NewsHidden Pools

Hidden Pools

Created: 09/02/2022 Updated: 09/02/2022, 05:04 p.m

Bei immer heißeren Sommern, kommt oft ein eigener Pool sehr gelegen.
With summers getting hotter and hotter, having your own pool is often very convenient. © Hendrik Schmidt/dpa

The French tax authorities have recently been tracking down taxable swimming pools from the air.

This is how an association of disgruntled taxpayers mocked the latest invention of the French tax authorities: “Take a bath. Then: Pay!” Because he relies on aerial photographs to locate undeclared private swimming pools. This is made possible by software called “innovative land and soil”, which works with artificial intelligence. During tests in nine departments on the Côte d’Azur, the Ardèche, Brittany and Savoy, the system immediately discovered 20,000 water basins that had not yet been recorded.

Building them past the tax authorities is a French specialty like eating snails. According to the tax authority DGFiP, it is no coincidence that the test flushed around ten million euros into the coffers of the affected communities. Although the software cost 24 million euros, it should be amortized as early as next year. Because the Treasury is expanding the attempt to the whole country. Taxable verandas, terraces or extensions should now also catch the eye of the digital eagle. That should quadruple the yield next year to 40 million.

Especially since pool sales are booming in France: Manufacturers are reporting double-digit growth rates. Market leader Desjoyaux explains the trend that many citizens are now retiring to their country estate and working from home. Home office with your toes in the turquoise water – what more could you ask for?

Artificial Counter-Intelligence

But there is another trend in the opposite direction. An eco trend. France has experienced an extreme summer of drought and many communities, rivers and reservoirs have run out of water. Pool management has therefore been restricted in many places, if not even banned. Green chief Julien Bayou now suggested a ban on private swimming pools. However, in the face of the outcry from three million pool owners in the country, he had to pull back. For this he welcomes the new detection software of the Treasury. Although it was not created for climate reasons, it fits into the epoch.

The stubborn pool fans are now also going green – in their own way: The finance portal “francetransactions” recommends covering the pool with a “green swimming pool cover” when it is not being used. A (tax-free) piece of lawn should be fooled into the eyes of the drone or satellite. This is called artificial counter-intelligence.

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