A swimming pool with lake view, Source: Depositphotos

France: AI uncovers thousands of hidden swimming pools

France: AI uncovers thousands of hidden swimming pools

Tax authorities used the technology to collect millions in revenues

Undeclared private pools have now brought millions of euros in revenues to the French tax authorities thanks to artificial intelligence (AI) technology. This became possible with an experiment from last year which led to the discovery of as many as 20,000 hidden swimming pools, as BBC reports.

The finding has helped authorities to collect over 10 million euros more in fees. This is the case as the availability of a pool leads to a higher evaluation of the property, meaning – higher taxing according to national laws.

Private pools bring money to the budget, but may endanger our water needs

The AI experiment took place in October 2021 in nine regions of France: Alpes-Maritimes, Var, Bouches-du-Rhône, Ardèche, Rhône, Haute -Savoie, Vendée, Maine-et-Loire and Morbihan. A software, developed by technology giant Google and French consultancy Capgemini, together with air images over said territories led to the discovery of thousands of undeclared swimming pools.

Estimations of Le Parisien point to an average of 200 euros in taxes every year for a pool of 30 square metres.

Naturally, the trial has been deemed highly successful and tax authorities will now be expanding it to the entire territory of France. They are considering using it to discover other major improvements to people’s homes or villas, which can boost properties’ value, such as home extensions and patios, but most importantly – verandas.

Be as it may, the quest for undeclared pools is not just about filling the public budget. In the context of extreme drought and heatwaves, as Europe’s rivers are drying up, countries are considering ways to conserve and protect water resources.

Speaking on French media, Julien Bayou (greens) – an MP and regional representative from the region of Paris (Île-de-France) - considered banning new private swimming pools, even if only as a last resort, to save water.  He also said that France needs to establish a different relationship with water.

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