How the FISC detects your pool with AI: the complete guide

The FISC is using Machine Learning software developed with CapGemini and Google Cloud to detect undeclared private pools. More than 10 million euros in taxes have already been collected from 9 departments, and this system is going to be extended to the whole country. Find out everything you need to know…

It’s 2022, and connect to the websites of the French administration remains a real ordeal. When the servers don’t crash, it’s the application that bugs or the website that is hacked…

On the other hand, there are one thing for which France is at the forefront of technology: collecting taxes. Using Machine Learning, the FISC was able to detect undeclared pools and collect nearly 10 million euros in additional taxes.

Remember that in France, taxes are calculated based on the rental value of a property. Swimming pools can therefore cost several hundred euros per year.

On average, a pool of 30 square meters is taxed 200 euros per year. However, many unscrupulous owners choose not to declare them.

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A software created with Capgemini and Google Cloud

In order to trap them, France launched its Machine Learning project in October 2021. In partnership with Capgemini and Google Cloud, the FISC analyzed aerial photos from the National Institute of Geographic and Forestry Information.

Software has been developed to identify the pools on these imagesThis approach allows us to detect pools that were previously hidden by walls and bushes. This approach makes it possible to detect pools that were previously hidden by walls and bushes.

These information is then crossed with the national tax and property registry databases. After human verification, if a pool detected by the system is not declared, the owner is charged with fraud.

According to early reports from the project, the Machine Learning software had initially an extremely high error rate of 30%.. The model frequently confused other installations such as solar panels with swimming pools.

These problems have been resolved, and the FIPB assures us that its Machine Learning system is almost infallible. Among the taxpayers contacted by the authorities following the discovery of their pool by the tool, 94% confirmed they do have a taxable pool.

The institution even plans to extend its use to detect other undeclared structures. According to Antoine Magnant, Director General of Public Finance, extensions such as verandas are particularly targeted. However, it will be necessary for the software not to confuse them with smaller structures such as a dog house or a children’s hut.

A controversial strategy

The choice of Google Cloud as partner by Capgemini is controversial. Ironically, this American giant has been in conflict with the French government for a long time… over the taxes it does not pay.

In addition, several unions representing public finance employees express their concerns about this new approach. They fear that the government will replace them with artificial intelligence, and get rid of the employees sent to the field.

The representative of the General Confederation of Labor in the Bouches-du-Rhône also believes that this tool is not precise enough. In particular, he criticizes the AI for confusing taxable in-ground pools and temporary, removable above-ground pools that are not taxable.

In his opinion, face-to-face interactions with taxpayers remain essential in the face of these situations. He asserts that ” artificial intelligence must never replace human beings “.

Towards a complete scan of the country, for 40 million € of taxes

For the moment, the scope of the project remains limited. Only 9 of the 96 French departments have been screened.

The system was tested in Alpes-Maritimes, Var, Bouches-du-Rhône, Ardèche, Rhône, Haute-Savoie, Vendée, Maine-et-Loire and Morbihan. However, in this small part of the country alone, the DGFIP discovered 20,356 undeclared swimming pools.

In total, according to the latest Statista estimates as of 2020, there are about 3.2 million private swimming pools in France. However, the construction would have known a real boom during the confinements related to Covid-19 and heat waves. According to the Federation of Pool and Spa Professionals, more than 240,000 pools were built in 2021 alone.

At in the middle of a drought, the possession of private swimming pools is a controversy in France. Let us recall that only 9.7 millimeters of rain fell in July 2022. This is the driest month for the country since March 1961 according to Meteo-France. More than 100 municipalities were threatened by water shortages, and watering was banned in most of the northwest and southeast.

In the face of extreme heat, some people quietly squatted in their neighbor’s pool to cool off. Others go as far as. pierce the hot tubs to express their anger

The regional councillor of Île-de-France and national secretary of the Europe Ecologie les Verts party recently made ink flow by refusing to exclude the ban on the construction of new private swimming pools.

He believes this is a last resort, and later clarified on Twitter that his goal is not to ban pools, but to ” to guarantee our vital needs in water.

Now, the FISC provides for Expand the use of AI to the entire country with the exception of the overseas departments. This could bring back 40 million euros in additional taxes

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