All through the ages people tried to dodge the taxman but now, thanks to creative uses of AI and technology, there’s nowhere to hide.
A report from The Guardian shows how the French tax authorities used both Google and AI to discover undeclared swimming pools and collect their dues from possible tax dodgers.
Authorities partnered up with Google and Capgemini to build a system that can identify pools across the country using aerial images.
After scanning the land for bits of blue, the images are cross-referenced against a land registry database, with tax authorities then checking which pools are registered and which not.
“We are particularly targeting house extensions like verandas, but we have to be sure that the software can find buildings with a large footprint and not the dog kennel or the children’s playhouse,” Antoine Magnant, France’s Deputy Director General of Public Finances said.
Using the tech, the tax authorities identified 20,356 undeclared pools in a single test last year – it’s a huge number but France does love its pools.
According to this publication, France has over three million private swimming pools, the second largest market in the world after the US.