Google-powered AI helps French officials tax more than 20,000 undeclared pools
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An unusual experiment allowed French tax officials to uncover thousands of undeclared pools using artificial intelligence.
More than 20,000 hidden pools generated almost €10m (£8.5m) in new revenue, according to the BBC. Under French law, adding a swimming pool to a home results in higher property tax because it can increase its overall value.
In October 2021, a test experiment analyzed nine regions of France through aerial perspectives using software created by Google and the French company Capgemini. Following its recent success, French authorities now say they plan to roll out this new software across the country.
“We are particularly targeting house extensions such as terraces,” Antoine Magnant, the deputy general director of public finance, told a French media outlet. “But we need to make sure that the software can find buildings with a large footprint and not the kennel or the children’s playhouse.”
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French newspaper Le Parisien estimates that an average pool measuring 322 square feet is taxed at €200 per year. In addition, there were an estimated 3.2 million private swimming pools in the European state in 2020, with an increase in installations during the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The crackdown on undeclared pools comes as France grapples with one of its worst droughts on record that has made drinking water unavailable in many areas of the country. The BBC notes that last month France had one of its driest months since 1961 with just 0.38 inches of rain.
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Tax officials believe they can use AI software to discover other extensions of the home to increase tax revenue, such as gazebos and pantos.
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