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

Tell The Taxman If You Are Leaving The Country

(0) Comments | Posted March 27, 2017 | 4:12 PM


Immigrating to or emigrating from a new country is a major undertaking. From going through the immigration process to finding a place to live, to moving all of your possessions, it takes a considerable amount of work and coordination.

While you may be focused on...

Read Post

When Does It Make Sense To Do Your Own Taxes?

(0) Comments | Posted March 20, 2017 | 5:45 PM

Taxes can be complex and most people don't want to deal with them. But unlike some tax pros that try to imply that you need a super-computer to prepare your return correctly, many people have straightforward returns that can easily be prepared yourself using a free or affordable tax software...

Read Post

Everything That's Different About Your Tax Return This Year

(0) Comments | Posted February 16, 2017 | 12:25 PM

The Canada Revenue Agency starts accepting 2016 tax returns on February 20. It marks the official start of the Canadian tax season. T4 slips are due to be sent from employers by the end of the month, and you should already be receiving RRSP slips (though some investment slips are...

Read Post

When Did Canada Become A Tax Haven?

(3) Comments | Posted February 2, 2017 | 8:22 AM

canada flag

According to recent media reports based on the Panama Papers, some see Canada as a tax haven. It may seem unlikely when you are reviewing how much tax you paid to the government in 2016 but evidently, our reputation and economy is a...

Read Post

How Tax Changes Will Affect U.S. Citizens Living In Canada

(0) Comments | Posted January 19, 2017 | 4:26 AM

The new administration in the U.S. may be talking about changes to the tax system and rates but none will be made in time to affect 2016 tax returns. For the estimated one million U.S. citizens living in Canada who may be required to file a U.S. tax return, there...

Read Post

Proving Yourself To The Taxman

(0) Comments | Posted December 1, 2016 | 6:49 AM

No one wants to receive a brown envelope from the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) but if you file a tax return, you can expect to get some correspondence from the taxman. During the summer months and beyond, the CRA conducts a matching program and reviews returns to check...

Read Post

IRS Voluntary Compliance Programs Are Successfully Collecting Money

(3) Comments | Posted November 15, 2016 | 8:57 AM

Near the end of October, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) announced it had collected more than $10 billion from 100,000 taxpayers. The money had rolled in thanks to the Offshore Voluntary Compliance Program (OVDP) and the Streamlined Filing Compliance Procedure which allows taxpayers with undeclared income...

Read Post

FBAR vs. FATCA: More paperwork May Be Involved To Satisfy The IRS

(1) Comments | Posted June 24, 2016 | 6:23 PM

U.S. citizens living outside of the country may have additional filing obligations thanks to the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act

For U.S. citizens and green card holders living outside of the United States, the deadline for filing their U.S. taxes or requesting an extension was June 15. But like most...

Read Post

So You Want To Move To Canada Eh?

(1) Comments | Posted May 30, 2016 | 3:18 PM

The current presidential race may have many Americans looking to immigrate to Canada but the IRS will follow them across the border

The U.S. presidential race is certainly interesting to watch from Canada. And as the primaries continue, it would appear that people in the U.S. are starting to explore...

Read Post

Federal Budget Ditches Boutique Tax Credits For Fairer Child Benefits

(0) Comments | Posted March 28, 2016 | 4:40 PM

The new federal government handed down their first budget last week and delivered on a number of promises in their election platform. It also represents a very different budget then the ones from the previous government.

The changes are designed to distribute benefits and programs more fairly based...

Read Post

Why A Tax Refund Is Bad For You

(1) Comments | Posted March 18, 2016 | 1:07 PM

Filing your tax return is getting easier but many Canadians still procrastinate even beyond the April 30 deadline (or May 2 this year because April 30 falls on a weekend). If you do not owe tax, there are usually few consequences for filing late in Canada with some...

Read Post

Tax Changes That Will Impact Your Return This Year

(0) Comments | Posted March 3, 2016 | 3:14 PM

From the Canadian Federal election to the collapse of oil prices to a jump in food prices, 2015 was a year of changes. And your tax return is no exception. But unlike previous years, there are only a few changes. However, even small changes can help you save a few...

Read Post

Last-Minute RRSP Contribution? Avoid These Common Mistakes

(0) Comments | Posted February 22, 2016 | 11:44 AM

The February 29 deadline is the last chance to impact your 2015 tax return.

The first major financial deadline of 2016 is February 29. This is the last day you can make a contribution to your Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP) and claim the contribution on your 2015...

Read Post

Not Just Anyone Can Speak To The IRS

(0) Comments | Posted February 17, 2016 | 9:56 AM

U.S. taxman only allows certain qualified preparers to contact them on behalf of clients

In Canada, you can easily contact the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) and get information whether you are a taxpayer or a designate for a taxpayer if you have the right paperwork and identification information.

Read Post

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

(8) Comments | Posted February 2, 2016 | 2:07 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 --...

Read Post

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

(9) Comments | Posted January 25, 2016 | 4:35 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...

Read Post

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

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

Read Post

Do You Really Need An RRSP?

(3) Comments | Posted January 11, 2016 | 2:55 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...

Read Post

IRS Crackdown On Tax Cheats Goes Into Overdrive

(6) Comments | Posted January 4, 2016 | 11:50 AM

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...

Read Post

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

(0) Comments | Posted December 9, 2015 | 4:27 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...

Read Post