Income Tax Inspector Promotion: Complete Details

There’s enough myth on the internet and YouTube about the promotion of an Income Tax Inspector. This article will dispel all the myths and will provide an up-to-date picture of Income Tax Inspector promotions as of 17th April 2021.

I have drawn some data in this article from my experience as an Income Tax Inspector so you can rely on it with 100% surety.

I have converted this article into a YouTube video. You can watch it here or If you prefer reading, then the article is below the video.

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The post of Income-tax Inspector is one of the few posts in SSC which provide the right mix of everything for everyone.

It has one of the highest salaries of all the posts (behind only the CBI SI and AAO Job), power and respect in the society, good transfer policy, offices in smaller as well as bigger cities, etc.

In addition, it has one more thing just right enough to attract SSC aspirants towards itself, which is – better promotional aspects. Let’s have a closer look at it.

Income Tax Inspector first promotion to ITO

The first promotion from the post of Inspector to ITO takes about 8-10 years on average in all zones. About 8 years ago, people used to get promoted to the post of Income Tax Officer (ITO) from ITI within 5-6 years. But several factors have led to the stagnation in promotions.

In the Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh zone (MP & CG), the latest batch to get promoted is the 2011 batch. The candidates of this batch joined in Nov 2012, and after 8 years, they have been promoted to the post of Income Tax Officer (ITO) (in Feb 2021).

It is said that in some zones like Tamilnadu, the promotions are faster and it may take one or 2 years lesser than other zones for 1st promotion (although this is uncertain).

An ITO used to be a pretty powerful post. If posted in a ward, he would oversee about 20,000 ITRs (Income Tax Returns). The taxpayers with a total annual income of less than Rs. 15 lakhs used to come under his jurisdiction. But not so anymore.

Since August 2020, most of the assessment work of the department has been made online, and the ITO has been stripped of most of its powers. He doesn’t wield much authority anymore.

The salary of a newly recruited ITO, who joined the department directly as an Income Tax Inspector will be close to Rs. 90,000/- if he is posted in Delhi (X grade city). These figures also depend on the number of years he has spent as an Inspector (ITI).

Benefits of getting promotion to Income Tax Officer

There are several benefits of first promotion in the Income Tax Department. I list some of them below-

Gazetted post

As a general rule, in government services, the gazetted posts start with the grade pay of 5400/-. Income Tax Officer is one of those posts which is gazetted while having the grade pay of 4800/-. After spending four years at the grade pay of Rs. 4800/-, an ITO will be awarded the grade pay of 5400/-.

Also, the Income Tax Department is one of those few departments in which the very first promotion grants you a gazetted post. This is not the case in CBI.

In CBI, the first promotion will get you to the post of CBI Inspector, which has a grade-pay of 4800, but this is not a gazetted post.

Now, if you are wondering if you have any advantages of being a gazetted officer, then yes; there are a few advantages. These include permission to fly on official visits, authority to sign as a gazetted officer, etc.

Additional increment

This is a no-brainer that your salary will increase once you are promoted. You will get the salary corresponding to the 4800/- grade pay, which is about 4-5 thousand rupees (per month) more than the salary of the Income Tax Inspector.

This is all fine and dandy, but there are some hoops you have to jump over to get promoted. There are some departmental exams which you have to qualify before you are promoted to the post of Income Tax Officer.

Income Tax Inspector departmental confirmation exam

When you join the department, you are on a probation period of two years. You also have to qualify for the Income Tax Inspector confirmation exam in the department.

When you qualify the ITI confirmation exam, you don’t get any extra increments in your salary.

The syllabus for the ITI exam is Accountancy, Income tax law and computation, Allied laws and office procedure.

This exam is held in July, and the results are declared in November end. The exam is held once every year.

In 2020, during the coronavirus pandemic, the exam was held in October and the results were declared in December end.

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Income Tax Officer departmental exam

To be eligible for the promotion, you must clear the ITI confirmation exam and the ITO exam. You shall not be eligible for the post of Income Tax officer if you haven’t qualified both exams.

