The tax authorities are hunting swimming pools and soon verandas and garden sheds thanks to artificial intelligence

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In recent years, the General Directorate of Public Finances has found a new enemy: the swimming pools not declared. But how to flush them out without going door-to-door or sticking nose on Google Maps ? In Bercy, this mission was entrusted to Google for the technical part with an Artificial Intelligence responsible for identifying the swimming pools on the aerial photos of the National Institute for Geographic and Forest Information (IGN).

In concrete terms, the geolocation tool coupled with specially developed algorithms makes it possible to detect swimming poolsand it is then a matter of checking for each individual whether it has been declared to the cadastre. Last year, this experiment was carried out in the south-east (Alpes-Maritimes, Var, Bouches-du-Rhône, Ardèche…), Haute-Savoie and part of the Grand-Ouest (Morbihan, Maine- et-Loire and Vendée). In total, out of nine departments, the AI ​​has identified 20,000 undeclared swimming pools for an overall recovery of 10 million euros.

There are nearly three million swimming pools in France.  © Google Maps, Futura

A high error rate

On the strength of this success, Bercy decided to extend this system to the whole of France, and according to theAFP, this generalization will go through an optimization to flush out other undeclared constructions. After the swimming pools, there are the verandas, garden sheds or even the tennis courts which will be in the sights.

The stakes are high for the Ministry of Economy and Finance since all this has a cost: 24 million euros over three years! Baptized ” Innovative Land Project “, this system should only be profitable in 2023 with 40 million euros in expected revenue. But watch out for errors since BFM-TV revealed in April that 30% of swimming pools detected in the Bouches-du-Rhône did not fall within the scope of this procedure. Worse, in another department, the error rate climbed to 80% on isolated buildings.

To know more

The taxman will use Google to flush out undeclared swimming pools

The tax authorities are currently experimenting with an “Innovative Land” program which uses Google services to automatically detect cadastral errors. The goal ? Identify undeclared swimming pools and extensions.

published by Edward Back on 08/13/2021

Google, the new champion in the fight against tax evasion? This is the information just revealed by the Chained Duck. The General Directorate of Public Finances (DGFiP) called on the Web giant, as well as the company Capgemini, for its “Innovative Land” program which aims to detect all undeclared items on the cadastre. If a swimming pool is visible on Google Mapsit will eventually be spotted by the tax authorities…

The software in question uses artificial intelligence from Google to analyze satellite images provided by the National Institute of Geographic and Forest Information. They are compared to the cadastre in order to identify any differences between the two. This includes swimming pools, as well as extensions and any other undeclared modification of the building. At each irregularity, the plot will be reported to surveyors who will then be able to zoom in on the images, which have a resolution of 20 centimeters, in order to confirm or not the presence of a swimming pool or an undeclared extension.

A system still in the experimental phase

This is not the first operation of this kind, since Google Maps enabled the city of Marmande in 2017 to discover that a third of swimming pools of the commune was not declared. Another experiment carried out in 2019 discovered 3,000 swimming pools not declared in the Alpes-Maritimes.

The system is currently in the experimental phase in a few departments, including Bouches-du-Rhône and Vendée, before a probable launch at national level. Those who have failed to declare their swimming pool risk seeing their local taxes increase by 500 euros a year. With nearly 3 million swimming pools currently listed in France, the “Innovative Land” program could pay off big.

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