France uses artificial intelligence to detect undeclared swimming pools
People in France do not declare their swimming pool in order to avoid paying more staggering taxes on their property.
The French government has found an unusual way to track down owners who do not declare their swimming pool for housing taxes: using artificial intelligence (AI).
Consulting firm Capgemini collaborated with Google to analyze public aerial images from the National Institute of Geographic and Forest Information.
The AI relies on machine learning – which combines mathematics and statistics – to analyze these photos of properties of French territory and identify swimming pools. This data is then coupled with that of the national tax and real estate registers.
In France, housing taxes are calculated according to the rental value of a property. Not declaring a pool lowers this value and saves owners potentially paying hundreds of additional dollars in taxes.
For the moment, only 9 of the 96 metropolitan departments of France have been analyzed, allowing the State to detect 20,356 undeclared swimming pools, and to collect since October 2021 some 10 million euros ( 13.1 million Canadian dollars) in additional taxes.
In its first reports on AI, the French government estimated an error rate of 30%. The software confused solar panels with swimming pools, in particular. These problems have been resolved, according to what the tax authorities say.
The tax authorities plan to extend the use of their swimming pool detector to the whole of French territory, except overseas regions. The administration thus hopes to recover 40 million euros (52.3 million Canadian dollars) in additional taxes.
The tax authorities also have plans to seek other types of tax. installation, such as extensions and annexes, for example.