On This Page

Unless otherwise specified by the sponsor terms and conditions, assets are defined as capital equipment by Stanford when the following three criteria are met.

  1. Cost is $5,000 or greater

  2. Useful life of more than one year, and

  3. Individual, stand-alone, moveable, tangible item

Include in the budget: type of equipment, manufacturer’s name or identifying mark, quantity, estimated cost, and basis for the estimate, vendor quote, and sales tax.

Budget for a specific item “or equivalent.” This will give you the flexibility to substitute something equivalent later for the same amount of money. 

Budget sales tax and freight if applicable.

Expenses included and Excluded in the price of the equipment 

The expenses included in the price of the equipment are listed below. Although some expenses must be excluded from the purchase price they can and should be proposed if applicable. Include these types of expenses in the "other" expense category.

Expenses Included

in the Price of Equipment

Expenses Excluded

in the Price of Equipment

  • Asset cost
  • Freight
  • In-transit insurance
  • Federal excise tax
  • Sales or use tax
  • Duty
  • Vendor installation costs directly attributed to the asset
  • Accessories (e.g., lenses, covers, etc.)
  • Warranties
  • Maintenance service agreements
  • Installation services or other in-house labor provided by Stanford personnel
  • Upgrades to the infrastructure of a building necessary for the asset to become operational 
  • Training costs
  • Vehicle license and registration fees

General Purpose Equipment

General purpose (non-scientific) equipment budgeted in a proposal will require an especially careful budget justification. A similar type of justification is needed if you are proposing to purchase general purpose equipment. Office equipment is normally considered an indirect cost. 

Ownership of Equipment

Correct determination of equipment title or simply stated who owns the equipment, prior to placing purchase requisition is critical.  It will determine whether the transaction is taxable. It also defines identification, stewardship, and reporting compliance requirements for the asset as well as disposition options available at the end of its useful life.

Generally speaking, for equipment purchased with sponsor funds on a grant, title will vest with Stanford University at the time of acquisition. This requires sales/use tax to be applied to the purchase transaction. In these cases, sales tax is an allowable direct charge to the sponsored project. Equipment purchased with contract funds must be treated on a case by case basis. It is critical to read and understand the terms and conditions guiding equipment.

Created: 03.12.21
Updated: 04.16.21