Steam Visual Novel Claiming To Prep Your Tax Return Has Been Removed
A new visual novel on Steam claims to prepare your US tax return--though you may want to think twice before putting your info in.
The current indie game market is more competitive than ever, and every game need a unique hook to stand out. One visual novel has taken that a bit far, however, as it claims that it will prepare your 2022 US tax return for you. [Update: The game is no longer listed on Steam, having been removed later in the day on March 22, after word of it began to do the rounds. We've reached out to Valve for comment.]
Tax Heaven 3000 is a dating visual novel with the expected anime aesthetic. MSCHF Product Studios, the developer behind the game--note that's the word "mischief" with all the vowels removed--describes it as an experience where you "romance Iris, a cheerful and easygoing girl who is oddly interested in your personal finances." The gameplay video on the top of the Steam page features Iris asking the player something "really personal"--their Social Security number.
The game's About section even includes a screed against tax filing software: "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 there's nothing more romantic than that.
While we hope this goes without saying, we definitely do not recommend putting any sensitive personal information into this random Steam game, especially not your SSN. Since Tax Heaven 3000 doesn't release until March 31, we can't verify that it actually does your taxes in any sense. And given that MSCHF Product Studios' other game is Chair Simulator, which appears to be a well-received joke game, it's likely that this whole thing is an elaborate prank.
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