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There’s nothing new about tax inspectors taking extraordinary lengths to uncover the dodges of the less than scrupulous. However, tax authorities are going to new heights to uncover undeclared assets.
In the wealthier suburbs of the capital, Buenos Aires, in Argentina the chirp of cicadas has been joined by the faint murmur of the latest weapon in the fight against property tax evasion. Unmanned drones have taken to the air to spy out tell tale patches of blue - the swimming pools of the rich and infamous, who seek to avoid the property taxes such lugubrious lagoons duly attract.
Similar super sweeps have been undertaken in markets closer to home. Here in the UK, councils have used light aircraft to overfly leafy Home Counties neighbourhoods looking for covert conservatories and illicit extensions.
Like here, where an empty house can qualify for a Council Tax exemption, many swanky properties are registered as unoccupied by their wealthy owners. However on a particularly warm and sunny day recently, an unmanned drone discovered over 100 properties, many with pool parties in full swing, and all of them in homes with no swimming pool declared!
Here in Edinburgh, the Athens of the North, thistles, midges and eleven months of winter put paid to any pool parties. The likely tax implications are more for illicit ice rinks than swimming pools. We're not in any way as lax about tax in these northern climes. Even so, we’d still recommend you change out of your swimsuit and make a splash down to Springfords to check that your tax affairs are as watertight as all your other affairs.