Cleo Hamel
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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.

Entries by Cleo Hamel

Giving Up Your U.S. Citizenship Is Not A Simple Task

(8) Comments | Posted February 2, 2016 | 3:07 PM

Accidental Americans may want to renounce their U.S. citizenship rights but there is a process

There are thousands of Accidental Americans in Canada who hold U.S. citizenship that they don't necessarily want or even know they have. For most people, the issue is not the unexpected citizenship --...

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Ted Cruz Is Not The Only One With U.S. Citizenship Problems

(9) Comments | Posted January 25, 2016 | 5:35 PM

Accidental Americans are faced with tax filings whether they want their U.S. citizenship or not

While Ted Cruz may be doing everything to prove he is a "natural born" U.S. citizen despite being born in Calgary, his situation underlines how figuring out U.S. citizenship for tax...

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Tax-Free In Canada Doesn't Mean Uncle Sam Agrees

(1) Comments | Posted January 19, 2016 | 2:03 PM

IRS requires gains from certain Canadian accounts to be reported annually

Registered Retirement Savings Plans (RRSPs), Registered Education Savings Plans (RESPs) and Tax-Free Savings Accounts (TFSAs) are three tax shelters available to Canadian taxpayers. They all offer different benefits while providing the opportunity to...

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Do You Really Need An RRSP?

(3) Comments | Posted January 11, 2016 | 3:55 PM

Younger generation may be better to opt for a Tax Free Savings Account

For most people, the season is winter. But for banks and other financial institutions, it is Registered Retirement Saving Plan (RRSP) season. You can expect to be deluged with various marketing messages about making a...

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IRS Crackdown On Tax Cheats Goes Into Overdrive

(6) Comments | Posted January 4, 2016 | 12:50 PM

U.S. tax system based on citizenship and residency set to punish unsuspecting taxpayers

For anyone who thought the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) wasn't serious about tracking down errant or missing U.S. taxpayers, the past year should have erased any doubts. Whether you agree with the IRS's methods or...

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Parents May Be Facing A Tax Bill Thanks To Extra Child Care Benefits

(0) Comments | Posted December 9, 2015 | 5:27 PM

New tax savings and programs won't happen until 2016

After weeks of waiting, we finally know how the Liberals are starting to roll out their tax-related election promises. The previous government was notorious for introducing last minute, retroactive tax changes that it was hard to predict if the new government...

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Canadians Are Planning A Charitable Holiday Season

(2) Comments | Posted December 4, 2015 | 2:35 PM

If you are facing a tax bill in 2015, you may want to consider some giving to help lower your liability

It is the season of giving to others and many Canadians are getting into the spirit. According to the 2015 BMO Charitable Giving Poll, Canadians are planning...

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Winning Big While Gambling In The U.S. Can Bring Tax Pain

(1) Comments | Posted November 23, 2015 | 5:10 PM

Non-residents can make a claim against the IRS's lottery or gambling tax withholding but you need the paperwork

According to a new study from Solutions Research Group (SRG), more than five million Canadians have placed a bet online or via a mobile device to play fantasy sports. Not...

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Spending Too Many Days In The U.S. May Complicate Your Taxes

(1) Comments | Posted November 3, 2015 | 1:27 PM

With the government counting the days in either country, filing the right tax paperwork is important

Last week, Canadian government plans for keeping better track of people coming and going from the U.S. were revealed. The driving purpose for the increased scrutiny will save the government millions of...

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Liberal Promises Pave the Way for a Simpler, Fairer Tax Return

(6) Comments | Posted October 23, 2015 | 9:18 AM

Boutique tax credits made returns more complicated than it should be to file.

As Canada gets ready to welcome a new government to power, we can also prepare for changes to our tax returns. The Liberal platform promised a number of changes that will make an impact on...

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FATCA Court Challenge Fails to Make a Dent

(5) Comments | Posted October 1, 2015 | 1:27 PM

Canadian banks have already begun sharing information with the IRS

As expected, the court challenge to the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) by two Canadians failed to stop the flow of information between the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) and Internal Revenue Service (IRS) happening in...

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Court Fight to Stop FATCA Impacts Every Canadian

(18) Comments | Posted September 15, 2015 | 1:32 PM

Canada Revenue Agency and Internal Revenue Service to swap information to keep taxpayers honest

Ginny Hills and Gwen Deegan are taking the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) to Federal court. Both women were born in the United States to Canadian parents and have lived in...

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Canadians Owning Property in the U.S. Could Cash in on the Weak Loonie

(0) Comments | Posted September 1, 2015 | 1:26 PM

For the past few years, Canadians have been taking advantage of our dollar being worth about the same as the U.S. dollar. From buying up real estate to cross-border shopping, being on par with the U.S. dollar has had its advantages. However, in the last few months, economic factors have...

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Don't Wait Until "April 35" to File Your Tax Return

(1) Comments | Posted April 28, 2014 | 6:50 PM

Taxes and procrastination are a natural combination. There is always something more interesting to do than your tax return. And tax procrastinators received a boost from the Heartbleed Bug, which shut down the Canada Revenue Agency's electronic filing system for five days and resulted in a new deadline: May 5,...

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Want a Good Relationship With the CRA? Learn to Communicate

(1) Comments | Posted April 22, 2014 | 1:30 PM

Communication is the foundation of any relationship, whether in love, in life or at work. One relationship that's important to keep on an even keel is yours with the Canada Revenue Agency.

It's hard to admit, in any relationship, that you are wrong. With the CRA, the...

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Do I Really, Really Have to File a Tax Return? (Yes)

(1) Comments | Posted April 15, 2014 | 10:03 AM

Tax time is stressful, especially for those who haven't got their paperwork together, or, worse, suspect (or know) they're going to owe a substantial amount of money to the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA). Stress begets procrastination, and procrastination begets more procrastination. Eventually, there's denial: I don't really have...

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Five Steps Towards a Golden Retirement

(1) Comments | Posted April 7, 2014 | 6:22 PM

A third of Canadians expect a lottery win to play a part in funding their retirement plans. Consider that the odds of holding a winning ticket in a 6/49 format lottery are more than 14 million to one. You're more likely to be struck by lightning (which might eliminate the...

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If You're a Single Parent, Make Taxes Work For You

(1) Comments | Posted March 31, 2014 | 6:38 PM

They say it takes a village to raise a child, so when you're trying to do it on your own, you're entitled to a little exasperation. But the government and the Canada Revenue Agency recognize the financial challenges of being a single parent, and the tax code has...

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Cashing Out RRSPs Early Can Leave You With a Hefty Bill

(0) Comments | Posted March 24, 2014 | 6:26 PM

Only first-time homebuyers or students can access RRSP funds without penalty

The deadline to contribute to your Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP) has passed, ending a flurry of last-minute contributions for another year. RRSPs were designed to be long-term savings plans, but a recent study by

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Handy Tax Tips for First-Time Filers

(0) Comments | Posted March 17, 2014 | 1:19 PM

What paperwork you need, when you need it, and how to calculate your refunds

Of all the milestones in your life, filing your first income tax return probably isn't the one you look forward to most.

It's no wonder. Byzantine rules, deadlines and the possibility of a big hit to...

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