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Income Eligibility

Do you have questions about the income cap or increased rebate?  Get details below.

Implementation Date

date iconIncome eligibility requirements apply to rebate applications submitted on or after March 29, 2016. Requirements vary based on vehicle purchase/lease date as described in the sections below.

At the time an applicant submits a signed application for a rebate, the most current CVRP Implementation Manual available, as well as the Terms and Conditions signed by the applicant, will apply. Both the Terms and Conditions and Implementation Manual in place at the time of application will determine the applicant’s eligibility for the program. These governing documents are updated several times every year and changes may impact how an applicant’s income is calculated, and therefore the applicant’s eligibility for the program. The next scheduled updates to CVRP governing documents can be found in the CVRP FAQs.

Gross Annual Income Definition

gross annual incomeFor the purposes of CVRP,  gross income includes, but is not limited to the following taxable and non–taxable income sources:

Wages, unemployment, workers' compensation, Social Security, Supplemental Security Income, public assistance, veterans' payments, survivor benefits, pension or retirement income, interest, dividends, rents, royalties, income from estates, trusts, educational assistance, alimony, child support, assistance from outside the household, and other miscellaneous sources.

The Administrator will review the following sections of an applicant’s federal tax return as reflected on their IRS tax transcript to help determine gross annual income:

  • On IRS Form 1040: Sum of lines 7–21 (in some circumstances the Sum of Lines 7–21 may not equal Line 22 in determining Gross Income)
    Note: Net operating losses carried over from previous years are not included in this calculation.  If line 21 is negative, the corresponding "Statement" filed with your 1040 must be provided.
  • On IRS Form 1040A: Sum of lines 7–14
  • On IRS Form 1040EZ: Line 4

In some situations, more documentation will be requested at the discretion of the Administrator if tax transcripts do not appear to reflect gross annual income as defined by the Implementation Manual.

Only a portion of applicants are selected for income verification. Please do not submit copies of your federal tax return unless requested by a CVRP team member. See the Income Verification section below for information about income documentation that may be required.

Income Cap for Higher–Income Consumers

income capConsumers are not eligible for CVRP rebates if their gross annual incomes are above the thresholds listed below. The income cap applies to all eligible vehicle types except fuel–cell electric vehicles.

Vehicle Date of Purchase/Lease* Income Cap
November 1 2016 – Present
  • $150,000 for single filers
  • $204,000 for head–of–household filers
  • $300,000 for joint filers
*For Tesla and other vehicles ordered without a standard lease/purchase agreement, the date of first registration with the California DMV will be considered the date of purchase or lease.

AB 544 – High Occupancy Vehicle Decals

For a vehicle purchased on or after January 1, 2018, the Department of Motor Vehicles cannot issue a clean air decal to an applicant who has received a consumer rebate, nor can an applicant participate in both the Clean Air Decal Program and the Clean Vehicle Rebate Project, pursuant to the California Vehicle Code (CVC) 5205.5, unless the income restrictions for tax returns fall below: $150,000 for a single person, $204,000 for a head-of-household, and $300,000 for a joint tax return.

In other words, consumers who purchase a BEV or PHEV and have income higher than the limits above are already ineligible for a CVRP rebate, therefore eligibility for a Clean Air Decal should not be affected. Fuel Cell vehicles, however, are not currently subject to an income cap for CVRP. Therefore, Fuel Cell vehicle consumers who exceed the income cap must choose between a Clean Air Decal and a CVRP rebate. For consumer that purchase a BEV, PHEV, or Fuel Cell vehicle and fall below the income caps, eligibility for either program should not be affected and applicants should be eligible for both, provided proof of income eligibility requirements.

Increased Rebate Levels for Low– and Moderate–Income Consumers

increase rebate levelsConsumers with household incomes less than or equal to 300 percent of the federal poverty level are eligible for an increased rebate amount as listed below. The option to apply for an increased rebate is shown on the online application based on the income information the applicant provides. Applicants who are claimed as dependents are not eligible for increased rebates regardless of their income. Increased rebate amounts are available for fuel–cell electric vehicles, battery electric vehicles, and plug–in hybrid electric vehicles.

Vehicle Date of Purchase/Lease* Increased Rebate
November 1 2016 – Present Standard rebate amount** increased by $2,000
*For Tesla and other vehicles ordered without a standard lease/purchase agreement, the date of first registration with the California DMV will be considered the date of purchase or lease.
**Standard rebate amounts are available on CVRP’s list of eligible vehicles, located at cleanvehiclerebate.org/eligible-vehicles. The rebate for an eligible vehicle will be issued to the qualified recipient in a single allotment.

For the purposes of CVRP, a household includes all family members or other unrelated persons, including the rebate applicant, who reside together and share common living expenses. Income verification is completed for all members of the household ages 17 years and older. Note: Roommates who do not have a lease separate from the applicant are considered part of the applicant’s household.

The table below lists the Increased Rebate Household Income Limits effective July 1st 2018. These numbers are based on 300% of the 2018 Federal Poverty Level. For example, a family of 3 with a combined household income of less than $62,340 would qualify for the increased rebate.

2018 Increased Rebate Income Limits
Household Size Combined Household Income must be less than*:
1 $36,420
2 $49,380
3 $62,340
4 $75,300
5 $88,260
6 $101,220
7 $114,180
8 $127,140

For households with more than 8 persons, add $12,960 for each additional person.

*These values are equal to 300% of the 2018 Federal Poverty Level Guidelines

Federal poverty level is updated annually, usually in the first calendar quarter of the year. CVRP applies the update on July 1 of that year to all applications received on or after that date. The current levels can be found at https://aspe.hhs.gov/poverty-guideline.

Income Verification

income verificationOnly a portion of applicants are selected for income verification. If you are not selected, you do not need to submit proof of income. If you are selected, you must provide proof of income. Failure to provide documentation for income verification will result in your application being cancelled and no rebate issued. See our FAQ ""How do I know if I’ve been selected for income verification?" for more information.

For applicants selected for income verification and whose most recent tax year transcripts are not available, additional documentation will be required to verify compliance with current income requirements. Examples of additional documentation that may be required include W2s, bank statements, etc. Filing an extension for the tax year being requested is not considered filing for the purposes of CVRP income calculations. In these cases, additional documentation will be requested to evaluate the applicant’s income for that non-filing year.

Consumers applying for standard rebate:

Standard rebate applicants selected* for income verification must submit IRS Form 4506-T,  Request for Transcript of Tax Return, as proof of income. Please review the guidance in our Sample Supporting Documents to ensure you correctly complete this form and avoid delays in your verification.

Consumers applying for increased rebate:

Increased rebate applicants selected* for income verification must submit:

Additional documentation may be requested to provide complete details on income and household size.

Please review the guidance in our Sample Supporting Documents to ensure you correctly complete these forms and avoid delays in your verification.

If an applicant participates in one or more of the public assistance programs on CVRP’s Categorical Eligibility List, they may also submit documentation confirming their participation for consideration by the Administrator.

*You do not have to submit proof of income unless you have been selected for income verification.

History

HistoryThe California Air Resources Board (CARB) approved the Fiscal Year 2015-16 Low Carbon Transportation Investments and AQIP Funding Plan in late June 2015, which included several changes to the Clean Vehicle Rebate Project (CVRP): 

  • Income cap for higher–income consumers
  • Increased rebate levels for low– and moderate–income consumers

These changes were implemented on March 29, 2016.