Property Office

The primary mission of the Property Office is to keep track of all University equipment and capital assets, conduct periodic inventory observations, and to ensure that surplus equipment is disposed of in accordance with Federal and State regulations as well as University policies.

Main Functions of the Property Office:

Equipment Tagging: All equipment, as defined below, is tagged and recorded in the asset management system. 

Equipment Inventory: The Property Office assists campus departments with periodic inventory observations, understanding equipment requirements and procedures, and keeping equipment records up to date.

Disposal/Surplus Property: All disposals of surplus equipment assets must be coordinated with the Property Office.  We assist departments in determining the appropriate disposal method for their surplus.

What is Equipment?

Equipment is a standalone, movable, and externally visible item. It has a unit price of $5,000 or more, a life expectancy of two years or more, and is repairable.

In addition, any computer, laptop, or tablet at any unit value needs to be tagged and tracked.     

Equipment Forms

Equipment Action Form (xlsx)

Use this form to account for the status of university equipment other than a transfer to a department on campus.

Equipment Coordinator Designation Form [PDF]

The purpose of this form is to provide information on designated Equipment Coordinators within a department.  The completed form should be e-mailed to the Property Office.

Equipment Disposal Form (Net ID Login required)

Use this form to dispose of equipment that is not being sold, regardless of condition.  For more details on what Surplus Property is and how to dispose of equipment, please visit the Surplus Equipment web page of Procurement and Campus Services.

Equipment Transfer Form (xlsx)

Use this form to notify the Property office on the transfer of university equipment to a department on campus.

Equipment Disposal Process

The equipment Coordinator, department head, or designated staff authorized to dispose of equipment that is no longer in use needs to complete the online equipment disposal form (see link below). Forms are routed to the Property Office, where equipment item(s) are retired in PeopleSoft, and Waste Management schedules items for pick up. It is the department’s responsibility to ensure that all computer storage devices are removed by a qualified IT staff member during the disposal process.

Equipment Disposal Form

A department may also dispose of equipment as surplus property. A campus department may pick up surplus equipment, or it can be put out for a public bid.1.



Successful bidders will be notified of their awards via email. Payment in the form of a certified check, official bank treasurer’s check, or money order made payable to the University of Massachusetts Amherst must be received prior to the removal of the equipment. Payment will be made to “University of Massachusetts” and mailed to:

Controller’s Office 

100 Venture Way - Suite 201

Hadley, MA 01035-9430


Removal must be made on or before the date noted in the solicitation.

If any bidder fails to pay for and remove the item(s) by the day noted, the university reserves the right to award the item(s) to the next highest bidder without recourse. Non-compliance with either or both of these items will result in the removal of the bidder’s name as an eligible bidder on any future sale for one year. 

Capitalization & Inventory Control Policy


To ensure compliance with Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) through a uniform policy regarding capitalization and valuation of capital assets.
To provide procedures for the management and control of property owned by, or in the custody of, the University of Massachusetts.
To satisfy requirements of the Federal Government regarding control over Government Property for which the University is responsible and accountable. 


This policy pertains to all property, real and personal, under the control of the University of Massachusetts, including all such property to which the Commonwealth of Massachusetts or the University of Massachusetts holds title, or for which the University has custodial responsibility. 


Title to, or ownership of, all Commonwealth or University property shall be deemed to be vested in the University of Massachusetts unless stipulated otherwise by the funding source.

Title does not rest with a department or an employee, regardless of source of funds or donation associated with the acquisition. 


The campus is responsible for  maintaining  inventory  records  for  all  capital  and  sensitive non-capital  equipment  as  defined  in  this  policy,  performing  or  coordinating  periodic physical  inventories,  reconciling  physical  inventories  to  the  related  records  and reconciling  additions  and  deductions  on  the  inventory  system  to  the  general  accounting system.  


Records shall be maintained  for  all  federally  funded  equipment  at  a  federally  approved amount  and  life  expectancy.  All such equipment shall be inventoried according to federal guidelines.

