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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. <br> <br> 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. <br> <br> 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. <br> <br> 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.
Tell The Taxman If You Are Leaving The

Tell The Taxman If You Are Leaving The Country

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 your move to a new place, you do need to make sure you notify everyone that you are leaving. This should include the taxman.
03/27/2017 04:12 EDT
When Does It Make Sense To Do Your Own

When Does It Make Sense To Do Your Own Taxes?

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 program.
03/20/2017 05:45 EDT
Everything That's Different About Your Tax Return This

Everything That's Different About Your Tax Return This Year

Every year there are changes to your tax return, and the 2016 tax period is no different. Several credits have either been removed or are being phased out as a result of last year's federal budget, and there are new credits available.
02/16/2017 01:25 EST
When Did Canada Become A Tax

When Did Canada Become A Tax Haven?

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 good venue for hiding wealth.
02/02/2017 09:22 EST
How Tax Changes Will Affect U.S. Citizens Living In

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

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 are a few changes that could have an impact when they send their paperwork to the IRS.
01/19/2017 05:26 EST
Proving Yourself To The

Proving Yourself To The Taxman

No one wants to receive a brown envelope from the Canada Revenue Agency but if you file a tax return, you can expect to get some correspondence from the taxman.
12/01/2016 07:49 EST
IRS Voluntary Compliance Programs Are Successfully Collecting

IRS Voluntary Compliance Programs Are Successfully Collecting Money

Unlike the Canadian tax system, the U.S. system is based on both citizenship and residency. It means that even if they leave the country to live elsewhere, U.S. citizens may have tax filing obligations with the IRS. In many cases, U.S. citizens didn't realize they needed to file tax returns after they left the country.
11/15/2016 09:57 EST
FBAR vs. FATCA: More paperwork May Be Involved To Satisfy The

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

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 things related to U.S. taxes, it is not that simple. There are additional filing requirements related to foreign assets and financial accounts that also need to be considered.
06/24/2016 06:23 EDT
So You Want To Move To Canada

So You Want To Move To Canada Eh?

If the possibility of Trump or Clinton becoming president may make you think about leaving the country, there are some things to consider beyond just immigration rules if you want to come to Canada.
05/30/2016 03:18 EDT
Why A Tax Refund Is Bad For

Why A Tax Refund Is Bad For You

For people expecting a refund, it may seem like a bonus payout from the government and feels great for a few moments until you realize it is money you overpaid the government in 2015. You are getting it back several months later with no interest. Once you understand this, tax refunds may not seem like a good idea after all.
03/18/2016 01:07 EDT
Tax Changes That Will Impact Your Return This

Tax Changes That Will Impact Your Return This Year

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 tax dollars.
03/03/2016 11:14 EST
Last-Minute RRSP Contribution? Avoid These Common

Last-Minute RRSP Contribution? Avoid These Common Mistakes

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 tax return. You still have the first 60 days to make contributions but with the leap year, the deadline is midnight at the end of the month.
02/22/2016 12:44 EST
Not Just Anyone Can Speak To The

Not Just Anyone Can Speak To The IRS

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has rules for tax preparers and which ones can contact them on behalf of a client. It means if you want your tax preparer to handle anything with the IRS on your behalf, they need to have specific qualifications.
02/17/2016 10:56 EST
Giving Up Your U.S. Citizenship Is Not A Simple

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

There are thousands of Accidental Americans in Canada who hold U.S. citizenship that they don't necessarily want or even know they have. Renouncing your U.S. citizenship does not negate your obligations to the IRS but you can expatriate without being tax compliant.
02/02/2016 03:07 EST
Ted Cruz Is Not The Only One With U.S. Citizenship

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

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 purposes is not as simple as it seems. You can be born in another country, never set foot in the U.S. and still be considered a U.S. citizen.
01/25/2016 05:33 EST
Tax-Free In Canada Doesn't Mean Uncle Sam

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

If you are a U.S. citizen living in Canada or you are a Canadian with U.S. tax filing obligations, make sure you understand how your TFSA and RESP will be impacted. You may want to look at different investments to help minimize your U.S. tax reporting requirements.
01/19/2016 02:03 EST
Do You Really Need An

Do You Really Need An RRSP?

The younger generation does not have the same kind of job security and employers are hiring more people on contract. Some people will choose to start their own businesses instead of being employees. Workplace pension plans are almost extinct. Now it would seem that saving for your retirement is up to you.
01/11/2016 10:09 EST
IRS Crackdown On Tax Cheats Goes Into

IRS Crackdown On Tax Cheats Goes Into Overdrive

If you need to file U.S. taxes, the time to ignore your filing obligations seems to be rapidly coming to an end. After much debate and a court case to try and stop it, the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) came into effect in 2015 and the first information share between the Canada Revenue Agency and the IRS happened in September.
01/04/2016 12:49 EST
Parents May Be Facing A Tax Bill Thanks To Extra Child Care

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

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 would follow suit. And now we have our answers.
12/09/2015 05:26 EST