Invalid Surname Error & First Name Error At Income Tax e-Filing Registration – Solution

“Invalid Surname. Please retry.”!! Encountered this error while registering for Income Tax e-filing? Read on.
Are you filing your returns online for the first time through e-filing at incometaxindiaefiling.gov.in? The first and basic step to file your return online is to register at the Income Tax India eFiling website. But are you getting any of these errors on the website when you are trying to register at the e-Filing portal of the Income Tax Department?

“Invalid Surname. Please retry.”
“Invalid First Name. Please retry.”

Invalid Surname Error e-filing Registration PAN

Basically these errors occur due to mismatch the Surname that you registered your PAN card with and the Surname you are trying to enter in the eFiling portal. Surname, First Name and Middle Name system in the western countries is different from the naming convention of the Indian system. However, most of the websites including many government portals follow the western naming convention and we have to accept that it is a bit confusing for some Indians if not all. Even the naming system or convention varies across different states of India. So considering all these, it could very well happen that the lot of people while filling the PAN registration form, swap Surname with First Name and vice-versa. This factor we have to keep in mind when your register for the first time at the Income Tax India e-Filing portal.  Adding salt to injury, the PAN card prints Surname and First Name without any indication of which is first name and which is your Surname (However, generally your Surname is printed first followed by your First Name). The problem gets more complex if you have multiple words in your name. Isn’t it? Now when you try to register yourself for the e-filing portal, the website tries to check the Surname and First Name that you entered there with that of in the PAN database. Any mismatch would end up with the above mentioned errors.

However, luckily there’s a workaround for this issue. If you observe closely at the e-Filing website, the mandatory fields are: PAN, Surname and Date of Birth (DOB). Now let’s go back to your PAN card. Note down your PAN number. It is basically a 10 character alpha-numeric identifier. The first five characters are alphabets while the next four are numerals and the last character is again an alphabet. First three characters are sequence of alphabets from AAA to ZZZ and the fourth is type/status of your card (P for Individual, C for Company etc). The most relevant part about your PAN number that we are concerned now is the fifth character which denotes the first letter of your Surname.  This gives you the clue about what Surname you might have entered while registering for the PAN card. Entering this Surname would make the validation process to succeed. Along with this, provided you have entered the correct PAN and DOB, you can proceed with the further registration process. Let’s see an example to understand.

Suppose your PAN card number is: AXXPNXXXXG, the fifth character i.e, N in this case will be the first letter of your surname.

PAN 5th Character Surname

Hope this helps you solve the ‘Invalid Surname error’. Now that you have just started registering yourself at the Income Tax India E-Filing portal, read our guide on E-Filing: How to File your Income Tax Return & on how to link Aadhaar with PAN.

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