- BBC News World
The discovery of thousands of hidden private pools in France gave an unexpected boost to the European country’s tax revenue.
Thanks to an experiment using artificial intelligence (AI), the French tax authorities have discovered more than 20 thousand hidden pools.
According to French media, the discovery raised 10 million euros ($10 million) in proceeds.
The presence of swimming pools in France can force the owners to pay Basic Property Taxes Because it increases the value of the property, it must be disclosed to the treasury, according to French law.
20,000 clusters were discovered during a test in October 2021 using software developed by Google and French consultancy Capgemini with aerial images from nine regions of the country.
The Alpes-Maritimes, Vars, Bouches-du-Rhone, Ardèche, Rhone, Haute-Savoie, Vendée, Maine-et-Loire and Morbihan regions were part of the trial, but tax officials say it can now be rolled out worldwide. country.
In 2020, there have already been more than 3.2 million private swimming pools in FranceAccording to figures from the Association of Pool Professionals, sales were already booming before the Covid pandemic.
But with the advent of the coronavirus, there has been another increase in pool facilities as more and more employees are working from home.
According to the newspaper ParisianFor an average complex of 30 square meters, about 200 EUR (200 USD) per year must be paid to the treasury.
France’s Directorate General of Public Finance (DGFiP) specifically uses algorithms that allow it to extract from aerial footage. surrounds the assembly and structures To check if they have the taxes they should get, according to the law.
If not, the property owner is called to regularize his situation and pay what he owes to the treasury.
The tax authorities say the software can be used in the future to find it Unauthorized home extensionsor patios or garden gazebos, which also leads to an increase in the estate tax.
“We are specifically targeting home extensions, such as terraces,” said Antoine Magnant, Deputy Director of DGFiP. Parisian.
“We have to make sure that the program will be able to find buildings with large roofs and not the kennel or the children’s theater,” he added.
But French media reported that at the moment, Google and Capgemini are configured to recognize gatherings faults at the time of againsts Accessories of homes.
He asks, “How can you be sure that a rectangular black spot, seen from the sky, is an expansion and not a piece of cloth laid on the ground, a tent or even a porch?” Lou Parisian.
Ban new swimming pools?
The French government’s heavy hand against undeclared swimming pools comes after Julien Bayot, general secretary of the environmental party Europa eco the Greens and member of the Ile-de-France region council, did not rule out a ban on building new private swimming pools.
Speaking to BFMTV, Bayot noted that France needs to “different relationship with waterAnd that ban would be a ‘last resort’.
“The challenge is not to prevent swimming pools, but rather to ensure our vital water needs,” he added.
His comments gained more importance at a time when France going through the worst drought of which there is a record, where more than 100 municipalities were left without drinking water.
In July, precipitation in France was only 9.7 mm, making it the driest month since March 1961, according to the Meteo-France National Weather Service.
The crisis is so serious that irrigation has been banned in the northwest and southeast of the country to try to conserve water.
France is the second country with more mesCinemas per capita in the worldsecond only to the United States, the market is booming.
In 2021 alone, the French built nearly 244,000 swimming pools, according to the Federation of Swimming Pool Professionals.
Now you can receive notifications from BBC World. Download and activate the new version of our app so you don’t miss our best content.