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Cleo Hamel

Tax Expert

Cleo Hamel brings a wealth of financial and tax experience to her role as a Senior Tax Specialist with American Expat Tax Services. Specializing in U.S. and Canadian tax preparation, Cleo has more than 15 years of tax expertise.

As the national spokesperson for American Expat Tax Services, Cleo enjoys the opportunity to provide straightforward information about taxes to help people living, working or playing on either side of the U.S.-Canada border.

Prior to joining American Expat Tax Services, Cleo worked with the largest tax preparation firm in the country and was an independent financial advisor with a broker’s license in the Calgary area. She attended the University of Calgary and studied French, Italian and Spanish with a minor in Business and is fluent in French and Italian. She continued her education with Mount Royal University and completed her Public Relations Certificate in 2014.

Cleo currently lives in Calgary with her husband of 22 years and their two daughters, aged 19 and 18. They also share their home with nine-year-old Bear, a Husky Chow mix.
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Learn About This Tax Shelter From the Storm

Tax shelters are few in Canada, so it's important to understand the ones that are available. The introduction of the Tax-Free Savings Account (TFSA) in 2009 was met with positive feedback, but it seems Canadians are not always sure about its value.
01/06/2014 05:15 EST
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The Most Important Day for Your Tax Return Is Approaching

New Year's Eve. Champagne toasts and countdowns. Kisses at midnight and Auld Lang Syne. It's a time to look forward to the year ahead, and reflect on the one just past. Especially your taxes. Sorry to rip you out of the reverie, but taxes never sleep. And on December 31, Canada's tax laws set in stone a number of factors that influence your personal tax return.
12/10/2013 12:29 EST
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Holiday Bonuses That Could End up on Your Tax Bill

We may be looking at something of a Dickensian, bah-humbug holiday season, according to a recent H&R Block survey of Canadian workers. The survey conducted by Leger showed only 44 per cent of Canadians are expecting an employer-hosted holiday party. But if, in fact, the season does put a scrap of gold or silver in your pocket, there's a chance it may come with tax implications, and many Canadians don't realize that.
11/25/2013 05:38 EST
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Why You Shouldn't Cheat the Taxman

We recently asked Leger to survey Canadians about cheating on taxes, and the results were a little surprising. Turns out that we don't seem to think tax cheats are all that bad. And if you are thinking about cheating on your taxes, the CRA does have several checks in place to make sure you are filing correctly.
10/25/2013 12:34 EDT
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Why Tax Refunds Aren't a Good Thing

It is nice to receive a cheque from the government but a tax refund is not good, because you are only receiving your own money back. Your tax refund is money you have overpaid the government during the year. You want to pay the right amount of tax during the year, rather than give the government an interest-free loan.
05/07/2013 12:37 EDT
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Do I Really Need to File a Tax Return?

Filing your tax return may seem like an unnecessary task if you earned little to no income during the year. Or if you are expecting a refund, your attitude may be that there is no rush to file by the April 30 tax deadline. However, there are some very good reasons to file your tax return on time every year.
04/23/2013 08:05 EDT

How Life Milestones Affect Your Tax Return

It is amazing how much your life can change in the span of a year. Perhaps you graduated and are now working full-time after moving to a new place. Or you bought your first home. All these events are exciting but they can also make tax time a little more complicated. Understanding how they affect your taxes is the key to maximizing your savings.
04/17/2013 12:24 EDT

Are You Deducting All You Can This Tax Season?

even with only one or two slips, you should still be aware of the deductions you can claim. And even if you don't claim them on your 2012 return, they could help next year. And that's what paying attention to these overlooked deductions is about: keeping a little more money in your pocket.
04/05/2013 12:09 EDT
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A Beginner's Guide To Income Taxes

No matter how your academic career ends, there comes a point when you join the workforce and (hopefully) start earning a regular paycheque. Earning income means you have the privilege of paying income tax. It may not be your first thought, but tax planning is an important part of a financial plan.
03/26/2013 05:29 EDT
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Tax Deadline 2013: What You Need Before You File

According to a recent Leger Marketing survey, approximately 10 per cent of Canadians say they have already filed their return. I am one of those people. I like to get it done early. But there are millions of taxpayers who will wait until April or later to file a tax return.
03/15/2013 05:25 EDT
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Navigating Your First Tax Return on Your Own

There are many different types of tax preparers but one of the most trusted is mom and dad. Many younger Canadians rely on parents to help them file their first tax returns, but there does come a time when you need to take control of your tax return and learn how to prepare it yourself.
03/06/2013 05:45 EST
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Is an RRSP the Right Choice for You?

We all want to retire at some point, so saving money for the future is a good idea. And RRSPs are one of the best tax shelters available to Canadians. But RRSPs do not offer a great deal of flexibility if you need to withdraw the money early. Before you make an RRSP contribution, you should decide if it is the right choice for you.
02/26/2013 07:42 EST
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File Your Taxes -- Electronically

It is not exactly a date marked on every calendar, but February 11 is the official start of tax season. It is the day the Canada Revenue Agency opens its electronic filing system for 2012 returns. There have been some changes to NETFILE this year to make life a little easier. Here's what they are.
02/11/2013 05:37 EST