Can an IRS Officer be a Businessman at the Same Time?

Of the many questions that you might have about the Indian Revenue Services, here we answer the question of whether an IRS Officer can do business while on active duty or not.


Many people wonder what life is like in civil services. While millions of people dream of entering various Indian civil services like IAS, IPS, IRS and others, some are not happy with life in the system when they get to it. Because of this dissatisfaction, they often turn to the life of business, start-ups and companies.

Let’s see what motivates and allows an Indian Revenue Service (IRS) officer to enter the business world. And can they do it without any difficulties?

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Private companies and corporate start-ups open to having IRS officers on-board have great packages for those with experience in government.

Can an IRS officer be a businessman?

The Indian Revenue Services, often abbreviated to IRS, is a Group A federal government service under the Government of India. Government regulations prohibit IRS officials from personally engaging in direct business acts while serving as bureaucrats.

However, retired IRS employees are allowed to do business. The Code of Conduct prohibits IRS officers from doing any other full-time work while on active duty. There should be no dispute of interest, even for part-time appointments that an officer might have. Besides, any side-vocation of an IRS officer should be non-remunerative.

Why might an IRS officer quit her or his job as a government employee?

The prospect of earning more by vocations like business start-ups, consulting for multinational corporations or the Indian divisions of global accounting firms is attractive. India being a developing economy, the business opportunities and the wealth associated in the country are a large growing behemoth. And everyone wants a part of it.

Talented and experienced people such as IRS officers have great market value in multinationals and start-ups with substantial growth prospects. Consulting roles in these areas generate a much higher income for IRS officers than their public work with the government.

The power and positioning that comes with government posts might be absent in private employment, but higher wages adequately compensate for this. Private companies find government employees’ skills and experience unmatched, as no professional in any other segment is exposed to the experience a government employee faces.

Conditions under which IRS officers can run their business

There are certain conditions under which an incumbent IRS officer can do business, key of which are:

Retired IRS officers can participate directly in any gainful activity.

Active IRS officers can resign to run their business.

IRS officers can use their legal money to make legal investments and buy stock.

Alternative Business Routes

IRS employees can also ask family and friends to work as mentors and start a business for them while sharing their ideas. However, the government should be aware of this effort. IRS officers can engage in certain activities and occupations as long as they are paid only for charitable purposes.

A plurality of rules prohibiting IRS employees from doing personal business is meant to avoid the possibility of a conflict of interest, as IRS employees are primarily designated with the development and implementation of government policies.

Aakash Sharma
Aakash Sharma
Aakash writes on Startup Ecosystem, Policies, Legal and Regulatory aspects of business planning. An alumnus of Delhi University, he is assistant editor at Dutch Uncles.

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