Tax Season Tribune

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Two things are for certain: love and taxes

By Kathryn Zdan, EA

Editorial Director

A new anime dating simulation will also help you complete your taxes.1 That is, if you’re comfortable giving your Social Security number to the pink-haired, dew-eyed main character, Iris.

Tax Heaven 3000 was developed by MSCHF (pronounced “mischief”), an art collective based in Brooklyn that has produced artworks ranging from physical products like sneakers and popsicles to browser plug-ins, social media channels, and now tax software that you can also date.

Here is their description of the dating/filing software:

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.

Boring?!? That’s it, we’re breaking up.

TGIF Mozzarella sticks bag

Peep potpourri

By Kathryn Zdan, EA

Editorial Director

In keeping with the rich tradition of Peeps reporting at the Tax Season Tribune, here are some updates on everyone’s favorite seasonal sugar-coated marshmallow.


After exploding onto the 2021 test market like Mentos in a Diet Coke, Pepsi has again teamed up with Peeps to create a marshmallow flavored soda that now will be sold everywhere.1 Described as “pillowy-soft marshmallow soda,” it’s available in mini cans and 20-oz bottles. Hopefully the addition of marshmallow flavoring will make Pepsi taste less like the can and more like candy.

Annual diorama contest

You still have time to enter the 2023 Pioneer Press Peeps Diorama Contest.2 To enter, make a diorama of any size featuring marshmallow Peeps. The theme is open to anything from current affairs to historical events, daily life, celebrities, religion, art or sports, movies or books.

Submit a photo of your diorama before 5 p.m. EST on Friday, March 31 at:

You can peep previous years’ winners at:

Father of Peeps

In January 2023, Ira “Bob” Born, a.k.a., the “Father of Peeps” passed away at 98. Bob’s father Sam started the Just Born company in the early 1920s just before Bob was born. Bob took over the company in 1959 and during his tenure he designed a machine that could pump out Peeps at a faster rate; the current machines are still based on that design and produce 5.5 million Peeps per day. He also invented the Hot Tamale candy.

International tax shenanigans

In 2022, McDonald’s France agreed to pay a total of €1.25 billion in fines, penalties, and back taxes to settle a tax evasion case after years of negotiations.1 McDonalds France was accused of hiding French profits in lower-tax Luxembourg from 2009 through 2020, and reporting lower profits in France. An investigation was started in 2016 after union officials reported the company for tax evasion. The settlement is made up of a €508 million fine and €737 million in back taxes and is the second-biggest tax settlement in French history. (The largest was the €2.1 billion fine paid by aircraft builder Airbus in 2020.)

Last year, the U.S. returned $1.2 million in forfeited funds to the government of Romania, stemming from a tax fraud scheme involving diesel fuel.2 A Romanian couple avoided Romanian taxes on imported diesel fuel by claiming the fuel was a lower grade of industrial and maritime fuel. The untaxed income from the sale of the higher value diesel was laundered through a number of bank accounts and shell companies controlled by the couple, and resulted in an overall $58.677 million tax loss to Romania. Before they could be arrested, the couple fled to Washington state, but eventually were extradited, leaving behind a large piece of property and assets that were sold.

A U.S. Consulate officer in Vietnam was charged with conspiracy after participating in a scheme where nonimmigrant visa applicants paid him to approve their visas, netting him over $3 million.3 He initially kept his payments in a home safe, but as the stash grew, he purchased nine properties in Thailand to attempt to hide the proceeds of the scam. On his tax return for the year at issue, he reported his income from the Consulate Office, but did not report the bribery income. As part of his plea agreement, he agreed to sell the Thailand properties to help pay off the money judgement against him. The properties were sold at a loss, which the taxpayer deducted from his bribery proceeds. But the Tax Court determined that loss deductions are disallowed where the deduction would frustrate federal or state policy. Allowing a deduction for losses arising from the properties obtained through illegal activities would undermine public policy because a portion of the forfeiture would be borne by the Government.

A few fun facts about this week’s writer:

Kathryn Zdan, EA

Kathryn Zdan, EA, spends her non-Spidell hours on photography and watching horror films (and then sleeping with the light on). She also enjoys hiking, biking, and watching foreign films.

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