Tax and Fee Exemptions & Discounts for Seniors
Low & Moderate Income
People w Disabilities & Medical Conditions
MMWD & PGE Customers Who are Overpaying
APPLY NOW! Filing Deadlines Soon!
Beware: You May Need to Reapply Each Year
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HOW TO FIND OUT WHICH TAXES OFFER EXCEMPTIONS AND DISCOUNTS
Marin County’s Property Tax Exemption webpage has a full list of the agencies whose taxes are collected via property tax bills and may offer discounts/exemptions. (Certain agencies, e.g., sewer and water, send a bill to the property owner or renter directly and offer discounts, some of which we describe further down this page.)
If you enter your parcel number in the box on the county’s exemption page, the website pulls up a list of, and telephone numbers for, all the agencies that bill YOU through your property tax bill. The list also identifies the specific agencies on your tax bill that offer exemptions. For each one, there is a telephone number for more details regarding the criteria and deadlines; in many instances there is a hot-link to the application form.
BIG POTENTIAL SAVINGS ON SCHOOL TAXES: Many school districts offer parcel tax exemptions for seniors 65 and older, and often for low-income and disabled taxpayers as well. On the county’s exemption page for your tax bill (see above), you’ll find that school parcel taxes are typically the largest exemptions and discounts available. Some school districts have application deadlines in early May so you may need to act quickly. Income- and disability-based discounts require annual filing. School parcel tax exemptions for seniors need only be applied for once, though in some instances the school district may require a new application for a renewed or supplemental tax measure. Read your tax bill (or tax exemption page) carefully. You may be paying school parcel taxes to multiple districts (e.g., K-8 and high school). If so, you must file separate exemption applications for each district to maximize your savings.
Reapply annually for any expiring exemptions!
There is also a low-income senior exemption (65+) exemption for the Marin Wildfire Preparedness Authority parcel tax. YOU MUST REAPPLY EVERY YEAR, with your application postmarked by June 30, 2022. Refiling is imperative owing to changes in residents’ income and the income limits for applicants. Homeowners can read all about how to apply here. Don’t assume you are ineligible! Many middle income households qualify. The income limit for the current year is $102,450 for a 1-person household; $117,100 for two people; $131,750 for three; $146,350 for four; and $158,100 for five. This tax is assessed on building square footage. To ensure you’re not being overcharged, you should also verify that the official records show that the square footage of your property is accurate. If not, contact the Assessor’s office.
Note that some agencies such as the MWPA do not acknowledge receipt or approval of your exemption/discount application. Consequently, you should keep a proof of all your exemption/discount applications and then carefully review your tax bill AS SOON AS YOU RECEIVE IT. If you can prove that your valid application was not reflected on your tax bill, immediately contact the agency to ask for an adjustment. Advocating on behalf of taxpayers, CO$T is urging agencies to acknowledge receipt of each application and inform the taxpayer in writing whether it has been approved.
Ross Valley Sanitary District offers a low-income sewer charge assistance program with income thresholds similar to what MWPA’s. Many moderate income home and condo owners may be surprised to lean they qualify for a 25% discount on the sewer charge fee that appears on the tax bill. Apply before the June 30 deadline!
Other Sanitation Districts. There are twelve other sanitation districts in Marin. Check with your local agency for discounts.
Marin Municipal Water District has several water bill discount programs listed here –that are based on income, certain medical conditions, or having internal fire suppression sprinklers. In addition there are many rebate programs related to water efficiency product purchases. Note also that in the wake of the outcry against its huge 2019 meter-charge fee increases, MMWD is encouraging meter downsizing. You may save money by swapping out residential meters that are over 5/8″ in size, but there is a one-time charge. Having a smaller diameter meter (incoming pipe) reduces MMWD’s fixed charges that are especially onerous for larger meters. (Big fixed fees tied to meter size are the subject of a legal complaint filed by CO$T on behalf of ratepayers.) The charges for meter downsizing are listed in item 1.2 in the district’s rate/fee schedule. Your meter size is shown on your water bill, under Account Summary, e.g., “CAPITAL MAINT. FEE FOR 1″ METER.” Make sure you ask what it will cost if you have to re-upsize, if, for example, you have to install interior fire suppression sprinklers. For more information, call MMWD at 415-945-1400 or email CustomerService@MarinWater.org
North Marin Water District has a bimonthly low-income discount available.
Stinson Beach County Water District has a low-income discount program. For more information and a copy of the form call 415-868-1333.
You CAN lower your PG&E bill. Here’s how!
First, look into the several low-income discount programs PG&E offers. Second, learn about how the time of use plans impact you. Last year, PG&E automatically transitioned residential customers to time of use plan. This may have RAISED your bill unduly. You might achieve a lower bill if you change your habits: e.g., what time of day you use energy-intensive appliances. Or you may get a lower bill by changing your PG&E rate plan to the one that’s more cost-effective for your usage patter. This is easy to do. Click here — and then click the “make your choice” gold button on the right side of the page — to explore whether choosing a different rate plan will prevent a higher bill or lower what you’re already paying.