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Undeclared Swimming Pools in France uncovered by AI

Will HMRC get their own ideas?


Posted by Roger Eddowes on 11/04/2023 @ 8:00AM

The French tax authorities have experienced a financial boost following the uncovering of thousands of undisclosed private swimming pools in the country, thanks to the innovative use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) ...

British pool owners better be wary; HMRC might just take a dive into their backyards!

British pool owners better be wary; HMRC might just take a dive into their backyards!

copyright: quintanilla / 123rf

Over 20,000 concealed pools were detected, resulting in an estimated €10m (£8.5m) windfall. And that's because under French law, pools must be declared as they can increase property value and subsequently raise property taxes.

AI software, developed by Google and French consultancy firm Capgemini, identified the pools through aerial imagery from nine French regions during a trial in October 2021. The technology could potentially be implemented worldwide.

According to Statista, there were over 3.2 million private swimming pools in France in 2020, with a surge in installations due to employees working from home during the Covid pandemic. Le Parisien newspaper reports that an average 30 sq m (322 sq ft) pool is taxed at €200 (£170) per year.

French tax authorities believe the AI software could also be used to find unreported home extensions, patios, or gazebos, which similarly affect property taxes!

As France faces its worst recorded drought, the discovery of the undeclared pools highlights the need for a "different relationship to water" as suggested by Julien Bayou of France's Europe-Ecology Greens party.

Now, that the French tax authorities have uncovered this pool of hidden assets using AI, British pool owners better be wary; HMRC might just take a dive into their backyards as well.

Until next time ...

Business Godparent


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About Roger Eddowes ...


Roger trained at Edward Thomas Peirson & Sons in Market Harborough before working at Hartwell & Co, followed by Chancery, as a partner. He started Essendon Accounts and Tax with Helen Beaumont in 2014 as a general practitioner with a hands-on approach.

Roger loves getting his hands dirty, working with emerging, small-to-medium and family businesses to ensure they receive the best possible accountancy advice. Roger utilises an extensive network of business contacts to leverage the best guidance and practical solutions.