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Wroclaw checks property tax payment

Wroclaw calculates property taxes based on tax declarations and recently also uses detailed analysis of satellite images and reports provided by SatRevolution, a Wroclaw-based company. The satellite detection project cost the municipality 128 thousand PLN net and the money has already paid for itself. The city successfully recovers due property taxes, in total it can be even 3 - 4 million PLN.

- Thanks to the project carried out by SatRevolution S.A. our Tax and Fees Department received precise information indicating the places requiring control activities. The reports provided allowed us to verify hundreds of properties in a short time, tighten the tax system and significantly increase revenues to the city budget

- says Marcin Urban, Treasurer of Wroclaw.

How does Wroclaw use space technology to control property tax?

We reported in November 2020 that the Municipality of Wroclaw will be using SatRevolution satellite detection to more effectively verify property tax areas and analyze tax return records. The work done so far has just been summarized and the results are so favorable for the city that SatRevolution will continue to work with the Tax and Fees Department of the Wroclaw City Hall.
By the end of 2022 the whole city should be checked in this way.
- We have already analyzed about 65 percent of the city and now we will do the further part. The municipality has received more than 1600 reports from us. More than 30 percent of them were confirmed as tax discrepancies, and another 30 percent required further clarification, for example due to difficult contact or unreliable explanations from the owners

- says Michał Hermanowski, Director of Data Sales at SatRevolution.

The treasurer of Wroclaw adds that irregularities in property tax payments may result from ignorance, mistake or lack of knowledge of the regulations. - In such situations we call for a correction of the tax declaration or a tax inspection is sent to the particular property - adds Marcin Urban.

Satellite images for property tax control. How does it work?

SatRevolution orders pictures of Wroclaw from its American partner who has a constellation of satellites imaging the Earth with the parameters required for the analysis to be effective.

- Every month building detection data and satellite images with a resolution of 3 - 4 meters are delivered. Additionally, within the framework of the project, satellite images of spatial resolution from 0.5 to 1 meter have already been taken four times

- enumerates Michał Hermanowski.

Next, the SatRevolution employees analyze the acquired data and information from public records provided by the city and prepare reports for the Department of Taxes and Fees of the Wroclaw City Hall.

- Until now property taxes were controlled periodically, by checking documents and local inspections, and it was like looking for a needle in a haystack. Now it can be done faster, because the SatRevolution algorithm selects properties to be checked - emphasises Marcin Urban.

The computer algorithms developed by SatRevolution compare satellite images of buildings with city data, e.g. the property map and the database of issued building permits. The images allow, among other things, to check the surroundings of a recently built house, commercial premises or plant. Is there a parking lot with cars or in case of a house: for example a trampoline for a child, a swimming pool or a landscaped garden. This all indicates that the building is being used and therefore the owner should pay property tax.

- Our tool also makes it possible to compare the estimated area of specific objects with the area declared by their owners and to detect discrepancies which are difficult to notice from the ground

- adds Michał Hermanowski.

The world is interested in what Wroclaw and SatRevolution are doing

What Wroclaw and SatRevolution are doing is making an impression on the world. The project was presented by Wroclaw's treasurer and SatRevolution's representative in the USA at the EXPLORE international conference. It met with a lot of interest there, both among the providers of satellite technologies and representatives of the public administration. Among others, representatives from Hong Kong asked for details.

- For many years we have been consistently investing both in development of our satellites and in building an offer of services and solutions based on satellite data. The project implemented for the City Hall of Wroclaw is one of the examples that our strategy brings very good results

- says Grzegorz Zwolinski, the CEO of SatRevolution.

What does Wroclaw need the pictures taken in the space for?

The use of satellite images for the purposes of sustainable development, Smart City and transport assumes a letter of intent signed in 2019 on cooperation between SatRevolution and the city of Wroclaw. There are also plans to expand the use of satellite data for the payment of the planned rain tax as well as the detection of illegal garbage dumps, and drought forecasting.

Wroclaw is already on the market of nanosatellites and microsatellites

SatRevolution S.A. was founded in June 2016 by Grzegorz Zwolinski, Damian Fijałkowski and Radosław Łapczyński. The founders of SatRevolution company are the winners of the award - "30 Creative Wroclaw 2017".