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Every State Tax Department Needs a Mouse Puppet

By: Alicia Hansen

Virginia policymakers seem to think that Virginians need a bit of encouragement to file their income taxA tax is a mandatory payment or charge collected by local, state, and national governments from individuals or businesses to cover the costs of general government services, goods, and activities. es online, and that encouragement has finally arrived—in the form of a stuffed, animated mouse wearing a cape and starring in his very own YouTube video. (No, we’re not making this up.)

From CBS News:

Talk about cheesy. Virginia’s Tax Department debuted a video on YouTube on Friday intended to promote online filing of state income taxes.

The video opens like a trailer for a film featuring a superhero. Enter Phil Mousepower, a blue-caped and masked hand puppet—the arm controlling it clearly visible.

Onscreen, an excited Phil cavorts around a wedge of cheddar.

The sponsor and intent of the video becomes clear at the end of the 47-second video when the words “Use Mouse Power, File Online” and the Tax Department’s Web address appear onscreen.

Here’s an excerpt from the text that accompanies the video:

Phil Mousepower makes his little-screen debut with this, his phirst YouTube video. After screening dozens of actors, Phil won the coveted spot of the Virginia Department of Taxation’s spokesmodel.

. . .

“The role of hero has actually come pretty naturally to me”, Phil told us in a recent interview, “though the swordplay took some getting used to. Opposable thumbs would really help.”

Watch the video here, and if you’re a Virginia taxpayer, try not to think too hard about the fact that your hard-earned tax dollars were used to create a YouTube video of a superhero mouse puppet.