In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “The Fun Platform.”
I’d turn doing taxes into a video game, Tax Quest. As soon as a player enters his/her income from the W2, they are sent to a “world” that corresponds to their financial status and location IRL. Over $100k, they get a McMansion in their world in a gated neighborhood. If they make at the poverty level, they get a 1980’s mobile home. If their income comes from pensions and social security, they get a small condo. All of the “places” correspond to the landscape of the actual city or state where they live. In other words, if they live in San Diego they can live everywhere from La Jolla to Boulevard. In Colorado they will have a mountain backdrop; in New England they’ll have autumn leaves and covered bridges, snow etc. In Tax quest they are confronted with choices (blanks that eventually get filled in on their form), such as “Deductions” — mortgage, donations to charity, medical, prescriptions, home office, etc.
When they miss an important question, they are sent back until they get it right. Points are subtracted from their score whenever this happens. Every time their refund is enhanced, they get points and “health.” Every time their refund is diminished, they lose health. If they end up having to pay more than $1000 they’re hauled to the hospital on a stretcher where they’re told, “Adjust your withholding so next year this doesn’t happen.”
If it turns out they’re defrauding the government, they’re hauled to jail where they’re penned up with the Mafia guys from Goodfellas.
Unlike most video games, there’s no way to win Tax Quest or buy “health” or points, but if the player is lucky, he or she breaks even.