How to Become Income Tax Officer?

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An Income Tax Officer (ITO) is an authoritative official or inspector of the Income Tax Department who deals with tax-related matters of the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDI). Also called ‘Tax Specialists’, Income Tax Inspectors analyse and examine business and personal tax accounts and ensure that the correct amount of tax is being paid. These officers possess excellent analytical skills and a high level of numeracy which is essential to investigate suspected tax fraud. The two main Income Tax Officer exams in India are SSC CGL and UPSC exams, through either of these you can take the path of becoming an Income Tax Inspector in India. Are you curious about the process of how to become Income Tax Officer and what is the scope of a career in the field of Revenue and Taxation? Then, you are in the right place because we have accumulated all the necessary information to help you build a thriving career as an Income Tax Officer.

Who is an Income Tax Officer(ITO)?

Income Tax Officers assess your financial documents, assets and liabilities to determine your accurate income when you file an income tax return (ITR). They administer direct taxation acts passed by the Indian Parliament. It is a highly alluring career in civil services and numerous people appear for the examination. 

How to Become an Income Tax Officer?

Want to know how to become Income Tax Officer? If you are a graduate below the age of 30 years, the first step is to apply for the Combined Graduate Level (CGL) Examination conducted by the Staff Selection Commission (SSC) to become an Income Tax Inspector. In other words, SSC is an authorised body responsible for conducting SSC CGL exam for recruitment of the Income Tax Inspector because the Department of Income Tax falls under the Central Government of India. The minimum education requirement to be recruited as Grade C and B inspectors is to be a graduate in any discipline.

If you want to become an Income Tax Officer after 12th, you will have to complete an undergraduate degree and then qualify the SSC CGL exam or the UPSC exam for Indian Revenue Services.

Qualifications Required for an Income Tax Officer

To become an Income Tax Officer in India, you will have to fulfil certain requirements specified by the Indian government. Here are the key requirements for income tax officers:

Educational Qualifications Bachelor’s Degree from a Recognized University
Age Limit Not more than 27 years (3-13 years of relaxation for reserved categories)
Qualifying Exam SSC CGL Exam
Syllabus Preliminary Exam: General Intelligence and General Awareness & Arithmetic
Mains Exam: General Studies (Reasoning and Awareness); English Comprehension; Arithmetic Abilities; Language; Communication Skills and Writing

Can a girl become Income Tax Officer?
Yes, both male and female candidates can apply for SSC CGL Income Tax Inspector post in India.
Apart from fulfilling the basic educational and age limit which is the same for male and female candidates, women should qualify for the following physical fitness eligibility to become an Income Tax Officer:
Minimum Height: (152 cm)
Minimum Weight: (48 kg)
The Physical Test includes walking (1 km in 20 min) and cycling (3km in 25min)

Salary of an Income Tax Officer

Owing to the endless perks and benefits with a worthy salary often lets one ponder about how to become an income tax officer. Along with the fixed salary package, income tax employees also earn some special allowances. The starting salary of the SSC CGL Income Tax Inspector and Income Tax Officer is somewhere around 44,900 INR along with a grade pay that ranges somewhere between 4,000-5500 INR.

As per the grade you are selected for, there can be a mild variation in the salary. Let us understand the salary package and the incentives earned by an Income Tax Officer-

Categories  City 1  City 2  City 3
Basic Pay 44900 INR 44900 INR 44900 INR
HRA 10776 INR 7184 INR 3592 INR
TA 3600 INR 1800 INR 1800 INR
DA 7633 INR 7633 INR 7633 INR
DA on TA 612 INR 306 INR 306 INR
NPS Deduction 10% (Basic + DA) 5253 INR 5253 INR 5253 INR
Gross Earnings  67521 INR 63929 INR 60337 INR
CGHS 350 INR 350 INR 350 INR
Government Contribution  7355 INR 7355 INR 7355 INR
Total Deduction 5633 INR 5633 INR 5633 INR
Total Salary of an Income Tax Officer 61888 INR 58296 INR 57407 INR

NOTE: The above-mentioned table indicates the estimated salaries. The actual salary bracket is expected to change as per the orders of Central Government.

There is a possibility of being appointed as the Chairman of various appellate authorities and tribunals if you retire at a higher position in the Income Tax Department. One of the most exciting advantages of being a government officer is the government accommodation provided on the basis of your seniority in the department. Also, the government ensures paid leaves for officers to complete professional examinations that are essential for growth and promotion.

