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Who is a lineal ascendant or descendant?

In The Hindu dated October 22, 2007 under the title “No tax on gifts to children or parents”, it was mentioned that “lineal ascendant would include a grand parent and lineal descen

dant should include a grand child”. In fact, even ascendants or descendants of more than two degrees should also be included as ascendants or descendants in this definition. As per the Explanation to Sec. 56(2), it could be any ascendant and or descendant. Please clarify.

The reader is right in pointing out that the lineal ascendant may not merely include father, mother, grandfather and grandmother, but also great grandfather and great grandmother and so on. Similarly, the lineal descendant will include not only children and grand children but also great grand children and their children as well. No limitation as to the degree of relationship is prescribed so that a lineal ascendant or descendant of not only first and second degree but also third and fourth degree and so on will also qualify as a relative. A gift from them would not be liable to tax under Sec. 56(2). Answer in The Hindu dated October 22, 2007, was confined to the query raised and was not meant to give a restricted meaning to the expressions.

S. RAJARATNAM

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