No matter which part of the world you’re in, taxes are a hassle. If you’re in the US though, there might be one simple way to get you through this tedious process: you could get your anime waifu to do it.
Tax Heaven 3000, headed by the art collective MSCHF is a totally real, working game that enlists a dating sim named Iris to help you prepare your federal income taxes. MSCHF is the mastermind behind drops like the big red Astroboy boots at NYFW and Lil Nas X’s Satan shoes. Iris, aka, Internal Revenue Service is a “cheerful and assertive” sim who will guide you through your taxes, by going on dates with you. Suitable for singles without dependents, Tax Heaven 3000 plays like a standard dating sim, only instead of awkward conversations about who pays the bill, you give her your social security number.
This might seem like an absurd attempt at going internet viral, but there’s a lot more at play here than we may realise. MSCHF, the art collective behind this, is famous for creating viral products that offer provocative commentary on late-stage capitalism, fandom and hype-driven consumer culture. Their latest target with this waifu simulator is predatory tax-filing services like TurboTax and H&RBlock. These companies are notorious for exploiting confused taxpayers trying to navigate through an already complex taxation system. And it gets even worse when there are delays and backlogs, making it especially hard to reach the Internal Revenue Service for assistance.
If you made less than $73,000, it is free to file your taxes in the US. Companies like TurboTax have spent millions lobbying against “return-free filing” legislation that would have allowed the IRS to greatly simplify taxes for over 60 million people by offering pre-populated returns. They have spent years using deceptive tactics to make taxpayers spend money on their services. Tax Heaven 3000, in contrast, has a game-to-real-life interface that is intentionally transparent and easy to use for even the smoothest of brains, so there’s less chance of losing out on money.
A few days ago, Steam kicked off the game from its storefront, but it’s still available on the game’s dedicated website. You can download Tax Heaven 3000 on Itch.io for free or, if you’re into that, there’s a $90 physical collector’s edition, which comes with a software box, disk and even an Iris body pillow.
If you’re not in the US or don’t have to worry about taxes just yet, the game’s official website still has a lot to offer. You can meet the characters of the game, there’s Iris, of course, a delightful girl-about-town who knows a little too much about income taxes and likes stationery and caffeinated drinks. There’s also a villain, Turbo (wonder who he’s named after), an unsavoury SaaS bro, who likes corporate lobbying and fleece vests. Clicking on the X-rated patch button – for research purposes, of course – takes you to Wattpad, the free website that lets you read and publish stories. The manifesto section of the website is largely a rant against the infuriatingly complex tax filing process in the US.
Overall, Iris is cool. She’s aggressively anti-cryptocurrency and likes tortoises, which doesn’t help you at all, but it doesn’t hurt to know. We wouldn’t endorse giving away your social security number to an online simulator, you are better off hiring an accountant for safety reasons. Still, MSCHF certainly has done its part in bringing attention to this infuriatingly overlooked aspect of being a US citizen. Who knew filing taxes could be sexy?