Cleo Hamel
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

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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Filing Your Taxes Online Gets You Your Return Faster

(0) Comments | Posted March 10, 2014 | 6:41 PM

The taxman continues to encourage taxpayers to file electronically to reduce costs and make the process more efficient.

There was a time when a tax package would arrive in your mailbox at the beginning of the year, or you'd head to the post office to pick up a booklet filled...

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The CRA Wants to Help With Your Taxes -- But Only Online

(1) Comments | Posted March 4, 2014 | 8:47 AM

You may like the personal touch but the CRA is pushing people towards its My Account online information portal to cut costs.

The Canada Revenue Agency shuttered its local inquiry and payment desks last October. The agency has abandoned the practice of mailing hard-copy tax return packages except...

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Tax Returns: Giving the Tax Man the Slip

(1) Comments | Posted February 24, 2014 | 3:35 PM

After you file, the CRA's slip-matching process checks all returns.

So you filed your income tax return with the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) well in advance of the April 30 deadline. Everything went without a hitch and you have a refund cheque in your hands, or directly deposited in your...

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Why a Spousal RRSP Is Worth it

(1) Comments | Posted February 20, 2014 | 12:21 PM

With the introduction of pension income splitting in 2007, couples may not see the need for a spousal RRSP any longer. But there are good reasons to consider this other income splitting option before retirement.

Spousal Registered Retirement Savings Plans (RRSPs) may not look as attractive now that...

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Don't Miss Out on Family Tax Credits This Year

(0) Comments | Posted February 5, 2014 | 12:55 PM

It's expensive to raise a family. Canadian governments recognize this, and have historically tried to ease the expense at least a little by offering parents with dependent children tax credits and deductions that others don't get.

In the last few years, the federal government has enacted additional small changes to...

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RRSPs: Still Saving After All These Years

(0) Comments | Posted January 20, 2014 | 3:50 PM

After almost six decades, this rare Canadian tax shelter is still saving Canadians money.

The Canadian government first created the Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP) in 1957, to promote savings for self-employed individuals and those without an employer-sponsored pension plan. It's now 2014, and that makes the

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Learn About This Tax Shelter From the Storm

(0) Comments | Posted January 6, 2014 | 4:37 PM

Although they are almost five years old, many Canadians are still confused about the rules and benefits of Tax-Free Savings Accounts.

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...

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