Artificial intelligence technology used to track unauthorized pools
Software developed by Google and the French consulting firm Capgemini has made it possible to unearth 20,000 undeclared pools in France.
Under French law, properties with swimming pools are subject to higher taxes, up to 30% according to the French newspaper The connection (opens in a new tab).
The technological discovery is expected to cost potential French tax evaders up to 10 million euros.
How does the software work?
The system, dubbed “Foncier innove”, sifted through aerial images to detect undeclared additions to properties, cross-referencing them with data held by French tax authorities.
The technology has already been tested in nine different French regions, including Alpes-Maritimes, Var, Bouches-du-Rhône, Ardèche, Rhône, Haute-Savoie, Vendée, Maine-et-Loire and Morbihan.
It’s easy to see why France is going all out to tax the owners of water-guzzling swimming pools, it’s experiencing one of its worst droughts ever.
The national meteorological service Météo-France reported that July 2022 was the country’s driest month in 60 years. (opens in a new tab)
There have been disastrous impacts on the wider economy, including milk shortages and a reduced maize harvest.
French authorities have announced their intention to extend the AI project to detect building extensions and outbuildings, which should allow local authorities to collect an additional 40 million euros in 2023.
Private pools are big business in France, the country has over three million private pools according to The Connexion, making it the second largest pool market outside the United States.
The pandemic work-from-home boom has benefited the private swimming pool industry in France, sales increased by 175,000 in 2020 according to Statistica.
However, not everyone is happy with this new AI use case.
France’s CGT Finances Publiques union has reportedly expressed concerns about possible staff cuts following the latest innovation, according to The connection.