upsc IRS

IRS: Latest Exam Syllabus, Pattern, Books & Preparation Tips

upsc IRS
IRS: Latest Exam Syllabus, Pattern, Books & Preparation Tips
September 6, 2021
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The Indian Revenue Service (IRS) is responsible for the collection and administration of direct taxes in India. This Service is notable for its strict procedures, fastidiousness and conservatism, which are coupled with a great deal of flexibility to achieve its objectives. The initial recruitment procedure involves selection from candidates who have passed Aptitude Tests and Interviews held by the department concerned.

Candidates who are interested in giving the IRS exam must know the syllabus and exam pattern of the UPSC exam. The syllabus includes subjects like History, Geography, General Science, Writing, and Quantitative Aptitude among others. Moreover, candidates can choose the language of the exam as per their preference.

Now, read below to find more details about the IRS exam syllabus. 

  • The preliminary and main examinations are writing-oriented. The main exam consists of 9 papers. Candidates who pass the Preliminary and Mains Exam are eligible to participate in the interview.
  • IRS Mains Exam intends to measure a candidate’s academic proficiency in their respective fields. The syllabus also assesses students’ ability to express their knowledge clearly and consistently.

Table of Contents

IRS Exam 2022 Prelims Syllabus

For the selection of IRS offers, candidates must appear for the same comprehensive examination UPSC Civil Service Examination. Thus, aspirants need to clear all three phases accordingly to get selected. Candidates need to acquire a particular rank and depending on their preference they are allotted to a specific post.

The introductory or Preliminary Paper comprises 400 marks. 2 papers with 200 marks each, and both the papers are Multiple Choice Questions (Objective type). The Preliminary exams of each Paper have a time duration of 2 hours each.

PAPER Syllabus
PAPER I 1. National movement & Indian History
2. Indian Polity and Governance – Political System, Constitution, Public Policy, Rights Issues, Panchayati Raj, etc.;
3. Indian and World Geography- Indian Economic Geography, the World as well as Social;
4. General issues on Climate Change; Economic and Social Development – Social Sector Initiatives, Sustainable Development, Poverty, Inclusion, Demographics, etc.;
5. Bio-diversity;
6. General Science;
7. Environmental ecology;
8. As well as, Current affairs of international & national interest;
PAPER-II 1. Comprehension;
2. Logical reasoning as well as analytical ability;
3. Interpersonal skills including communication skills;
4. General mental ability;
5. Solving problems and Decision planning
6. Basic Numerals (orders of magnitude, numbers and their relations, etc.) (Class X level), as well as, Data interpretation (charts, graphs, tables, data sufficiency, etc. – Class X level). 

IRS Exam 2022 Main Syllabus

The second phase is the Main Exam for IRS 2022 of 2025 marks. Candidates qualifying for the Preliminary exam are only eligible for the Main exam of UPSC. The selection takes place based on the marks scored in both the Prelims & the Mains. As a final process, the total mark obtained on Mains and during the interview tally the result.

1. PAPER A – General Studies

2. PAPER B – English

3. PAPER I – Essay

Aspirants have to create essays on a variety of subjects. Candidates must stay focused on the essay’s topic, logically organize their thoughts, and write concisely. Therefore, stay focused on the essay’s topic, logically organize your thoughts, and write concisely.

To explain the General Studies IRS Exam Syllabus, read the below sections:

Know More – IRS Admit Card and Interview call letter

PAPER-II – General Studies I

Indian Culture: It will cover Architecture from Ancient to Modern Times, and the most important aspects of Indian Art, Literature, and architecture.

Modern Indian History from the middle of the eighteenth century to the present day which includes key events, persons, and topics. The phases of the Freedom Struggle, as well as significant contributors/contributions from various parts of the country.

World history will encompass events from the 18th century such as the industrial revolution, world wars, redrawing of country borders, colonization, decolonization, and political systems such as communism, capitalism, and socialism—their forms and effects on society.

Indian Society: Characteristics of Indian Society; India’s Diversity; Women’s roles and organizations; population and related challenges; poverty and developmental issues; Globalization’s impact on Indian society; urbanization, its problems, and solutions. Social empowerment, communalism, regionalism, and secularism are all concepts that have been discussed recently.

Geographical elements of the world. Factors inducing the site of primary, secondary, and tertiary sector industries in various parts of the world (including India); distribution of significant natural resources around the world (including South Asia and the Indian subcontinent) (including India). Important Geophysical phenomena such as – earthquakes; tsunamis; volcanic activity; cyclones; and other natural disasters, as well as changes in essential geographical features (such as water bodies and ice caps) and flora and fauna, as well as the consequences of these changes.

PAPER III – General Studies II

Historical foundations, amendments, features, evolution, major provisions, and the basic structure of the Indian Constitution. Functions and obligations of the Union and States, as well as concerns and challenges related to the federal framework, devolution of powers and money to local levels, and challenges within.

