Artificial intelligence software paired with the latest satellite imagery has opened new frontiers for the French government to find thousands of undeclared residential pools that can be taxed, reported The Guardian.
Developed by Google and Capgemini, the AI software uses aerial images to identify residential pools and cross-checks land registry databases in real-time to see if the pools were registered with the government. If pools weren’t registered, the AI tool flags the property for further investigation by tax authorities.
So far, the AI tool has uncovered 20,356 undeclared pools.
The tax office expects to collect at least 10 million euros in taxes from the homeowners who failed to declare the pools with the government. This means about a +200 euro tax per property.
The software is in limited use and is now only being rolled out nationally, which could generate even more taxes for the government.
Antoine Magnant, the deputy director general of public finances, told Le Parisien newspaper that the AI tool would also be used to find undeclared home extensions, patios, or gazebos:
“We are particularly targeting house extensions like verandas, but we have to be sure that the software can find buildings with a large footprint and not the dog kennel or the children’s playhouse,” Magnant said.
The Google-Capgemini software had a 30% margin of error in April and often confused solar panels for swimming pools. When finding extensions, the software had trouble analyzing a home with trees or in the shadows.
The boom in pools and extensions of homes during the virus pandemic had some homeowners skip out on registration paperwork. Tax authorities understand this problem and have adopted ‘big brother’ surveillance tools to watch over homeowners’ every move.