Tax season is about to begin

Intuit, the maker of TurboTax, has a bunch of free online what-if tools to help folks start their annual tax season.

The tools, at turbotax.intuit.com/tax-tools, will tell you about how much you will pay the federal government, or how much of a refund you’ll get. One tool tells you how much your penalty will be if you don’t get health insurance, among other bad news items. There’s a free TurboTax online version that Intuit offers for folks whose taxes are simply the difference between money earned and the taxes already paid through withholding. Another tool tells you which version of paid TurboTax (ranging in price from $35 to $150) will serve your needs.

Most tax filers will use the Deluxe version for $35. The latest version, TurboTax for the 2015 tax year, has a breezy feel to it, almost as if Mr. Rogers were doing the interviewing. Entire tax returns don’t have to be done in one sitting. Each time you sign out of the online version, the return is saved to the cloud. That means you can access and work on your return from any device capable of connecting to the Internet.

Intuit makes tax experts available at no cost in the event that you need help preparing your taxes. As an added touch, you’ll be able to see the expert on your monitor, but he or she won’t be able to see you. Free basic help on running the program is available, too.





Facebook unit sets prices on virtual reality package

Facebook’s Oculus is finally offering clarity on how much of a premium a virtual reality experience will cost.

After months of teasing the introduction of its Oculus Rift virtual reality goggles, the company said on Wednesday that it had opened orders for the system, which includes a headset and controller devices, with a price of $599. (That’s without a computer included — you’ll need a fast one that will probably cost around $1,000.) The device begins shipping in March.

Oculus also said that in February, it would open orders for a bundle, which includes the Rift headgear system and a computer that is certified to work with Oculus, for $1,500.