SSC CGL Income Tax Inspector Exam

The Staff Selection Commission – Combined Graduate Level or SSC CGL Exam is a national-level test conducted for the recruitment of various posts in Indian government’s ministries, departments and organisations. Students need to appear for the SSC CGL which is also referred to as the income tax exam as it is also conducted for the recruitment of Income Tax officers in the Department of Income Tax under the Indian government. The minimum academic qualification for the SSC CGL exam is a bachelor’s degree in any discipline.

SSC CGL Eligibility

The eligibility requirements for the SSC CGL exam are as follows:

  • The minimum age limit of the candidate is 18 years and the maximum is 27 years.
  • The upper age limit for eligibility for this income tax exam will be relaxed for 5 years for SC/ST candidates and 3 years for OBC applicants. Other than this, relaxation in upper age limit is also applicable for employees working in the Government of India and defence services.
  • The basic eligibility requirement for the income tax exam, i.e. SSC CGL for is that the candidate should hold a Bachelor’s degree in any stream.
  • The candidate is required to fulfil the minimum required physical fitness and stature eligibility to be considered qualified for the Income Tax exam for Income Tax Inspector posts under the Government of India:
    • Male Candidate: Height (157.5 cm) and Chest (81 cm, fully expanded with a minimum expansion of 5 cms). The Physical Test will include walking (1600 m in 15min) and cycling (8 km in 30 min)
    • Female Candidate: Minimum height (152 cm) and Weight (48 kg). The Physical Test includes walking (1 km in 20 min) and cycling (3km in 25min)

Quick Read: Upcoming Government Exams 2020

SSC CGL Syllabus & Selection

In order to become an Income Tax Officer, you must first begin with the post of Income Tax Inspector for which the recruitment procedure is carried out through SSC CGL exam. The exam is then followed by an interview and Physical Standard/Physical Fitness and Medical Tests. SSC CGL generally encompasses a four-stage recruitment process in which Tier 3 and 4 are not applicable for the selection of Income Tax posts:

Tier 1 & 2: Preliminary & Mains; Both online exams comprising of multiple-choice objective type questions

After these two exams, a personality/skill test or interview is conducted at the regional or sub-regional office of SSC.

Below mentioned are the 3 stages of SSC CGL examination in further detail:

1. Preliminary Examination

This examination contains two papers. Moreover, it should be noted that the Preliminary Exam is just a qualifying section for the Final Exam and scores obtained in this exam are not added to the final marks.

Section Subject Number of
Maximum Marks  Time 
Part A General Intelligence
and General
100 100 2 Hours
Part B Arithmetic 100 100 2 Hours

2. Main Examination

As a critical part of the procedure of how to become Income Tax Officer, the main exam can be taken by those candidates who have passed the Preliminary Examination. It contains two sections where Part A involves a ‘Written Exam’ and Part B is a ‘Personality Test’.

Written Exam Subject  Maximum Marks  Time 
General Studies (Reasoning and Awareness) 200 3 Hours
English Comprehension 100 2 Hours 20 minutes
Arithmetic Abilities 200 4 Hours
Language 100 2 Hours 20 minutes
Communication Skills and Writing 200 2 Hours 20 minutes

3. Personality Test or Interview

If you have passed the main exam, the final stage of SSC CGL examination is a personal interview where test your personality and mental abilities are put to test. In addition to this, there may be a Skill Test to test the data speed of 2000 words per 15 minutes and will be conducted at the regional/sub-regional office of SSC.

If you are jotting down the essentials of how to become Income Tax Officer, clearing the cutoff for each examination is another crucial step to keep in mind. These cutoffs are generally set high for the Income Tax Department as it comprises of the most preferred and lucrative job profiles. However, the cutoffs depend on the number of candidates and number of vacancies available.

SSC CGL Cut-Offs 

Being one of the most lucrative jobs offered under the central government of the country, the cut off for Income Tax Inspector goes generally higher than the other profiles available under SSC-CGL. Tabulated below are the estimated cut-offs as per the categories-

Category  Cut Off (Out of 700)
General  578.75 
OBC 557.75
ST 511.50
SC 515.25
OH 489.50
HH 473.00
Ex-Serviceman 482.50

NOTE: The aforementioned table contains scores only for indicative purposes. The actual cut-off for the SSC-CGL exam may differ.

