Caltech defines equipment as an item that meets all of the following criteria:
- Has an acquisition cost of $5000 or more
Includes: Invoice amount, sales tax, freight costs, installation costs, costs for the initial complement of supplies needed to place the asset into service, accessory and auxiliary apparatus necessary to make it usable for the purpose for which it was acquired; less trade or trade in discounts and/or educational allowances
Excludes: Federal Excise tax, duty, insurance, maintenance and warranty costs
- Has a useful life of two or more years
If the item will not have a useful life of more than two years it is considered expendable material, even if it costs more than $5,000.
- Is a stand alone item
The item is not permanently attached to or integrated into a building or structure.
Occasionally, when government or other sponsors retain title to assets they impose a lower threshold for tagging and tracking assets. The award document and the award resume prepared by the Office of Sponsored Research will specifically state if a threshold other than $5,000 applies. For additional information see determining which expenditure type to use.