Undeclared swimming pool: the tax partnership with Google takes on water

Bercy has teamed up with Google and CapGemini to fight against fraud and automatically detect undeclared swimming pools. But the project is floundering, and the precision of the device leaves something to be desired.

In the Bouches-du-Rhne, near 8500 households had the unpleasant surprise of receiving a letter from the Directorate General of Public Finances (DGFiP) informing them that they were going to undergo a tax adjustment. His motive? The detection of an undeclared swimming pool on their land using artificial intelligence (AI) software.

Developed in partnership with CapGemini and Google, the device, baptized Innovative land, allows the tax authorities to cross-reference taxpayer declarations with aerial views of the land registry in order to locate undeclared constructions. It is in the test phase in 9 departments since October 2021.

Undeclared swimming pool: the tax authorities launch the hunt with Google

Problem: The tool is causing many errors. With the confinements, people rushed to swimming pools bought from Leroy Merlin or Castorama, explains Philippe Laget, tax inspector unionized at the CGT questioned by The Parisian. These swimming pools, very often Aboveground Where install in a hole, should not be imposed. It is considered that if it has to be demolished to make it move, for example if the outline is cemented, the swimming pool becomes taxable. However, the AI ​​software does not have this level of precision.

Result? Some taxpayers are being asked, without reason, for approximately 300 euros additional on their property tax. An amount which varies however according to the size of the swimming pool and the municipality.

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Repeat again

The tax administration is however not his first attempt. In 2019, the consulting firm Accenture won the Bercy tender. At the end, a contract of 20million euros to deploy a solution for the automatic detection of undeclared constructions. However, the project fell through after a few months of experimentation in the departments of Alpes-Maritimes, Charente-Maritime and Drme.

Since then, Google and CapGemini have taken the lead. But the difficulties persist. Sometimes the AI ​​mistook blue tarpaulins for swimming pools, it registered above-ground swimming pools or forgot some…explains to the Parisian a surveyor from the Bouches-du-Rhne department. According to the estimates of the unions, the software would be wrong in nearly 30% cases, which is why the tax surveyors had to manually check the aerial photos of the 11482 pools reported by the AI.

At the same time, the bill continues to increase. And the cost of the project would have doubled from 20 40million euros, again according to the unions. The DGFiP initially planned to extend the system to the entire territory of the metropolis by the end of end of 2022. But faced with the difficulties encountered, this schedule could be called into question. Good news for scammers!

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Undeclared swimming pool: the tax partnership with Google takes on water

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