Doing taxes is one of the least enjoyable activities you’ll ever experience in your life, right up there with visiting the DMV. No one likes taxes, but one new Steam game aims to change that.
How, you ask? Well, by letting you date a cute anime girl that does your taxes for you. Tax Heaven 3000 is billed as a “visual novel dating simulator game that actually prepares your 2022 federal income tax return.” That means you’d need to provide a Social Security Number, income details, address, and all the typical information.
That might be the reason the game was unceremoniously pulled from the Steam Store without warning, roughly half a day after its page went live. While it might sound like a joke, Tax Heaven 3000 is a weird little project that comes from a New York-based art collective called MSCHF, best known for its work behind Lil Nas X’s “Satan Shoes,” the Giant Fruit Loop, and the Astro Boy-inspired Big Red Boot that took the internet by storm.
MSCHF co-founder Daniel Greenberg tells Inverse that Tax Heaven 3000 went through Steam’s standard verification process and was ready to go live on April 4.
“Out of nowhere it was de-verified and removed from the platform without explanation earlier today. That’s all we know,” Greenberg says. “The release will continue as planned on April 4 (either on Itch.io or as a direct download).”
Inverse has reached out to Valve (the company that operates Steam) for comment but hasn’t received a response. Greenberg and MSCHF did not respond to requests for additional information about Tax Heaven 3000.
This, of course, is not the first time a game has been pulled from Steam in this fashion. In the past year, dozen of titles were removed over reports of “scams.” In 2017, Valve pulled 173 “clone” games that were all published by the same person due to the entire thing being a scam that used re-used assets. Other reasons games have been pulled include reports of pornography, loss of music rights, fake reviews, and more.
This obviously creates a bit of worry with Tax Heaven 3000, considering the kind of sensitive financial information needed to do one’s taxes is the stuff identity theft nightmares are made of. However, Greenberg has a counter to those concerns.
“The Tax Heaven 3000 application does not connect to the internet,” he says. “In some sense, it is probably safer than most big box tax software.”
In traditional dating simulator fashion, Tax Heaven 3000 sees you meet a girl named Iris and go on a series of dates where you get to know each other. (It just so happens that “getting to know each other” includes giving her your SSN.) The game is suitable for single filers without dependents and checks your eligibility for things like the Earned Income Tax Credit and American Opportunity Credit. There are even multiple endings.
While it’s unclear if the game will get re-listed on Steam at any point, its page is currently live on the indie dev marketplace Itch.io. If you’re so inclined, there’s also a $90 physical Collector’s Edition that includes a box done in the style of Tax Prep software, an instruction manual, an installation disk and case, an IRS mailing envelope, and an Iris body pillow.
MSCHF isn’t shy about the social commentary behind Tax Heaven 3000, as evidenced by this manifesto on the game’s website:
“Most wealthy countries make tax filing free, if the burden of preparation is even passed along to individuals at all. 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!”
This isn’t MSCHF’s first video game, either. In 2021, the company released Chair Simulator, which is currently free on Steam. It’s a rather tongue-in-cheek experience described as follows:
“Buy chairs. Sit down. Accumulate Sit Points through the all-new Sit Point System. Spend your Sit Points on new chairs! The possibilities are endless. But be careful: sitting still for too long can get uncomfortable fast, and this leads to numbness, hemorrhoids, muscle atrophy, and ultimately permadeath. Chair Simulator is the Dark Souls of sitting simulators.”
For now, anyway, Tax Heaven 3000 is set to launch on April 4, just ahead of the April 18 deadline to file your taxes.