France reveals hidden swimming pools with AI and taxes them

Using an artificial intelligence computer vision system developed by French IT company Capgemini, the French tax authorities (often referred to as “Le Fisc”) identified 20,356 residential swimming pools that had not previously been declared. According to The Guardian, this opened up €10 million in additional tax revenue, paving the way for the government to tax other undeclared architectural elements such as annexes or verandas.

To find undeclared pools, Capgemini’s software, with the help of Google’s cloud processing, automatically recognizes pools in aerial photographs (by looking for blue rectangles, for example) and compares the results to database records. real estate and tax. If he finds that a relevant address does not have a registered pool, the owner is in violation of the tax law. The program started last October on a limited basis, covering only nine of the 96 metropolitan departments. At first the system confused solar panels for swimming pools with a 30% error rate, but Le Fisc says it has since increased accuracy.

The French government taxes real estate based on its rental value, which increases when owners build additions or improvements such as swimming pools. For example, a 30 square meter swimming pool will incur approximately €200 in additional taxes per year. Private swimming pools have recently become more popular in France due to the recent heat wave, but they are also controversial due to their water consumption during a historic drought.

french newspaper The Parisian reports that the Undocumented Pools Discovery Project is somewhat controversial, but not for the reasons one might expect. Capgemini, a multinational IT company headquartered in Paris, has come under fire for using US tech giant Google as a subcontractor for cloud processing on the project. Google has a long history of tax disputes with the French government. Controversies aside, Le Fisc plans to roll out the program nationwide soon, which will result in additional tax revenue estimated at 40 million euros.

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