Google AI Software Helps French Officials Find Tax Evaders By Discovering Undeclared Swimming Pools

Google AI Software Helps French Officials Find Tax Evaders By Discovering Undeclared Swimming Pools
The Google logo adorns the outside of their office building in New York on June 3, 2019. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
French tax officials have discovered more than 20,000 undeclared private swimming pools using artificial intelligence (AI), netting $9.9 million in revenue.

What Happened

The French tax office on Monday said it had uncovered 20,356 pools with the help of a system developed by Alphabet Inc.’s Google and Capgemini—that identified pools on aerial images and cross-checks them with french land registry databases, the Guardian reported.

Pools in France usually lead to higher property taxes because they boost property value and must be declared under French laws.

The government for now tested the AI software in the regions of Alpes-Maritimes, Var, Bouches-du-Rhône, Ardèche, Rhône, Haute -Savoie, Vendée, Maine-et-Loire and Morbihan—but the officials say it plans to roll out nationwide.

“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,” the deputy director general at Délégation Générale des Finances Publiques, (DGFiP) Antoine Magnant, told Le Parisien newspaper.

“This is our second stage of research and will also allow us to verify if a property is empty and should no longer be taxed,” he reportedly added.

According to Statista, there were more than 3.2 million private swimming pools in France in 2020, and it boomed further after the COVID-19 lockdowns as more people switched to work-from-home. The public finance authority DGFiP said as the AI program would now be rolled out nationwide, the government expects to make €40 million ($39.99 million) in new taxes on private pools in 2023.

By Navdeep Yadav
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