Who Owns Equipment?

All equipment, including computers, monitors, iPads, tablets, and other similar devices purchased with any UMass funds, including gifts, grants, RTF, stipend, donations, and other non-traditional funding sources are the property of UMass and no individual has the right to keep any equipment, or to take it with them when they separate from the University. 

Department Responsibility

Departments are responsible for the physical custody of all equipment. Ensure that equipment is appropriately maintained, safeguarded, and used only for official purposes. Submit appropriate reports on time. Conduct periodic inventory observations, maintain records, and notify Property staff of new equipment acquisitions, disposals, and any location changes.

Equipment Coordinators

A designated individual has the authority and responsibility for the physical custody of all equipment under their control and within their custodial area (department). Through the designated Equipment Coordinator, departments are responsible for:
Ensuring that equipment is maintained correctly, safeguarded, and used only for official purposes.
Submitting appropriate reports promptly to the Property Office for transfers, lost, missing, stolen, destroyed, damaged, or obsolete equipment.
Physical inventories, including the follow-up for missing items not found during the scanning process 
Maintain a record of equipment that is removed for use or repair outside of the department.
Ensure that complete documentation is provided to the Property Office for newly acquired property.
Equipment Coordinators have the authority to dispose of equipment. 
Equipment Coordinator Designation form.

Equipment Account Codes / Equipment Acquisition

Departments order equipment items as allowed in their budgets. A purchase order is generated with a specified equipment account code when an item is ordered. The account code identifies the purchase as equipment. The same account code is used for costs related to shipping, setup, in-transit insurance, and any other related parts or component units. The following is a list of equipment account codes. 


Equipment Account codes

741980 Computers/Laptops/Tablets

763100 IT Equipment over $5,000

763120 IT Equipment/Enhancement

763140 Telecom Equipment

763200 Educ Equipment

763210 Research/Educational Equipment

763230 Av Equipment

763260 Fabricated Equipment

763400 Facility Equipment

763500 Motor Vehicle Equipment

763700 Office Equipment

763800 Printing/Copying Equipment

763900 Office Furnishings $5k & above

764200 Medical Equipment

764300 Law/Security Equipment

764500 Heavy Equipment General

764600 TV Broadcasting Equipment

764700 Lawn/Grounds Equipment

Grant-Related Property

Federal Equipment

Includes all equipment purchased with federal funds, even if split funded.

Federal Government furnished equipment includes property provided by federal agencies to principal investigators regardless of cost. When principal investigators acquire property directly from a federal agency, the Property Office must be informed of the receipt of that equipment and be provided with any issuing documents. The Property Office will view the equipment, and tag (if appropriate), then equipment is added to the Asset Management system. 

At the end of an award and completion of a contract, Government Furnished Property will be returned to the agency. Equipment may also be transferred to another contract. 

Grant Closeout Process

When a federal award ends, the Property Office will be notified by the agency, Office of Grant & Contract Administration, or the responsible grant accountant based on closeout requirements specified in the initial award document sponsor specific requirements and other information can be on the Research Administration and Compliance site:

The applicable closeout reports will be prepared and submitted to the appropriate agency. In most cases, these reports are filed electronically.

Fabricated Equipment

Fabricated equipment is a piece of capital equipment that has been created for a specific research project. Cost efficiency, timeliness of delivery, non-availability, or uniqueness of special equipment may make it necessary for the project to fabricate a piece of equipment rather than purchase it.

Fabricated equipment is exempt from the Indirect Cost (F&A) Rate. Among the criteria used to classify an item as Fabricated Equipment are:

1. The total cost is $5,000 or more; the equipment is not expendable and has a usable life of more than one (1) year; the equipment is to be used only for research and is needed to carry out a sponsored project.

2. As individual pieces of equipment are completed; the Principal Investigator must report the item(s) to the Property and Inventory Control Office for proper tagging and recording. All Fabricated Equipment must be appropriately tagged by the end of the project.

