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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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FATCA Court Challenge Fails to Make a Dent

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 the last half of September. Lawyers for the Canadians argued that the agreement was an unlawful use of the tax treaty and a violation of the Charter of Rights and Freedom and was unconstitutional but a Federal Court judge disagreed.
10/01/2015 12:27 EDT
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Court Fight to Stop FATCA Impacts Every Canadian

Under the FATCA rules, financial institutions are obligated to provide the IRS with information about accounts and holdings of U.S. citizens. Basically, the IRS is trying to make sure you are not hiding money overseas though Canada is hardly a tax haven. But there is more to this overreaching legislation that just tracking down deadbeat U.S. citizens.
09/15/2015 08:32 EDT

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

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 driven the Canadian dollar down. It may be time to regroup and look at some strategies to make the weakening dollar work for you.
09/01/2015 12:26 EDT

Five Steps Towards a Golden Retirement

The good news is, a properly planned retirement is possible. But it can't be achieved passively. Now is the time to be aggressive about taking responsibility for your retirement plan and take the action necessary to put it in motion. These five steps are a place to start.
04/07/2014 05:22 EDT

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

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 provisions that can make it a little easier. However, there are also some pitfalls that require attention to navigational detail to avoid.
03/31/2014 05:38 EDT

Cashing Out RRSPs Early Can Leave You With a Hefty Bill

RRSPs were designed to be long-term savings plans, but a recent study by Leger for H&R Block Canada showed 31 per cent of Canadians had withdrawn money from their RRSP or are considering it this year. If you find yourself cash-strapped now, it is certainly tempting to access that money, but there are some cautions to consider.
03/24/2014 05:26 EDT
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Handy Tax Tips for First-Time Filers

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. But since it can't legally be avoided, being prepared for the experience and understanding what you're getting into can make your first time with the Canada Revenue Agency less intimidating.
03/17/2014 12:19 EDT

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

The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) shuttered its local inquiry and payment desks last October. The agency has abandoned the practice of mailing hard-copy tax return packages except by specific request. The Telefile system, which allowed Canadians with simple returns to enter their data over the telephone, no longer exists. In case you haven't gotten the hint, the CRA wants to deal with you online.
03/04/2014 08:47 EST
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Tax Returns: Giving the Tax Man the Slip

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 bank account. Free and clear until next year, right? Not quite. In fact, the tax return process has just begun at this point. It's not over until the CRA has finished its slip-matching program during the next few months.
02/24/2014 05:14 EST

Why a Spousal RRSP Is Worth it

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. So why is a spousal RRSP still an option?
02/20/2014 12:21 EST
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Don't Miss Out on Family Tax Credits This Year

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. The individual tax credits may not seem significant, but they can add up to a few more dollars in your pocket. And when you are raising kids, every little bit helps.
02/05/2014 12:56 EST

RRSPs: Still Saving After All These Years

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 RRSP 57 years old. The plan is obviously beneficial for many.
01/20/2014 05:06 EST