MSCHF, a Brooklyn-based art collective, takes on the "villainous" TurboTax and launches a free tax filing software that is also your girlfriend.
Meet Iris, a charming girl-about-town who's passionate about taxes – and maybe even you. She's the star of MSCHF's latest project, Tax Haven 3000, a tax-filing software that is also a dating game.
Iris will be your romantic interest in the game – someone called a 'waifu' in the anime community. And she will also guide you through the federal tax filing process in the form of a game.
As you go on dates with Iris, she'll ask you questions such as "I want to know something about you that's really personal... Like, what's your Social Security Number?" and you will flirt your way into filling in all the practical information needed to file federal income tax returns.
Iris has a nemesis – an "unsavory SaaS [software-as-a-service] bro" named Turbo, who is described as someone who likes corporate lobbying, confusing forms, dark user experience, and fleece vests. It is an unveiled dig at TurboTax, a tax software by Intuit.
"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 project's website claims.
It says it wants to pit Tax Haven 3000, built on "parasocial desire for intimacy and benign horniness," against "villainous" corporate tax filing services like TurboTax, which it suggests deliberately complicates the tax filing process to make money out of it.
Still, the assistance Tax Haven 3000 can offer is limited to federal income tax returns for 2022 and is designed for single filers without dependents. It deducts simple W-2 income but does not do state taxes or support amended or late tax returns.
The disclaimer on its website also states the software will check your eligibility for Earned Income Tax Credit and American Opportunity Credit but may not take into account all possible deductions that could apply to individual tax situations.
While the game was released on itch.io, it has been removed from Steam without an explanation. Its limited scope and release so close to the tax returns deadline later in April has led some users to question its usefulness.
MSCHF does not shy away from controversy and social criticism. Previously, the art collective released Dead Startup Toys, the toy versions of "iconic failed startups" such as Theranos.
Its other works include a collaboration with musician Lil Nas X on Satan Shoes to poke fun at brand-celebrity partnerships. Nike sued the art collective for using its famous Swoosh logo in the design of the shoes. The case was eventually settled.
The art collective is also behind the cartoonish Big Red Boots that went viral and were sold out on the day of their release in February.
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