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Father's Day 2012: Gifts for him,
tax breaks for you

Don't panic. Father's Day isn't until Sunday, June 17. But since dads are usually a bit harder to shop for than moms, I thought you could use the head start.

It seems, however, that we kids are starting to spend more on our fathers, closing the gift-giving gap somewhat with Mother's Day.

The National Retail Foundation's 2012 Father's Day spending survey found that the average person will shell out $117.14 on gifts for pop this year.

That's a 10 percent increase from last year and getting closer to the planned spending of $152 per person last month on mom's big day.

Total spending for Father's Day this year is expected to reach $12.7 billion.

Mother's Day vs. Father's Day Average spending per person.
rce: National Retail Federation; Interactive chart powered by iCharts

If part of your gift to dad on June 17 and the other 364 days is helping him out, there might be a tax gift for you.

This week's Weekly Tax Tip looks at tax help for caring for an aging parent.

If you make a substantial contribution to your parent's support, covering such things as living and housing costs and medical expenses, you might be able to claim mom or dad as a tax dependent. That then will give you an extra exemption amount on your tax return.

To ensure you do meet the parental tax dependent rules, you'll also need to evaluate your parent's income, including Social Security, as well as how much your brothers and sisters also pitch in for mom's and/or dad's care.

Having the typical parent-child roles reverse is not an easy situation for either parents or children. But it happens to most of us eventually. When it does, make sure you get all the tax help to which you're entitled.

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