3. The cost of Fabricated Equipment must be reasonable and supported by adequate documentation, which is subject to review by the Property and Inventory Control Office or other responsible officials.

Equipment Tagging

Equipment will be tagged by the Property Office or coordinated with department staff.

Exceptions to Equipment Tagging and Inventory.

1. Equipment items attached to a building or structure are considered fixed equipment and are no longer movable. These items are treated as fixtures or building/land improvements that do not require tagging or tracking (Inventory). Examples include window air conditioning, water heaters, ceiling projectors, large wall or ceiling mounted TVs, antennas, fume hoods, cages, dishwashers, security cameras, internal components like motors, IT switches, etc...

2. Equipment too small, sensitive, or impractical to tag. These are often used in research and high-tech areas.

Equipment Inventory

All tagged equipment is recorded in the Asset Management system. Inventory observations may be conducted by Property Office staff or department equipment coordinators. Select departments with highly centralized IT functions will be responsible for tagging, recording, and tracking their computers. Highly centralized functions include purchasing, central receiving, loading application software, maintaining equipment, and maintaining an equipment tracking database.

Department heads, or authorized staff, have the overall responsibility to approve equipment purchases and verify that items ordered have been received. 

Before an item is recorded in the Asset Management system, Property Office staff work with departments to confirm that each item is appropriate for tagging. Determining when items are tagged is based on incoming volume and item location. Tagging items is a perpetual process with timing dependent on item location and department availability. Due to the size of the Amherst campus and the diverse needs and use of each department, the campus does not mandate the use of the central receiving department. Self-tagging departments report equipment details to the Property Office.

Donated Equipment

All equipment donations (Gifts in Kind) are recorded by the Development Office and reported to the Controller’s Office for possible tagging and tracking. Items that meet the campus criteria will be capitalized and booked into the Asset Management system.

Off-site Use of University Property

Employees must exercise reasonable care to protect university property when taken off campus. This applies to all university property and equipment, regardless of the source of funds used to acquire the property. Computers and their data need to be maintained in a secure environment. University personnel may be held personally liable for damaged or lost equipment due to negligent use.

Hard Drive Destruction

For computer hard drive destruction information, see the UMass Amherst Information Technology’s (IT) help page on  Hard Drive & Magnetic Tape Destruction. The Hard Drive & Magnetic Media Destruction Request Form is also available for download on that page.

Procedure for Sale of Surplus Equipment

Procedure for Sale of Surplus Equipment

1. Department identifies equipment as surplus to their department heads

2. Department fills out Surplus Equipment Sale Form and emails it to the Property Office.

3. A copy of the form is sent to the Property Office to verify the information.

4. is an online auction platform that many government agencies utilize to auction surplus property to the public. Only government agencies can auction items on Municibid. Bidding is open to the public across the United States and Canada. To access the Municibid site, go to:

5. The award goes to the highest responsible bidder that meets or exceeds the minimum bid listed for each item or category listed in the bid. All items not bid on or not receiving a bid that at least equals the minimum amount listed will be disposed of for scrap value or held until the next surplus equipment bid at the discretion of the Controller’s Office.

6. The winning bidder will be notified with instructions on how to pay and where to pick up their purchase. 

7. All items must be picked up within 14 days of notification unless other arrangements have been made. 

8. The Controller’s Office will maintain a file on all equipment disposed of for review by all interested parties for a period a least equal to what is defined by Massachusetts record retention requirements.


All bids must be in U.S. Dollars. The university reserves the right to reject any bid if deemed in the university's best interests.


Public Sale of Surplus Vehicles and Miscellaneous Items

Departments who have a vehicle(s) that is/are no longer needed and would like to sell, trade-in, transfer, should contact fleet operations at fleetops [at] to make sure the process runs smoothly.  


