French Tax Authorities Use AI To Find 20,000 Hidden Pools

Tax authorities in France are now using AI technology to uncover undeclared private pools. The owners of the undeclared swimming pools are to pay a total fine of over €10m. 

Google-Capgemini AI System Detects Undeclared Pools In France

The AI system created by Capgemini and Google can locate swimming pools using aerial images. Afterward, it would cross-check them with the country’s land registry database. This is to ascertain if they are registered. 

Meanwhile, the country launched the AI system in 2021 in nine departments. According to the tax agency, the software has detected over 20,356 swimming pools. 


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The agency revealed on August 29th that it would extend service to other areas of France. This would eventually lead to an increase in taxes in the country.

Furthermore, individuals and companies must declare property modifications to the tax agency. This also includes the addition of swimming pools. They must report such developments to the tax authority within ninety days of completion. 

It is worthy to say that such improvements mean extra taxes. An average pool of 30 square meters would incur an additional tax of roughly €200 per year.

Furthermore, the tax authority wants to use the AI system to locate undeclared extensions, verandas, and annexes. However, Antoine Magnant, deputy director general in charge of public finance, said:

“We want to be sure the AI software can identify buildings with large footprints and not dog houses or children’s playhouses.”

The Issue Of Water Scarcity In France 

The tech team for the tax department claims they can’t tell what a rectangular form is on an aerial photograph. It could either be a tent, tarpaulin, or a terrace. 

In April, reports alleged that the software developed by Capgemini and Google was faulty. There were claims that it had a marginal error of 30%.

The AI system wrongly classified solar panels as swimming pools. Also, it could not detect taxable extensions that are hidden by trees or shadows of properties. However, the developers noted that they are working to correct the error.

According to the public finance body DGFiP, the AI initiative will now be extended nationally and might result in an additional €40 million in private swimming pool taxes by 2023.

The crackdown follows the recent outcry from French environmentalists. They called for the ban on private swimming pools. This was after the heat waves in the summer caused drought and water constraints.

Meanwhile, an EELV executive, Mélanie Vogel, said the agency does not want to ban pools. However, it is taking this step due to climate change. 

According to Vogel, the issue of climate change has threatened the availability of drinking water. Hence, the agency has to restrict water usage for swimming pools.


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