France had been looking for undeclared private pools for years. Until she stumbled upon artificial intelligence

 France had been looking for undeclared private pools for years.  Until she stumbled upon artificial intelligence
france had been looking for undeclared private pools for years.

In France, the authorities have used artificial intelligence software to discover thousands of private pools that had not been declared as such and that have caused their owners to pay taxes on them. In Spain there had already been similar initiatives in the past.

That pool was not there. The system developed by Capgemini used aerial images from Google and also from the National Institute of Geographic and Forest Information (IGN) to compare them with the French cadastre and thus detect undeclared pools. The experiment, launched a year ago in nine French departments (the equivalent of our provinces), has discovered 20,356 private pools, and this success has meant that the program will now be extended to the rest of the country.

to pay touch. These modifications in private properties must be declared to the competent authorities within 90 days of being completed. And since they are improvements, the real estate tax (IBI) is increased for owners who make such modifications.

You don’t just pay for pools. A pool that, for example, has an area of ​​30 square meters raises an increase of about 200 euros per year. The discovery of these thousands of pools has made the French treasury collect almost 10 million euros in total. Removable pools do not count, for example, but those that require civil works do, as is also the case with other structures such as permanent pergolas.

The system is not perfect. Although the solution developed with the help of artificial intelligence has done a great job, it is far from perfect. As noted in the Le Parisien exclusive, “sometimes the AI ​​mistook the blue tarps for swimming pools, registered above-ground pools, or forgot about them.” […]”. According to experts, the error rate is around 30%.

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Be careful: in Spain the Treasury is also vigilant. Our country has spent years persecuting this type of activity and detecting undeclared swimming pools. The Treasury does not seem to use artificial intelligence, but it does take advantage of drone technology or photogrammetric flights that are carried out periodically. In these flights, digital images of the land are captured and urban irregularities are verified by comparing them with data from the Cadastre.

Cadastral regularization. This type of process began in 2013 and in five years irregularities were detected in nearly two million homes, although in many cases the owners protested. 100,000 built and undeclared swimming pools were detected, and 11,500 were discovered in Madrid alone, although of course the cases are repeated throughout the Spanish geography.

No fine, but with IBI increase. Although a sanction is not imposed, the owners must pay a fee of 60 euros for each property to be regularized, in addition to paying the IBI with the increase in value applicable in each case, in addition to the arrears in the payment of the tax of a maximum of four years. As in the French case, there are exceptions such as inflatable pools or removable pergolas, but if you have made a permanent improvement and have not declared it —you can do it in the Cadastre—, these types of processes may end up detecting it.

Image | bruce christianson