The ITO exam involves four papers which are Income Tax Act, Advanced Accountancy, Allied laws and Income-tax Act in depth. The first three papers are objective-type (100 marks, 2 hours) and only the fourth paper is descriptive (100 marks, 3 hours). Minimum passing marks are 50 for general category and 45 for SC/ST. There’s also a provision of 7 marks grace.

To get promotion to the ITO, it is mandatory to qualify all four exams. A maximum of 10 attempts are allowed to qualify all the papers. If you have passed in one or more papers, you won’t need to appear in these again next year. You can appear in rest of the papers and qualify them.

When you clear the ITO exam, you are awarded two increments on the basic pay effective from the date of results declaration.

One increment makes up 3% on the basic pay. So if your basic pay is Rs. 48000/- per month, these two increments translate to a monthly salary of 48000*1.03*1.03 = Rs. 50,923/-, an increment of Rs. 3000 per month.

Read the salary of an Income Tax Inspector. Contrast this with the salary of a sub Inspector of CBI.

Income Tax Officer promotion to Assistant Commissioner of Income Tax (IRS)

The second promotion from Income tax Inspector is to the post of Assistant Commissioner of Income Tax (ACIT). There is no exam for promotion from the post of ITO to ACIT.

An ITO becomes an ACIT after 13-17 years. There’s a huge stagnation at this stage in almost all the zones of the Income Tax Department.

The grade pay of an ACIT is also Rs. 5400/- (but with a higher basic pay) and the gross salary is approx Rs. 1.5 lakhs. Again, this figure depends heavily on a lot of factors, so assume a margin of error of Rs. 10,000/-.

In earlier times, before the department was restructured in August 2020, the ACIT used to be the In-charge of a circle. A circle is a bigger area than a ward and could include 2 or 3 districts. An ACIT used to oversee cases which had a total declared income between Rs. 15 lakhs and 50 lakhs.

An ACIT is awarded the tag of IRS (Indian Revenue Service). Income tax department is one of those few departments which give the tag of IRS to non-UPSC qualifiers.

If you join the Income Tax Department through UPSC exam after becoming an IRS, you will be awarded the post of ACIT. Thus UPSC gives you a head start of about 25 years when compared to the SSC.

If you have joined the department as steno and have switched to the executive line, you will probably retire at this post. Chances are slim that you will get past the post of ACIT, even if you are lucky.

Promotion from ACIT to Dy. Commissioner of Income Tax (DCIT)

The Next post up the ladder is that of a DCIT (Deputy Commissioner of Income Tax) which takes 8-10 years to climb and another 6-7 years to reach up to the level of Joint CIT.

If you have directly joined as Income Tax Inspector through SSC, chances are high that you will retire as DCIT. If you are really lucky or if you have joined the department at 21, you might reach up to the post of Jt. CIT.

The grade pay of a DCIT is Rs. 6600/- and that of the JCIT is Rs. 7600/-. The ballpark salary of DCIT will be 1.8 – 2 lakhs per month.

Also note that there is no exam in this department to jump to a higher post like in CBI. (See

Tax Assistant promotion

If you join this department as a tax assistant, then you will have to clear the Income-tax Inspector confirmation exam to be promoted to the post of an Inspector. Even if you clear this exam in your second attempt, then chances are high that you will become an Inspector within 5 years. After that, you are as good as any direct Inspector recruit selected from the SSC exam.

Read this article for more information on tax assistant promotion in the Income Tax Department.

Summing it up

Lets recap the time taken for promotions and hierarchy –

  1. Income tax inspector to Income Tax Officer (ITO) => 8 to 10 years
  2. ITO to ACIT => 13 to 17 years
  3. ACIT to DCIT => 8 to 10 years
  4. DCIT to JCIT => 6 to 7 years.

This was all from my side on the Income Tax Inspector promotion. If anything has been left out, please write so in the comments and I’ll help you out.

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