Depression is a highly prevalent disorder that causes much personal distress and difficulties in functioning at home and the workplace. In the workplace, as elsewhere, depression can manifest as a variation in normal mood, as a symptom, as a disorder or as a disease. In this study we aimed to investigate the determining factors that affect the depression state among official workers. Workers from two tax offices were chosen through random sampling from the 62 tax offices in Istanbul. We used a questionnaire form to determine the demographic and socio-economic characteristics and health problems using face to face negotiations with the workers. We used: 'Job Satisfaction Scale', 'State and Trait Anxiety Inventory', and 'Back Depression Inventory'. The results after statistical evaluation showed that the depression state could be regarded as composed of several factors: high trait anxiety scores, discord with co-workers, and low job satisfaction and backache. In conclusion, a reduction of anxiety levels and an increase in job satisfaction should be arranged, it seemed to be useful to decrease workload and to develop the labor divisions in order to enable the individuals to deal with specific jobs. Also, the relationship between the senior staff and the other employees should be improved. The layout of the work place could be re-arranged to remove the workers' musculoskeletal problems (low-back pain, etc.) and their causes. Finally, it is necessary to expand the occupational health service practices. © SAGE Publications 2008.