the tax partnership with Google takes on water

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Bercy has teamed up with Google and CapGemini to fight against fraud and automatically detect undeclared swimming pools. But the project is floundering, and the precision of the device leaves something to be desired for the moment.

In the Bouches-du-Rhne, near 8500 households had the unpleasant surprise of receiving letters requesting information from the General Directorate of Public Finances (DGFiP), a prelude to a possible tax adjustment. His motive? The detection of an undeclared swimming pool on their land using artificial intelligence (AI) software.

Developed internally by the DGFiP with the support of CapGemini and Google, the system, baptized Innovative land, allows the tax authorities to cross-reference taxpayer declarations with aerial views of the land registry in order to locate undeclared constructions. It is in the test phase in 9 departments since October 2021.

Undeclared swimming pool: the tax authorities launch the hunt with Google

Problem: the tool is currently causing many errors. With the confinements, people rushed to swimming pools bought from Leroy Merlin or Castorama, explains Philippe Laget, tax inspector unionized at the CGT questioned by The Parisian. These swimming pools, very often Aboveground Where install in a hole, should not be imposed. It is considered that if it has to be demolished to make it move, for example if the outline is cemented, the swimming pool becomes taxable. However, the AI ​​software does not have this level of precision.

Result? Some taxpayers could be asked, without reason, for approximately 300 euros additional on their property tax. An amount that varies according to the size of the pool and the municipality. The DGFiP wants to be reassuring, however: the information request letters sent to taxpayers are part of a dialogue phase (…) which makes it possible to confirm or refute the information held by the tax administration by users. It will take several more weeks. It is the outcome of this dialogue that the charging (or non-charging) will be notified. Taxpayers will still have the opportunity to contest and make a claim.

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Repeat again

The tax administration is not his first attempt. In 2019, the consulting firm Accenture won the Bercy tender. At the end, a contract of 20million euros to deploy a solution for the automatic detection of undeclared constructions. However, the project fell through after a few months of experimentation in the departments of Alpes-Maritimes, Charente-Maritime and Drme.

Since then, Google and CapGemini have taken over. But the difficulties persist. Sometimes the AI ​​mistook blue tarpaulins for swimming pools, it registered above-ground swimming pools or forgot some…explains to the Parisian a surveyor from the Bouches-du-Rhne department. According to union estimates, of the 11482 pools reported by the AI, the software would have made a mistake in almost 30% cases.

The principle of artificial intelligence is that it “learns” and enriches itself as it goes. It is therefore normal for there to be adjustments, especially during the experimentation phase. The AI ​​scans were therefore checked by agents, which is an integral part of the process. It is this work that is currently being carried out and which makes it possible to correct errors and ensure that AI learns and improves, retorts the DGFiP.

At the same time, the bill continues to increase. Also according to the unions, the cost of the project would have doubled from 20 40million euros. The DGFiP initially planned to extend the system to the entire territory of the metropolis by the end of end of 2022. But faced with the difficulties encountered, this schedule could be called into question. Good news for scammers!

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