other agencies and departments in the central and state governments. They are known as the Guardians of the Economic Frontiers and are deputed to law enforcement and intelligence organisations like the Central Bureau of Investigation, Research and Analysis Wing, Intelligence Bureau etc. IRS officers are also serving at various consulates and embassies as diplomats and also in international organisations like World Bank, OECD and IMF. In the Income Tax and Customs Departments, IRS officers are charged with responsibility to identify the tax evasion modus operandi and are given statutory powers of search and seizure and arrest to combat the prevalent evasion. They also play a role in advising on tax policy matters by playing a significant role in framing or amending of statutes and frames regulations in relation to taxes. They also participate and negotiate treaties on behalf of the Government of India in the fiscal matters in both bilateral or multilateral forums such as OECD and Global Form on Transparency in Tax Matters.
Indian Revenue Service officers work in the unearthing of many scams in the country. Their tax assessment orders are taken as starting points for all fraud and economic offences investigations. Investigation conducted by the Revenue Service officers is used by other enforcement agencies in cases of corruption too. Efforts of Indian Revenue Service officers have resulted in earning huge sums of public money for the exchequer and also in catching many criminals. Starting with the Fodder Scam in 1995 case to the more recent Madhu Koda case in Jharkhand was result of co-ordinated efforts of Indian Revenue Service Officers and led to unearthed allegedly illegal investments and Hawala transactions of 2000 crore. The Mining scam in Karnataka was unearthed by GM Belagali and Sibichen K Mathew, both IRS officers. Recently, Indian Revenue Service officers at Income Tax Department were roped into look at various irregularities in allotment of 2G Spectrum Scandal and also in Disproportionate Assets cases in Andhra Pradesh, recent scam in Reebok India Ltd. Issues such as smuggling of precious natural resources, gold, arms, narcotics and drugs also come under the scanner of the Indian Revenue Service Officers and their intervention has played an important role in protecting social and economic fabric of the nation.
Efforts of the Members of the Service also led to the recovery of black money worth 10,000 crore in last year alone in India . IRS officers man all important border postings and protect the country from smuggling and safeguard its economic borders. They undertake patrolling missions in high seas and also takes preventive operations against piracy and smuggling. Around 565 crore worth black money is brought into taxation from France alone.
Newly created Directorate of Criminal Investigation under the Central Board of Direct Taxes collects and coordinates the intelligence gathering actions of the department and prosecutes tax offenders. IRS officers are also increasingly serving in the place of IAS and IPS officers in the various State, Central ministries and departments.
As of 2013, the IRS has a significant shortfall in employees. Since liberalization era in 1990s emphasis on governmental cost cutting has been the norm department has been facing shortages in officer and staff cadre. Approximately more than half of the junior officers and staff positions are lying vacant as on date. It was hoped that computerization would reduce the dependence on staff during 2001 restructuring of the department following desk officer system. Subsequently,unscientific promotion policies owing to pressure tactics  of the unions have resulted in creation of situation where staff with out any proper experience or qualification are promoted to supervisory ranks seriously jeopardizing the efficiency and service delivery and leaving huge vacancies at the investigation and assessment charges. There have been many instances where drivers have been promoted to the rank of Inspector of Income Tax which is a bedrock of the investigation mechanism for detecting tax evasion with out proper screening. While this indicates a democratic scenario where every competent worker can aspire to rise up in the hierarchy but no safeguards have been put in place to ensure merit of the promoted candidates. According to the Economic Times, Severe shortages may be negatively impacting the government's ability to scrutinise returns and catch instances of black money.
Murder of many officers
Even though IRS officers have to deal with sensitive posting in their career they are not provided adequate security. Many IRS officers in the Customs and Income Tax Departments have been assassinated in the course of their investigations.
Transparency International[unreliable source?], a global watchdog[dubious ] body, ranked India at a low 73 out of the 102 countries in its Corruption Perception Index, later in the 2008 survey, it ranked 85th in a 128 country list. The World Economic Forum on the other hand, ranked India 44 among 49 countries surveyed. A 2009 survey of the leading economies of Asia, revealed Indian bureaucracy to be not just least efficient out of Singapore, Hong Kong, Thailand, South Korea, Japan, Malaysia, Taiwan, Vietnam, China, Philippines and Indonesia; further it was also found that working with the India's civil servants was a "slow and painful" process. This ranking, done by 1,274 expatriates working in 12 North and South Asian nations, ranked Asian bureaucracies in the following order: Singapore, Hong Kong, Thailand, South Korea, Japan, Malaysia, Taiwan, Vietnam, China, Philippines, Indonesia and India. Read more in : The Times of India Survey - Indian bureaucracy ranked worst in Asia
The IRS officials top the Central Bureau of Investigation’s list of most corrupt bureaucrats. In the one year period from May 2009 to May 2010, the CBI had sought sanction for prosecution of 102 IRS officials posted in different parts of the country in connection with corruption cases. In one case, a 1992 batch IRS officer was arrested for accepting a bribe of 2 crore in Mumbai. Recently, in another case, some IRS officials were found to help certain companies evade payment of Service tax and related penalties of the order of 1 crore. Also CBI raided premises of an Income Tax Officer for demanding Bribe to the tune of 60 crore for covering up Stock Guru Scam.
Many new initiatives were taken by the Indian Revenue Service members to curb corruption in their respective departments and make the system more efficient and responsive to the needs of the tax payers. Use of Technology widely reduced scope for the abuse of power. Refund Banker scheme introduced in 2007 eliminated the scope for corruption in the Refunds of Excessive Tax collected by the Department. Introduction of E-filing of Taxes and effective implementation of Permanent Account Number (PAN) are some revolutionary steps that reduced the scope for corruption at all levels while improving the efficiency of the whole system. Use of Centralised Processing Center setup in 2010 at Bangalore of the Income Tax Department reduced unnecessary delays in processing returns. These computerization initiatives have freed up the human resources in the department which are largely responsible for higher revenue collections.
Income Tax Ombudsmen has been created in 2006 and is functional at 12 cities to look into tax related grievances of the public. Department is also gearing to improve its tax payer's services with Sevottam Scheme. Under this scheme various initiatives such as Citizen Charter, Ayakar Seva Kendra (ASK) which is a single Window mechanism for implementing Sevottam through delivery of these services within the time lines promised in the Citizen’s Charter were launched. Ayakar Sampark Kendra consists of one National Call Centre and 4 regional Call Centres to aid the tax payer were inaugurated by the Hon'ble Finance Minister.
Income Tax Overseas Units have been set up designating IRS officers as diplomats in the rank of First Secretary in various missions and consulates of India abroad to look into tax evasion and compliance matters which enables them to work in the place of Indian Foreign Service officers abroad. Cadre Review has been cleared in the Income Tax creating 20,751 additional posts to help generate additional revenue of 25,000 crore annually.
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- Breaking Free of Nehru (particularly chapter 5), by Sanjeev Sabhlok, Published by Anthem Press, 2008.
- They May Catch You!: All About Income Tax Investigations, Searches and Surveys, by Vinita Chopra. Published by Vision Books 2010
- Making People Pay: The Economic Sociology of Taxation by Dr.Sibichen Mathew. Published by Global Vision Publishing 2010
- Civil Services of India
- All India Service
- Making People Pay:The Economic Sociology of Taxation
- Corruption in India
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- Stock Guru scam: IT officer raided for ‘Rs 60-cr bribe’. Indian Express (2013-01-15). Retrieved on 2013-07-19.
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- [dead link]
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- Customs wants to sell confiscated weapons to its own officers. Indian Express (2012-09-11). Retrieved on 2013-07-19.