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Office of Sponsored Awards Management


Generally, equipment is defined as any item with an acquisition cost of $5,000 or more per unit and a useful life of more than one year.


Incorporating Equipment Into Your Budget

  • Each individual equipment item must be identified, priced and justified separately.
  • Calculate state and local taxes on equipment. You may use the USC Tax Exemption Form [pdf] to request an exemption from state taxes. In order to qualify for the exemption, the equipment's use must be novel or produce something that is novel.
  • List shipping and freight charges for equipment under Other Direct Costs.
  • Some non-federal sponsors may have different definitions of equipment. Contact your SAM Administrator to discuss these variances.
  • If it is necessary to specify a particular brand of equipment, complete the USC Procurement Exemption Certification Form in USCeRA.  This certification only applies if the brand-specific equipment is essential to the success of the project and does not involve a conflict of interest. If available, include a quote from the vendor as an attachment for the proposal.


  • Facilities and administrative costs (indirect costs) do not apply to equipment.
  • Individual computer software over $5,000 does not carry indirect costs.
  • Items for all federally funded proposals with a unit cost under $5,000 should be included under the Materials and Supplies section of the budget.