French tax authorities to use AI to hunt for hidden swimming pools


French authorities may soon start using aerial photographs in their search for swimming pools and extensions that house owners have concealed from the tax office.

The evaluation of satellite images is to be used by the land registry offices to possibly adjust the value of the properties concerned, according to the tax authorities’ plans.

On-site investigations by tax officials are to be reduced to a minimum. With artificial intelligence helping search the satellite images and generate automated letters to property owners, the manpower required will be reduced.

Broadcaster BFMTV reported on Wednesday that the evaluation of aerial photos will initially be tested in nine departments.

In a first test in the department of Alpes-Maritimes, 3,000 swimming pools that had been concealed from the tax authorities were discovered within a few weeks.

In addition, since a change in the law last year, the tax authorities are allowed to evaluate all information that the members of the public post on the social media in their search for tax fraudsters.

Meanwhile, job advertisements by the central tax authority are changing. For the new project, data experts are being recruited who are specialized in “filtering out useful information from the images.”

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