The Director of Facilities Administrative Services in Facilities and Campus Planning is responsible for reporting any purchase, donation, sale, or title transfer of any land. Any transfer of title between related entities, such as the UMass Building Authority, UMass Foundation, the state, or another campus, must also be reported. If structures exist on the property acquisition, the value of the land and building must be broken out separately. Fair market value will be used for any donated property. 

Buildings, Construction, & Land Improvements

Facilities and Campus Planning are responsible for capital construction. The criteria for capital construction occur when estimated costs reach $25,000, must be new construction or extend the useful life of an existing building, and may not be routine maintenance. Some capital renovations may not extend the useful life of a building but are required due to new health/safety standards, new technologies, environmental considerations, building code, or to attract new faculty, staff, and students.  Projects under $25,000 are expensed as incurred.  

Facilities and Campus Planning is responsible for reporting demolished buildings, condemned or impaired properties, abandoned use, and any pollution remediation defined in GASB 49.

Capitalizable costs associated with acquisitions, new construction, and renovation/improvements include (but are not limited to):

  • The original contract price of construction 
  • Expenses incurred in remodeling, reconditioning, or altering a purchased building to make it available for its intended purpose.
  • Site work; excavation, grading, landfill, clearing timber, utilities, demolition of structures within the footprint of the new construction.
  • Design and supervision costs
  • Building permits
  • Legal and architectural fees
  • Insurance costs during the construction phase

Periodically, the Controller’s Office reviews the ledger for non-Facilities plant fund projects to see if any activity should be capitalized.  

Capital projects are budgeted from campus funds and approved by the Budget Office. Large multi-million-dollar construction projects are either bond funded by the UMass Building Authority or managed by state DCAM (Department of Capital Asset Management).  

Facilities and Campus Planning continually monitor campus needs for capital improvements. Projects are ranked by priority, with health or safety-related improvements getting the highest priority. 

Project costs are tracked in a PeopleSoft project ID that Facilities and Campus Services set up. A Facilities project manager is assigned to each project to oversee the work, approve expenses, and monitor budgets. Facilities and Campus Planning reviews expenses paid with state funds and reconciles MMARS and PeopleSoft monthly.  

Retainage is a state mandated 5% holdback on all progress billings. With satisfactory completion of a project, evidenced by the project manager’s final signoff on completion, all retained amounts are paid to the contractor. At yearend, the value of (CIP) projects is multiplied by 5%, and a single accrued retainage payable is recorded as CIP with an offset to A/P.

Capitol project reporting is performed through a PeopleSoft query. Each project is coded as capital or non-capital work. It further breaks out capital work into CIP and completed projects. 

Completed projects are added to PeopleSoft Asset Management (AM) system. AM calculates annual depreciation expense, and this amount is journalized quarterly to the ledger.

AM is a PeopleSoft module that receives an interface feed from Accounts Payable, but it does not feed capital transactions to the ledger. Annually (in total), all additions, retirements, depreciation, and gain/loss on disposal are booked in yearend accruals by the Controller’s Office.


Capital Coding in Project module:

  • Projects start with the letter “F” or “P” and flagged as CAP (capital).
  • The Active status of a Project (status = “A”) means the project is still ongoing and is classified as CIP in yearend reporting.
  • When a project is complete, the status is changed from “A” to “I”, for Inactive, meaning the project is complete and in service. Facilities notify the Controller’s Office that a project is complete and must be inactivated. The project is first entered into the Asset Management system (capitalization) and then inactivated.
  • Program code G11 (Operations & Maintenance expense) generally means the project is non-capital. Program code G99 (Operations & Maintenance excluded) generally means the project is capitalizable. 
  • Life = Depreciation Useful Life
  • The budget is estimated and only used as a guide to see if we will reach the minimum capitalization threshold of $25,000
  • Building Code – This is a location code used for inventory and grouping all building improvements


“A” (active) project = CIP.  

CIP projects are not entered into Asset Management until they are complete. However, CIP is booked at a summary level in the ledger.

A project manager oversees each Facility project. 

