Take stock – April 29

Statistics Canada says more people filed for Employment Insurance in February than any month since comparable data began to be compiled in 1997.

EI claims rose 18.6% in February: Statscan

Statistics Canada says more people filed for Employment Insurance in February than any month since comparable data began to be compiled in 1997. There were 325,700 new claims in February, an increase of 51,000, or 18.6 per cent, from January. The agency says the number of people actually receiving EI jumped 7.8 per cent in February, with the biggest increases coming in Alberta, British Columbia, Ontario and Saskatchewan. There were 610,200 people getting benefits in February, up 21.8 per cent from October, when unemployment began to climb. The agency says the number of people on EI has risen in every part of the country. The unemployment rate was 7.7 per cent in February and hit 8.0 per cent in March.

Not too early to start planning for 2009 tax filing deadline

With the tax deadline just days away, planning for next year may not be foremost on your mind, but experts say now is the best time to start thinking about deductions to make this time next year. “Tax planning should be part of your overall financial plan,” said Adam Salahudeen, senior manager of tax advisory services at Scotiabank. “People tend to let the tax tail wag the dog. What they should be doing is thinking year-round how taxes should be mitigated.” Salahudeen said it’s human nature for people, especially those who owe the government money, to put off their taxes until the very last minute. He said a smarter strategy is to think about how to make the most of your tax deductions once your last assessment lands in the mail. That includes RRSP deductions as well as income splitting and other tax-saving measures. “There’s more to taxes than just filing them and getting them out of the way.” He also recommends paying attention to incentives that governments have introduced to help taxpayers in the current economic downturn.

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