Separate power among distinct departments, conflict redress processes, and institutions in Indian politics. The Indian constitutional system is compared to those of other countries. Structure, operation, rights and privileges, and issues emerging from the legislatures of the United Kingdom and the United States.

Government Ministries and Departments; pressure organizations and formal/informal associations and their role in the polity; and the Executive and Judiciary’s structure, organization, and functioning.

Government policies and interventions. The role of NGOs, SHGs, diverse groups and associations, funders, charities, institutional and other stakeholders in development processes and the development industry.

Issues relating to the growth and management of the social sector, including health, education, and human resource services. Poverty and its consequences.

Indian Governance: Key components of governance, transparency, and accountability, as well as e-governance applications, models, successes, limitations, and potential; citizens charters, transparency, and accountability, as well as institutional and other measures in a democracy, what role does the civil service play?

International relations: India’s connections with its ties with other countries at the bilateral, regional, and global levels, groups, and agreements involving India and/or impacting India’s interests. The impact of developed and developing country policies and politics on India’s interests and the Indian diaspora. The structure and mission of major international organizations, agencies, and fora.

PAPER IV – General Studies III

Indian Economy: Issues, details of Indian Economy Growth, development of resources, as well as employment; Budgets of Government. Vital crops-cropping models in several parts of the country, transport, and marketing of agricultural produce and issues and related constraints; different types of irrigation and irrigation systems storage, e-technology in the aid of farmers.

Security: The links between the spread of extremism and development. The vital role of communications and social networking sites in internal security challenges along with the basics of cybersecurity, Challenges to internal security through communication networks, money-laundering, and its prevention. Security challenges in the border areas and their control – linkages of organized crime with terrorism. Various Defense forces and agencies and their mandate.

Science and Technology:  Effects & developments in Science & Technology. Achievements in science & technology; indigenization of technology and development of new technology. Awareness in the fields of IT, Space, Computers, robotics, nano-technology, bio-technology, and issues relating to intellectual property rights.

Disaster Management: Environment & Bio-diversity: Environmental pollution, environmental impact assessment, conservation, and degradation.

PAPER V – General Studies IV

Ethics and Human Interface: Nature, determinants, and dimensions of ethics; consequences of Ethics in-human actions; ethics – in private and public relationships. Human Values – teachings of great leaders, lessons from the lives and administrators; the purpose of family society and educational institutions in implanting values.

Civil – Public service Ethics and Values in Public Administration: Ethical concerns and dilemmas in government and private institutions. Status and problems; rules, laws, and conscience as sources of ethical guidance; strengthening of ethical and moral values in governance; ethical issues in international relations and funding; accountability and ethical governance; corporate governance.

Attitude: influence structure, content, function; and relation with knowledge and behaviour; social influence; moral and political attitudes; and persuasion.

Probity in Governance: Philosophical basis of governance and probity; Concept of public service; Information sharing and transparency in government, challenges of corruption Codes of Ethics, Right to Information, Citizen’s Charters, Work culture, Codes of Conduct, Utilization of public funds, Quality of service delivery. Case Studies on the above issues.

Aptitude: Aptitude and foundational conditions for Civil Service, impartiality, integrity, and non-partisanship, dedication to public service, objectivity, tolerance, empathy, and compassion towards the weaker sections.

Emotional Intelligence: Complete concept & their utilities and application in administration and governance. Participation of ethical thinkers and philosophers from India and the world.

Optional Subjects

Most importantly, Applicants may select any optional subject from the list of available options. Aspirants can opt for one Indian language from the list as an optional subject.

Agriculture Animal; Electrical Engineering; Botany; Public Administration; Husbandry and Veterinary Science Civil Engineering; Philosophy; Anthropology; Law; History; Geography Commerce and Accountancy; Chemistry; Economics; Mathematics; Mechanical Engineering; Management; Geology; Physics; Medical Science; Literature of any one of the following languages; Sociology; Political Science and International Relations; Statistics; Psychology; Zoology

IRS Exam Pattern for 2022

The Exam pattern of Civil Service has three different phases – Prelims, Mains, and Interview. UPSC conducts both examinations to evaluate the overall traits and intellectual level of the candidates. The exam varies in its pattern to test a candidate’s academic expertise and the ability to present themselves consistently and steadily.

IRS Examination Phases Marks
Preliminary Exam 400 Marks – 2 Paper – Objective Types
Mains Exam 2025 Marks – 8 Paper – Written Examination

After qualifying for both the examination – Prelims & Mains, candidates are then called for the Interview.

Know More – IRS Result & Cut-off Marks

UPSC IRS Exam 2022 Prelims Exam pattern

The starting stage or the introductory phase of the UPSC IRS examination is the Preliminary Exam. Candidates need to prepare for two papers: General Studies & Aptitude Test for Civil Service. The question papers are in the Hindi and English languages. However, English language skills questions would only be in English.

