When tax collectors in Greece began to compare income with owning a swimming pool, many wealthy Greeks came up with a clever plan: hide swimming pools with camouflage netting.
It remains to be seen whether such a tactic could spread to France, where tax authorities are launching an unprecedented campaign this month to root out people who have not declared the existence of their swimming pools – as well as garages or other extensions. – via an experimental partnership. with Google.
With 2.5 million swimming pools in single-family homes, France has more swimming pools per capita than anywhere in the world without America.
France is already using helicopters to detect undeclared swimming pools or owners who fill theirs in times of drought. But this month, he’s taking the hunt to another level thanks to AI.
Codenamed Innovative Real Estate, tax inspectors use Google’s algorithms to automatically cross-check aerial photos of swimming pools or home extensions with tax and real estate returns to determine who is not telling the truth.
Swimming pools are considered additional real estate unless they are movable or – in most cases – less than 10 square meters. They must be declared to the town hall before construction, resulting in a single tax.
They must also be declared to the tax office within 90 days, which results in an increase in local property tax bills due to the increase in a home’s rental value. The swimming pools are exempt from property tax for the first two years.
The AI campaign will initially target nine departments, or departments, in the south and west of France.
Pool cheaters will initially receive a written warning to revise their return or face a tax audit or fines. Under French law, an illegally constructed swimming pool can lead to fines of € 6,000 per square meter.