TW: TurboTax bashing
Before you get all bent out of shape over an anime dating sim that asks for your Social Security number for the purposes of helping you complete your federal tax return, know two things: Steam yeeted the game you’re about to see off the platform in a mere 24 hours and Tax Heaven 3000 is a project of Brooklyn art collective MSCHF not a legitimate tax prep alternative. Once you see this trailer you’re going to be saddened by those facts.
Anyone else really, really want this to be real?
Up until now, Tax Heaven 3000 creators MSCHF have been known for sneaker drops more than sketchy tax prep games (is anyone known for sketchy tax prep games?). A 2020 NYT profile explains:
MSCHF isn’t a sneaker company. It rarely even produces commercial goods, and its employees are reluctant to call it a company at all. They refer to MSCHF, which was founded in 2016, as a “brand,” “group” or “collective,” and their creations, which appear online every two weeks, as “drops.”
Many of those drops are viral pranks: an app that recommends stocks to buy based on one’s astrological sign (which some observers took seriously), a service that sends pictures of A.I.-generated feet over text, a browser extension that helps users get away with watching Netflix at work.
LOL @ NYT putting “drops” in quotations. Any sneakerheads in the audience might recognize the $1,018 Nike Air Max 97s injected with “blood” (it was supposedly mostly red ink and just a tiny bit of blood) that got MSCHF sued by Nike.
So yeah, those guys. Anyway.
You have to admit the Tax Heaven 3000 website beats any tax prep portal currently on the market. Bet if some of you guys had a portal like this you wouldn’t have to chase clients down as hard as you currently do.
The game’s itch.io page describes its noble purpose, taking a subtle dig at Intuit while it does:
Hi there! Iris here~
Tax Heaven 3000 is a visual novel dating game that actually prepares your 2022 federal income tax return!
It’s always been a dream of mine to meet that special someone…and file their tax return.
Join me and we’ll search for deductions while searching for love!
Be careful! We’re not alone. Most wealthy countries make tax filing free, if the burden of preparation is even passed along to individuals at all. But, corporate tax filing services are (by dint of extensive lobbying) predatory, parasitic bottlenecks that deliberately complicate the tax filing process in order to make it unnavigable by ordinary people.
And it works! The villainous corporation that controls the government from the shadows is a sadly mundane reality. It’s the most boring industry imaginable.
Videogames are, at the end of the day, pieces of software–ontologically akin to Microsoft Word. Tax Heaven 3000 simply makes the fiction the point. For some reason the game-to-real-life interface has tended to remain the purview of corporate metaverse fictions. Tax Heaven 3000 is a dongle that adapts from a visual novel to the IRS.
Come on, let’s get started! I can already tell I’m going to like you ♥
If you die in the game you die in real lifeif you prepare your taxes in the game, you prepare your taxes in real life.
Suitable for single filers without dependents. Tax Heaven 3000 assists a player in creating a self-prepared United States federal income tax return.
Tax Heaven 3000 is designed to prepare 2022 US federal income tax returns for single filers without dependents.
Tax Heaven 3000 does not support all tax situations, and may not check for all possible deductions and credits that could apply to your individual tax situation. Tax Heaven 3000 is intended for filers with simple W-2 income, does not support amended or late tax returns, and does not support state returns.
Tax Heaven 3000 is designed to assist in tax preparation only: it is the responsibility of the user to provide accurate information and to ultimately file their return once complete.
The itch.io page is mild compared to the lashing TurboTax gets on the game’s main page:
Corporate tax filing services like TurboTax are (by dint of extensive lobbying) predatory, parasitic bottlenecks that deliberately complicate the tax filing process in order to make it unnavigable by ordinary people. They feed us their poison so that we buy their medicine!
Most wealthy countries make tax filing free, if the burden of preparation is even passed along to individuals at all. TurboTax actively seeks to backdoor the regulatory structure that could otherwise seek to rein it in. And it works! The villainous corporation that controls the government from the shadows is a sadly mundane reality. It’s the most boring industry imaginable.
TurboTax, per its own internal documents, is built on the “Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt” that ordinary people have about their taxes. Against this, we pit free software instead built on parasocial desire for intimacy and benign horniness! If TurboTax is Dark UI, TH3K is Pink UI, the nightcore of tax software.
Anyone worried about handing their personal information over to a virtual girlfriend will be relieved to know that the game doesn’t connect to the internet. WHEW. Said MSCHF co-founder Daniel Greenberg to Kotaku: “Intelligent players may question whether they should give their social security number to an attractive anime girl in a video game! The Tax Heaven 3000 application does not connect to the internet. In some sense, it is probably safer than most big-box tax software. Iris doesn’t kiss and tell: she wants to know your personal information to prepare your tax return and nothing else.” Oh, well in that case…
Gameplay screenshots from the website:
MSCHF sneakily accused TurboTax of bribing Steam to remove the game, though we aren’t sure if the accusation was a serious one or not. Honestly we aren’t sure if any of this is serious or not.
It goes without saying we do not recommend anyone actually prepare federal tax returns using an anime dating sim.*
*Not tax advice