Change orders for jobs are approved by the Director of Facilities and Campus Planning to ensure appropriate funds are available in the contingency account. Any excess of a project budget is swept into the contingency account. At the end of the year, if there is an excess in the contingency account, it is used for the following year’s projects. The excess is returned if the project is funded from a special purpose fund.  

When a project is satisfactorily completed, the project manager signs off as completed, and that starts the accounting process for booking the asset into Peoplesoft Asset Management system.

  1. The project Manager signs off that the job is completed.
  2. Facilities accounting staff approve any final invoices for payment, including any 5% retainage holdback.
  3. Facilities accounting staff ensure that no cash remains on chartfield string (CFS).
  4. A list of projects to be closed out (or inactivated) is emailed to the Controller’s Office.
  5. The Assistant Controller runs a PS query and reviews all coding (capital/non-capital, Location, Useful Live, Type of work). Query results are copied into a shared closeout spreadsheet. Facilities closeout email is forwarded to the assent Management custodian in Property Management. 
  6. Projects can only be booked into AM while the project ID is in active status (status = “A”). The AM custodian books all capital projects opens the shared closeout spreadsheet, notes the project was capitalized by typing in the date of record in AM column, forwards Facilities email to Controller’s Office chartfield maintainer for CFS inactivation (status = “I”). 
  7. This ends the process.


Software greater than $100,000 is capitalized and includes large administrative systems or significant upgrades of existing software.

Capital Leases

These include assets owned by third parties. The campus reviews all lease agreements for capitalization. The university follows GASB 87 for lease accounting.  

Library Books

In fiscal years after 2012, library book additions were no longer capitalized. Carrying prior fiscal year additions at cost without recording depreciation expenses will continue. Each year the oldest layer will be written off as disposal of a plant asset. This will continue until the final layer is retired in F/Y 2026. Library books include monographs, bound periodicals, microfilm, microfiche, and other similar library items. 

Capital Asset Useful Lives

Category Description Years Profile Description Status
Building – Original 40 Administration Depreciable
Building – Original 40 Athletic - Buildings Depreciable
Building – Original 40 Athletic - Stadium Depreciable
Building – Original 40 Hotel Depreciable
Building – Original 40 Instruction Depreciable
Building – Original 40 Plant - Non-Mechanical Depreciable
Building – Original 40 Academic Non-Research Depreciable
Building – Original 40 Residential Depreciable
Building – Original 40 Academic Research Envelope Depreciable
Building – Original 20 Garage Depreciable
Building – Original 20 Greenhouses Depreciable
Building – Original 20 Plant - Complex Mechanical Depreciable
Building – Original 20 Trailers Depreciable
Building – Original 20 Academic Resrch System Comp Depreciable
Land Improvements 20 Land Imps-,Fence, Paving Depreciable
Building Improvements 20 Bldg Imp-Envlpe-Roof,Flr,Wall Depreciable
Building Improvements 15 Bldg Imp-Fxtures,Elevatrs,HVAC Depreciable
Equipment - Movable 12 Marine Vessels Depreciable
Building Improvements 10 Bldg Imp-System Components Depreciable
Equipment - Movable 10 Maint,Plant Equip,Tools,Machin Depreciable
Equipment Fixed/Installed 10 Equipment - Fixed/Installed Depreciable
Equipment - Movable 7 Buses, Heavy/Industrial Vehicl Depreciable
Equipment - Movable 7 Office, Classroom, Rec Equp/Furn Depreciable
Building Improvements 5 Bldg Imp-Residential Imps Depreciable
Equipment - Movable 5 Automobiles-Passenger Depreciable
Equipment - Movable 5 Computers, Telecom, Multimedia Depreciable
Equipment - Movable 5 Lab, Scientific, Research 5 yr Depreciable
Equipment - Movable 5 Weapons Depreciable
Leased Equipment 5 Lease Purchase Equipment Depreciable
Software 5 Large Administrative Systems Depreciable