Nowhere to hide for these French pools, Source: Depositphotos

How does AI help the taxman in France?

How does AI help the taxman in France?

The tool helps identify undeclared swimming pools and garden sheds

Tax season is in full swing in France with citizens having until 30 May to submit their declarations to the country’s revenue service. Since 2022, however, the tax office agents in certain regions have been aided by AI in discovering things like undeclared swimming pools or garden sheds. And this system is now applied in the whole country.

The AI system, called Foncier innovant (Innovative real estate), has been developed to identify possible fraud concerning property developments, which owners have failed to declare. It truly adds a Big Brother watchful eye in the sky that aims to make sure that no one can hide their swimming pool from the authorities.

Human verification is also involved

Adding things like a swimming pool or a garden shed to one’s property can lead to a reevaluation of its value, which means a higher tax has to be paid. That’s why some homeowners have conveniently forgotten to declare these developments on their tax return declarations.

The AI tool was developed in partnership with Google and Capgemini tech consultancy. The aerial view of any address in France is freely available for viewing here.

Computer processing then verifies, based on the owners' declarations made to the town planning and tax administration services, whether the elements thus detected in the images are correctly declared on local direct taxes (property tax in particular). 

However, the authorities have stated that they are not relying only on the system to make the final decision. Each detected discrepancy is then further verified by a human officer in order to decide whether to impose a larger tax on the property owner.

During the test stage of the project, for example, last year in the Department of Seine-Maritime, the AI system was able to identify 670 undeclared swimming pools in 315 municipalities.



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