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Finance Department
Finance Department

Very Low Income Refund Program

The City of Berkeley and the Berkeley Unified School District offer a tax relief refund program for households with an annual gross income of $49,600 or less effective July 1, 2019.

These programs provide a refund of the following items: 

Very Low Income Table

*Note: Refund is available only to very low income seniors (65 and older). 

For more information, please visit the following websites.

Property tax Bill & BUSD
Sanitary Sewer Fees
Utility User's Tax

Who is Eligible?

Effective July 1, 2019: Households with a total annual gross income of $49,600 or less are eligible to participate in the program. The annual very low income household threshold is dependent on the Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Very Low Income (VLI) limit. For more information or to verify the HUD amount, please visit the following link:

How do I File a Claim?

To apply for a Very Low Income Refund, applicants must complete a Claim for Very Low Income Refund form and submit the form and all supporting documentation to:

City of Berkeley
Attn: Very Low Income Refund Program
Finance Department - Revenue Collection 
1947 Center Street, 1st Floor
Berkeley, California 94704

Claims must be filed within one (1) year of payment of taxes and/or fees.

Please allow 2-3 weeks for processing once all the necessary documents are received.

Supporting Documentation: 

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. Senior Exemption for BUSD refunds: 
    If you are 65 years old or older, please provide a photo copy of ID to receive refunds for Berkeley Unified School District special taxes.

  4. 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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Finance Department, 1947 Center Street, Berkeley, CA 94704
Questions or comments? Email: Phone: (510) 981-7200
(510) 981-CITY/2489 or 311 from any landline in Berkeley
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