Thousands of undeclared swimming pools in the south of France discovered by AI technology

france swimming pool

More than €10 million in previously unpaid taxes have poured into state coffers following the discovery of thousands of undeclared and illegal swimming pools.

For a year beginning in October 2021, the Direction Générale des Finances Publiques (DGFIP) used artificial intelligence and satellite images to detect undeclared – and often illegally built – swimming pools in nine parts of France: Alpes-Maritimes, Var, Bouches-du-Rhône, Ardèche, Rhône, Haute-Savoie, Morbihan, Maine-et-Loire and Vendée.  

In total, 20,000 such swimming pools were detected in these areas. Just over 5,000 were uncovered in the French Riviera, while the Bouches-du-Rhône proved to be the biggest offender, with more than 7,000 slipping through the net of tax authorities until last year.  

Together these three departments, all found in Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur, have added an estimated €4.8 million to state coffers since the pool owners in question began making the correct tax contributions. Overall, the amount generated by the scheme is in the region of €10 million.  

Three million private swimming pools in France 

France now has over three million private pools on its books, meaning just shy of 4% of households own pools. In some parts of the country, particularly in the PACA region, the percentage is much higher. The Var has over 100,000 private swimming pools – the largest concentration of any French department – while Roquefort-les-Pins in the Alpes-Maritimes is something of a hotspot for private swimming: for its 7,000 homes, there are 2,000 pools.  


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Photo source: Adheesha Paranagama for Unsplash