Taxpayers got a reminder of how helpful a professional preparer can be this week when the commissioner of the IRS, Douglas Shulman, acknowledged in a televised interview that he uses one himself at filing time.

A report from the Capitol Hill newspaper The Hill cites Shulman's recent comments during a recent appearance on C-SPAN's "Newsmakers." On the program, Shulman reportedly said that he used a professional preparer "for years" because he "finds it convenient," while also noting that he finds the tax code to be "complex."

Shulman also noted that he and President Barack Obama have expressed support for simplifying the tax code, but pointed out that this is ultimately the responsibility of Congress. The report quoted the commissioner as saying that about 60 percent of Americans currently use tax preparers.

Those who do set out to handle their own yearly tax filings may find that they are more prone to errors that can cost them money, such as missing out on a wide variety of different deductions.

"Life changes like buying a home, and getting married or divorced can have tax consequences. It’s important to plan ahead for changing tax situations, and hiring a tax professional can be the answer,” said John Hewitt, CEO of Liberty Tax Service. “All of our Liberty Tax offices provide free advice, and free checking of self-prepared returns. Our tax professionals are available year-round, so there’s always help after the tax season ends."

Taxpayers may especially benefit from tax preparers this year in light of the federal stimulus bill, which offered enhanced tax benefits for a variety of things, such as home energy efficiency investments.

Every effort has been taken to provide the most accurate and honest analysis of the tax information provided in this blog. Please use your discretion before making any decisions based on the information provided. This blog is not intended to be a substitute for seeking professional tax advice based on your individual needs.