Income Tax Inspector Selection Process

There are 4 stages in SSC CGL and applicants have to perform well at each stage. The table given below has all the selection stages to become an Income tax inspector: 

Tier Type  Mode
Tier I MCQ Online
Tier II MCQ Online
Tier III Descriptive Paper in English/Hindi Offline
Tier IV Skill Test Offline

Training Process For Group “B” Post

Once you are selected, a 12-week training is conducted at the Direct Taxes Regional Training Institute (DTRTI) in the region which you have been allotted. The intensive training includes exposure to different administrative procedures, tax laws and investigation skills. Other than this, you will be briefed about your salary, perks and other benefits provided to an SSC CGL Income Tax Inspector. 

How to Become an Income Tax Officer Through UPSC Path?

Another element in the process of exploring how to become an Income Tax Officer is to take the direct route of the UPSC exam. Then, you can go for the Civil Services Examination conducted by UPSC and opt for Indian Revenue Services for which the age eligibility is 32 years and you can give the exam 6 times. Once you’ve cleared all the stages of the examination, you will be appointed as an Assistant Commissioner of Income Tax which is a Group A Post. After successfully completing a stipulated period of service, you are assured of time-bound promotion given that your annual performance report is always good with no adverse remark against you.

Role of an Income Tax Officer

Responsibilities of an Income Tax Officer

Income Tax Inspectors work under the Department of Income Tax operating under the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT), a statutory authority that takes care of matters related to levy and collection of direct taxes. The key responsibilities of an Income Tax Inspector include

  • The assessment of tax returns as well as reporting any discrepancies in the returns filed either by individuals or firms and organisations.
  • You will be generally posted under assessment section or a non-assessment section.
    • If you are in the assessment section, you will be handling on-desk responsibilities such as tackling auditing and tax refund or TDS related issues.
    • In the non-assessment aspect, income tax inspectors carry out intel or evidence gathering on possible defaulters by conducting rails with the income tax field teams in the department.

Why Do We Need ITOs?

An Income Tax Department is responsible for the day-to-day administration of various taxes. An Income Tax Officer (ITO) is involved in determining tax liabilities, individual and company audits, assisting the public with their tax situations and investigating work aimed at combating tax evasion. These tax officers are highly essential to assess, collect and manage tax duties that account for over 93% of exchequer revenue. Additional tax responsibilities could include payroll, sales and property tax filings.

Perks of an Income Tax Officer

The question of how to become Income Tax Officer is best answered when you know the benefits that can be availed in this profession. Individuals who join the Income Tax Department at an early age have a fair chance of being promoted quickly through the following levels:

  1. Deputy Commissioner of Income Tax
  2. Joint Commissioner of Income Tax
  3. Commissioner of Income Tax
  4. Principal Commissioner of Income Tax
  5. Chief Commissioner of Income Tax
  6. Principal Chief Commissioner of Income Tax


What is salary of Income Tax Officer?

The salary of an Income Tax Officer in India varies across different positions. The starting salary of the SSC CGL Income Tax Inspector and Income Tax Officer is somewhere around 44,900 INR along with a grade pay that ranges somewhere between 4,000-5500 INR.

What is the exam for income tax officer?

The State Service Commission (SSC) conducts the recruitment exams for Income Tax Inspectors and Income Tax Officers under the Department of Income Tax. The exam for Income Tax Officer is referred to as SSC CGL exam which is followed by an interview and Physical Standard/Physical Fitness and Medical Tests.

How can I become income tax officer?

There are two main routes to become an Income Tax Officer in India, i.e. SSC CGL exam or UPSC exam. SSC CGL exam is the main recruitment exam for Grade C and B inspectors for the Department of Income Tax which comes under the central government. Other than this exam, you can opt for the civil services exam organised by UPSC for Indian Revenue Services and cracking this exam, you will be appointed as Assistant Commissioner of Income Tax which is a Group A Post.

What is the qualification for income tax department?

Though there are specific qualifications for Income Tax Departments, the general requirements you need to qualify include a bachelor’s degree and the age limit is 18-27 years.

With the government taking various measures to tackle illegal wealth, the requirement of Income Tax Officers is increasing tremendously. We hope this blog helped you explore the answers to how to become Income Tax Officer. You can always reach out to our experts at Leverage Edu who can help you choose a graduate program that is best suited to support your ambition of becoming an Income Tax Officer.

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