The taxes will acquire a new tool to fight against fraud: images of aerial views which will in particular identify swimming pools. An experiment will start this month in nine departments. It will be extended to the whole of France in 2022.
To fight against fraud, the tax authorities will use great means. And what better than the sky to see what the owners wanted to hide so as not to pay more taxes? Undeclared swimming pool, veranda or house extension: the tax authorities will know everything. At the General Directorate of Public Finances (DGFIP), this project has a name: “Innovative Land”. The official objective is to “guarantee a better reliability of the bases of the local direct taxation”.
Concretely, the aerial view images of the IGN (National Institute of Geographic Information) will be analyzed by an algorithm operated by Capgemini. Artificial intelligence will be tasked with Google to compare the photos with property and tax data.
“Google will make the link between the aerial photos and what exists on the cadastral plan and on the H1 declaration of the taxpayers. Did they declare a swimming pool or not, a building or not. For example, the algorithm goes see that there is a blue spot on the photo, it will recognize a swimming pool and it will compare with the cadastral plan and with the data, ”explains Damien Robinet, national secretary of the Solidaires finances public union. Tax officials will then receive a list of potential anomalies. If an agent validates the anomaly detected, the taxpayer will receive a request for information from the tax authorities by mail.
What will the tax authorities see in you?
IGN’s skyline images, not Google earth, will be used. To find out what the tax authorities will see of your home, click here.
A risk of penalties
If an individual recognizes that he does have a swimming pool, a veranda or a building extension without having informed the tax authorities, he will naturally have to regularize his situation. It will be exposed to a revaluation of the property tax and a reminder on previous years. The exact amount will depend on the cadastral rental value, the area of the swimming pool and the place of residence in particular.
Really more taxes?
Having a swimming pool does not generate a specific tax for taxes. But how much do owners really pay? When building, a swimming pool owner must pay a single development tax which amounts on average between 350 € and 500 € depending on the local authorities. A swimming pool also generates a slightly higher property tax by increasing the cadastral rental value of the property by 5 to 10% on average.
“It’s not huge proportions,” says The Dispatch Joëlle Pullinx, general secretary of the federation of swimming pool professionals. It does not worry us more than that because our members are careful “.
Nine test departments
Nine departments were selected for this experiment. None are located in Occitania. These are the Alpes-Maritimes, Var, Bouches-du-Rhône, Ardèche, Rhône, Haute-Savoie, Vendée, Maine-et-Loire and Morbihan. The first analyzes, which are about to begin, will last several months. The first returns are scheduled for the end of the first quarter of 2022. The measure will be extended to the whole of France during 2022.
A first experiment was carried out in 2019 in Charente-Maritime, Drôme and the Alpes-Maritimes in collaboration with the consulting company Accenture. 3000 undeclared swimming pools had been flushed out for the Alpes-Maritimes department alone.
France officially has nearly three million private pools: 1.47 million pools and 1.48 million above-ground pools, according to the Federation of pool and spa professionals. In 2020, 197,000 new swimming pools were built.
Google: a troublesome partner for unions
Google and Capgemini will be responsible for comparing IGN images and cadastral and fiscal data. The contracts are kept secret. The CGT public finances estimates the amount of the contract at 12 million euros. The choice of Google goes badly with the unions. “The choice of Google calls out to us. It is not a company which has shown exemplary tax compliance”, explains Damien Robinet, national secretary of the Solidaires finances publics union. For his part, Frédéric Scalbert, secretary of the CGT public finances, assures us that “the artificial intelligence software is absolutely not developed because there is a real concern about the transfer to the cadastral plan of the buildings detected”. The CGT fears the eventual elimination of the thousand jobs of surveyors of the DGDIP.
Declaration of work or building permit: what to do?
The legislation differs if your pool is an inground basin or an above-ground swimming pool, in kit or inflatable.
- For an above-ground swimming pool and a small pool, inground or not, less than 10 m², it is not necessary to declare the work to your town hall, unless you are in a protected area.
- For an above-ground swimming pool between 10 m² and 100 m², no action is necessary if the swimming pool is installed less than three months in the year. Beyond this period, a declaration of work to your town hall is mandatory.
- For swimming pools dug in the ground between 10 m² and 100 m², a declaration of work to your town hall is compulsory. If you are building a shelter for the engine, for example, a declaration of work is sufficient if the height does not exceed 1.80 m.
- For outdoor pools larger than 100 m², the filing of a building permit is required.
It is advisable to check the PLU (Local Urban Plan) of your municipality. In all cases, the legislation requires compliance with the rules of joint ownership. Unless otherwise specified, the law imposes a distance of three meters between the wall of your neighbor and the edges of your swimming pool.
If you build a terrace, no need to notify your town hall if you want an outdoor terrace on one level or very slightly raised. In case of creation of a veranda, or the installation of a cabin in your garden, a prior declaration of work is required if the footprint or the floor area is greater than 5 m² and less than or equal to 20 m². Beyond 20 m², a building permit is compulsory. For any garden shed with at least 5 m² of floor space, you will have to pay the development tax.