Buying Capital Equipment

When purchasing equipment with a value of $5,000 or more, there are things to take into consideration to ensure you are processing your order in compliance. There is also a specific BearBuy form to use for capital equipment purchases.     

When Purchasing Capital Equipment or Software


Consider using any established agreements that could help determine your supplier selection, possibly improve product pricing, and offer better terms and conditions of sale. Refer to the UCOP Systemwide Agreement listing to see if an agreement applies to your purchase. If you are using such an agreement please enter as much contract information (title, reference, number, etc.) as you can in the Equipment Description field.

  1. Department makes a determination that the purchase is capital equipment.
  • Verify that the equipment has a normal life expectancy of more than one year, and is not expendable. Non-expendable means that the equipment is not consumed by its use.
  • Verify that the capitalized cost will exceed $5,000. The $5,000 value includes the price of the equipment and other costs needed to put the equipment into service such as required installation services, startup components, accessories, startup kits (e.g. regents), freight, handling and sales tax. 
  • Establish the purchase requirements, e.g. installation, warranty, accessories, special training, start-up kit, etc.
  1. Department determines if trade-in will be involved.
  • If a trade-in is part of the purchase, the Department Asset Custodian must approve the release of the trade-in before the requisition is submitted.
  • Establish the price for trade-in and arrangements for the supplier to receive or pick up the product.

Using the Capital Equipment Form


  1. Complete the Equipment Information section of the form. The Equipment Description should include the type of equipment and/or a list of major components that make up the equipment configuration.
  2. Provide the Supplier Part Number (this is the supplier’s identification number for the equipment model), Manufacturer Name and Manufacturer Part Number (this is the model number and may be the same as the supplier’s part number).
  3. In the Price field enter the price of the equipment.
  • Include the value of any software that is essential to running the equipment (it is part of the capitalized price). Do not include any software that is listed on the quotation as an additional item. Do not include software that is not critical to the operation of the equipment. 
  • Reduce the price by the amount of trade-in amount. For example, if the equipment is $5,500 and the trade-in amount is $500, enter the Price as $5,000) Note: this form is not designed to calculate sales tax on trade-in value.
  1. Enter the Quantity.
  2.  If there is a trade-in, enter the value in the Trade In Amount field.
  • If there is a trade-in, specify the Tag Number of the equipment to be traded in in the Additional Internal Comment field. The Tag Number is noted on a Capital Accounting Tag placed on the equipment.
  1. Use the Additional Installation Information field to include information such as the expected date(s) of installation, duration, any special requirements needed by vendor, etc.
  2. The Additional Warranty Information field can be used to identify general warranty provisions such as warranty period, usually expressed in a number of days, e.g., 90 days (calendar days unless otherwise stated) and coverage (e.g., parts, labor and travel).
  3. Delivery Contact Information identifies the person that the equipment will be delivered to. Typically this is not the same person as the Requester or Requisition Approver of an order.
  4. Complete the Department Information. Specify the department name as well as the contact information for the departmental person who will answer technical questions (e.g. setting up equipment, equipment functionality, etc.) about the equipment.

10. Complete the Selection Justification. Indicate if any of the statements in this section apply by checking the statement’s corresponding checkbox.

  • If you choose any of the statements under the “If no other comparable products/services are acceptable” section, provide an explanation for each selected statement in the Additional Internal Comment field.

11. Complete a separate Capital Equipment Form for each piece of equipment ordered on the requisition.

  • To do this, fill out the Capital Equipment Form completely for the first piece of equipment, then from the Available Actions dropdown on the form, select Add to cart and click the Go button. This will add the form to the cart and keep the form open with all the information previously filled out on the form.
  • You can reuse the form to add the next piece of equipment by changing the appropriate sections of the form and adding the form to the cart again.

12. Indicate whether your equipment is taxable in the cart.

  • If the equipment is taxable, check the Taxable checkbox for each line.
  • If the equipment is not taxable, do not check the Taxable checkbox for each line.

13. Specify the asset management codes, especially the Custody Code.

  • After clicking the Proceed to Checkout button, navigate to the Asset Management tab.
  • Input the Custody Code and Asset Location.
  • Input the Tag Number ONLY if the purchase is adding to the value of an existing piece of equipment.
  • Add-to-Value vs. Replacement component Add-to-Value refers to a component part with a cost of $5,000 or greater which permanently increases the value or useful life of an existing University owned unit of inventorial equipment and is added to the value of that unit as a capital transaction. The description of upgraded equipment items should be revised to reflect any material enhancements.
  • If you have a different set of asset management codes for each piece of equipment, specify them for each line.

14. If the equipment purchase uses sponsored project funding sources, please specify the following Accounts for each sponsored project funding source in the Accounting Codes (chartfields) section during checkout:

  • 51321 - Sponsored proj equip >$5K, non-comp
  • 51322 - Sponsored proj computer >$5K

Important Links 


  • BUS - 29 - Management and Control of University Equipment
  • BUS-38 – Disposition of Excess Property and Transfer of University—Owned Property - outlines general requirements to ensure the proper protection of, accounting for, and disposition of University-owned excess property.
  • A-51, Application of Proceeds from the Sale, Trade-in, or Transfer of University Property
  • Department Capitalized Asset Custodian Manual

Background and Other Information


  1. Software included with the purchase cost of hardware (not separately identified on the vendor's invoice) shall be capitalized and included as part of the value of inventorial equipment.
  2. When it is time to dispose of inventorial equipment, the Department Asset Custodian will work with Capital Accounting, and the Office of Sponsored Research if applicable, to ensure the equipment can be traded in.
  3. Special procedures are required to trade-in property to which the University holds conditional title. (Conditional title reserves to the transferor the right to revoke transfer of title, to receive the proceeds of any subsequent sale, or to acquire an interest in replacement.) Generally, departments should obtain unrestricted title to property before it is declared excess for disposal.