Very Low Income Refunds
As of July 1, 2022, households with an annual gross income of $57,150 or less are eligible for a tax relief program.
This refund program is designed to lessen the burden on very low-income households.
The annual threshold is dependent on the Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Very Low Income (VLI) limit. To determine if you have an eligible HUD amount look at the Median Family Income and Income Limits.
The City of Berkeley and the Berkeley Unified School District (BUSD) provide a refund of taxes on your property tax bill as well as on your utilities.
Property tax bill refunds:
- Refunds from the City of Berkeley:
- Library Tax
- Landscape/Parks Tax
- Wildfire Prevention and Preparedness Tax
- Clean Storm Water Fee
- Fire Protection Emergency Response and Preparedness Tax
- Refunds from Berkeley Unified School District:
- Berkeley School Tax*
- Berkeley School Maintenance Tax*
- Berkeley Educator Recruitment and Retention Act Tax
*Note: Refund is only available to very low income seniors (65 and older).
- Sanitary Sewer fees included on the EBMUD water bill
- Utility Users Tax included on the local cable bill
File your claim for tax relief
To apply for a Very Low Income Refund, applicants must file claim within one (1) year of payment of taxes and/or fees.
- Complete a Claim for Very Low Income Refund form
- Assemble all supporting documentation (listed below) for your claim
- Submit the claim form and supporting documentation to:
City of Berkeley
Attn: Very Low Income Refund Program
Finance Department - Revenue Collection
1947 Center Street, 1st Floor
Berkeley, CA 94704
Please allow 2-3 weeks for processing once all the necessary documents are received.
Supporting documentation needed for your claim
- Proof of Payment (required):
A copy of the taxpayer’s property tax bill, along with evidence of payment of both tax installments and payment of utility (cable and sewer) bills. Accepted evidence includes copies of canceled checks (front and back), cash receipts, and check images from a financial institution, and/or credit card or bank statements with specific payment amounts indicated.
- Proof of Income (required)
a. Attach a complete income tax return or a copy of the statement with the amount earned for the year; OR,
b. If the taxpayer did not file an income tax return, attach a Letter 4506-T from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) stating taxes were not filed for the year.
Note: The current version of this form is not available until after April 15 of each year. To obtain this letter from the IRS, please call (800) 829-1040.
- Berkeley Unified School District refunds:
A refund of some or all Berkeley Unified School District property taxes is available for individuals who own and occupy, as a principal residence, a parcel and who apply to the City of Berkeley Finance Office annually. It is intended for the following parties:
- For low-income owner-occupants, age 65 or older (please provide a photo copy of your ID)
- For owner-occupants receiving Supplemental Security Income (SSI) for a disability, regardless of age
- For owner-occupants receiving Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits, regardless of age, whose annual income does not exceed 250% of the federal poverty guideline
To request a refund for Berkeley Unified School District taxes, please fill out the Request for Refund of BUSD Property Taxes Supplemental Form.
- Household Documentation:
If persons other than the claimant are listed on the property title, the Very Low Income Supplemental Information form must be completed and submitted with the claim.
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