Playing and Learning

Remember Math Blasters? I’m trying to think of a way to incorporate learning tax rules into a game. In Math Blasters, there’s only one right answer. The input can be processed quicker, and output can be entered even quicker. What sort of questions would a game focused on tax look like?

John is 38. His AGI is $43,000. He puts $5,000 into this IRA in 2012. How much will his credit be?

Jane is 19. Her AGI is $4,000. She paid $600 in tuition expenses. Her mother is claiming her. What sort of education credits are available to her?

Or maybe you have a chart of information (age, AGI, itemized deductions, etc) in which you had to click the appropriate fields relevant to the question.

Jim wants to know if he can deduct his unreimbursed employee expenses. What information do you need to answer his question?

Age AGI StandardDeduction IRA Contributions Dependents FilingStatus

But these are just the questions. The game needs gameplay.

CPA. A time management game, in which you have to get as many people through as possible? Penalties for wrong answers, bonuses for uninterrupted correct filings. If you take too long, you have to stay overtime and your wife leaves you, or the client gets fed up and walks out.

Client. Scam the IRS as much as you possibly can, without going overboard. Avoid the obvious errors. Conjure up “receipts” for everything.

Client. It’s February 1st, and the days are winding down. The CPA is rapid-fire asking for random pieces of info. Scrounge through the desk? Go online? Ask the broker? Whoo! Made it just in time. And then uh-oh. Random audit!

IRS Agent. You must base your questions off of what the taxpayer filed. You can only ask for so many things before your boss wants it done. What looks fishy? What will be impossible to prove? Will anything take up too much of your time?

Eh. These all sound stupid.