Subject General Studies Aptitude Test
Time NA NA
Marks 200 Marks 200 Marks

As a result, aspirants need to qualify for the minimum cut-off marks to be eligible for the Mains examination 2022.

* A further 20 minutes for each paper are permitted for visually impaired candidates

Optional Subject for Prelims Exam:

Language Script
Assamese Assamese
Bengali Bengali
Gujarati Gujarati
Hindi Devanagari
Kannada Kannada
Kashmiri Persian
Konkani Devanagari
Malayalam Malayalam
Manipuri Bengali
Marathi Devanagari
Nepali Devanagari
Odia Odia
Punjabi Gurumukhi
Sanskrit Devanagari
Sindhi Devanagari or Arabic
Tamil Tamil
Telugu Telugu
Urdu Persian
Bodo Devanagari
Dogri Devanagari
Maithili Devanagari
Santhali Devanagari or Olchiki

UPSC IRS 2022 Mains Pattern

Candidates acquiring the minimum qualifying marks can only be eligible to appear for the mains examination of IRS (Indian Revenue Service) Mains Exam 2022. The marks secured for both the Preliminary & Mains are the key element for the selection of the Interview process. The grand total marks of both Mains & Interview will be the result.

Mains Exam PAPER Subject Max. Marks
PAPER A One of the Indian languages selected in the Eighth Schedule of the Constitution by the candidate from the languages included 300
PAPER B English 300
PAPER I Essay 250
PAPER-II General Studies I 250
[Indian Culture, history, and Geography of the society and Word]
PAPER III General Studies II 250
[Constitution, Governance, Polity, Social Justice, as well as International Relations]
PAPER IV General Studies III 250
[Economic Development, Technology, Environment, Bio-diversity, Disaster Management, and Security]
PAPER V General Studies IV 250
[Integrity, Ethics, and Aptitude]
PAPER VI Optional Subject Paper I 250
PAPER VII Option Subject Paper II 250
Total Marks 1750
Personality Test 275
Overall Total Marks 2025

Candidates can choose any of the following language literature:

Assamese; Bodo; Bengali; Kannada; Kashmiri; Dogri; Gujarati; Hindi; Konkani; Manipuri; Maithili; Malayalam; Nepali; Odia; Marathi; Punjabi; Sanskrit; Sindhi; Santali; Tamil; Urdu; English; Telugu

Recommended Books – IRS Exam

The UPSC IRS exam syllabus is extensive, therefore knowing the finest reference books for the exam is always a great decision. The following is a list of books that will assist the aspirants to compose for all Civil Service exams.

Below mentioned are the book recommendation for IRS Examination

  • DUVALL’S Master Study Guide Series, United States Tax Code, IRS Publication 15 (P 15), Employer’s Tax Guide Tax Year 2013
  • CSAT-UPSC: Theory as well as Problems with Explanations Civil Services Aptitude Test
  • IRS Enrolled Agent Exam Study Guide 2013-2014
  • IRS Tax Preparer Course & Rprt Exam Study Guide 2013

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Q.1 Can you recommend some useful sources for current-events research from the IRS exam syllabus? 

Ans. You can consider the following resources for the current event’s preparation for the IRS exam. 

  • India Yearbook – Publication Division (GOI) 
  • Yojana Magazine 
  • Kurukshetra Magazine 
  • Manorama Yearbook 
  • Mathrubhumi Yearbook 
  • Current Affairs for IAS (PRE) – S A Majid 
  • Concise General Knowledge Manual – Barry O’Brien 
  • Economic Survey 
  • Pratiyogita Darpan Magazine 
  • Concise General Knowledge Manual – J.K. Chopra 
  • Current Affairs and News in Focus Objective Questions – Kiran Prakashan 

Q.2 What are the subjects in IRS? 

Ans. IRS comprises the following subjects; 

  • One of the Indian languages selected in the 8th Schedule of the Constitution by the candidate from the languages included. 
  • English 
  • Essay 
  • Indian Culture, history, and Geography of the society and Word 
  • Economic Development, Technology, Environment, Bio-diversity, Disaster Management, and Security 
  • Integrity, Ethics, and Aptitude 
  • Optional Subjects 

Q.3 How tough is the IRS exam? 

Ans. IRS is equally tough as the IAS exam. Because IRS and IAS fall under the same civil service exam and share the same syllabus and pattern. Therefore, IRS is one of the toughest exams not only in India but in the whole world. IRS requires a very serious and in-depth study to pass it. 

Q.4 What is the qualification for IRS? 

Ans. An individual having a graduation (or equivalent) degree from a central, state, deemed, or open university is qualified for the IRS exam. A bachelor’s degree from distance/correspondence is also eligible. A bachelor’s degree whether full-time or not is qualified for the IRS exam. 



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