- General Property Terms
- Inventory Control
- Acquisition of University Property
- Missing/Stolen Property
- Important Phone Numbers
The State of Texas is striving to standardize all reporting related to:
- Accounting (USAS)
- Property (SPA)
- Payroll (USPS)
If a state agency fails to keep records or fails to take an annual physical inventory, the Comptroller may refuse to draw warrants or initiate electronic fund transfers on behalf of the agency. The State Property Accounting (SPA) policy and procedures manual reads:
"Each agency should ensure than an employee entrusted with property exercises, at a minimum, reasonable care for its safekeeping. The term "reasonable care" means that steps have been taken to maintain the upkeep of any property in an acceptable manner, to ensure the security of any property, to ensure that the property can be located at any time requested, and to ensure that the person responsible for that property is known."
- The University of Texas El Paso capitalization threshold is $5,000.00.
- The useful life criteria is 2 years.
The purpose of this handbook is to acquaint University personnel with current state laws and University regulations and procedures to when using, safeguarding, and disposing of University property.
House Bill no. 753, enacted by the 52nd Legislature, as amended, established the basic guidelines for state property accounting and responsibility. House Bill no. 1673, enacted by the 66th Legislature (Article 601B, V.T.C.S.), establishes the current guidelines for property accounting and responsibility.
General Property Terms
Consumables typically have a life of less than one year.
Capital Equipment (Fixed Assets)
Property, often called personal property refers to furniture, equipment, works of art, and other non consumable items with an expected life of greater than one year. This does not include regulations concerning real property such as buildings or land. Personal property with a unit cost of $5,000.00 or greater is considered a capital asset and is recorded on the University inventory at its acquisition cost plus any costs incurred to place the property into service (i.e., freight, installation, training, and other related expenses). The original acquisition cost plus any subsequent betterment costs is the value of the property carried on the University's inventory. If the property is sold or transferred to another university, state agency, or department, the property's value will continue to be recorded as the original acquisition cost plus subsequent betterment costs. Personal property with a unit cost of less than $5,000.00 is not capitalized.
The following items (in accordance with the State Comptroller's policy and procedure) are inventoried as controlled property. These items are listed on the University's inventory, but are not considered capitalized unless the acquisition cost is $5,000.00 or greater.
Controlled Items ($500 or Greater):
- Fax Machines
- Stereo Systems
- TV/VCR Combinations
- Video Recorders/Players
- Micro Computers
- CD Recorders
Controlled Items (Any Cost):
- Hand Guns
- Machine Guns
- Shot Guns
Texas Government Code Ann. Sec. 403.273 (Vernon Sup. 1993) reads, in part:
"The head of each state agency is responsible for the custody and care of state property in the agency's possession. Furthermore, it is each state employee's responsibility to use state personal property to official purposes only, and to exercise reasonable care for its safekeeping. The term "reasonable care" means that, at a minimum, steps have been taken to maintain the upkeep of any property in an acceptable manner, ensures the security of any asset, ensures that the property can be located at any time requested, and ensures that the person responsible for the asset is known."
Tagging/Labeling of Inventory
The Inventory Section assigns a unique five-digit inventory control number to capital assets and controlled property. If tagging is not feasible, the inventory number is marked on the property with permanent ink. Items that cannot be marked in any way (i.e., art, software, etc.) are assigned an inventory number and included on the department's inventory. The original tag is kept on file in the inventory office, and a copy of the purchase order and assigned tag number is sent to the department for their files. Additionally, all personal property (regardless of value) should have a UTEP label to identify the item as University property. Although these items are not inventoried, they are still considered University property and should be properly used, maintained, and protected.
Department heads are responsible for the daily care of property and are accountable for items assigned to their area. The UTEP Office of Auditing and Advisory Services and the Inventory Department will conduct random departmental audits throughout the year that will include the testing of property controls. To facilitate these audits, it is recommended that the departments have the following documentation on file and accessible at all times:
- Copy of the department's most recent physical inventory and exceptions listings
- Missing/Stolen Reports
- Campus Police Incident Reports
- Correspondence to the Inventory Department
- Inventory Transfers & Authorizations for Property Removal from Campus will be processed through the Asset Workflow system
- Documentation for property turned in for repair/trade-in
Additionally, information on preventive maintenance, calibration schedules, warranty information, and service contracts should be maintained. Ideally, departments should maintain inventory records in one location and establish internal procedures and personnel to keep the records updated.
Removal of Equipment from University Premises
University owned property may be removed from the campus and other University facilities to be used in conducting official business of the University. Such property is not for personal use. When an item is taken off campus, the individual assumes financial responsibility for the property. A Removal of Equipment from the University Campus can be requested via the Asset Workflow system and with the approval from the chairperson or other authorized official.
Loan of Equipment
Departments may lend equipment to another department of state agency for official purposes. Both parties should understand that the inventory records are not affected by a loan transaction; the lending department remains responsible for the property. The head of the lending agency should ensure that a responsible official of the borrowing department acknowledges receipt of the item.
Equipment Returned to Manufacturer for Repair or Replacement
When returning equipment to the manufacturer for repair, departments should make note of the inventory and serial number of the property. If there is a possibility that the original item will not be returned, the UTEP inventory tag should be removed and returned to the inventory office. A new number will be assigned to the replacement unit. No property should be returned to the manufacturer with UTEP property tags.
Annual Physical Inventory
The UTEP Inventory Department conducts a "perpetual" inventory of all capitalized and controlled property on campus every fiscal year. The department first conducts a "wall to wall" inventory of all buildings on campus and then returns to each individual department to conduct a follow-up inventory on any remaining missing items.
Acquisition of University Property
The University purchases most of its property. Other sources of University property include fabrication, gifts, and transfers from sponsoring or government agencies. The Inventory Office should be notified of any gift received that fit the criteria of capitalized or controlled property, with documentation to ensure that the property is tagged and included in the department inventory.
All items purchased with University funds are University property. Likewise, all items purchases on 26 accounts (federal) are University property unless specifically exempted by the terms of agreement. Under award agreements with certain agencies (usually federal), the sponsor may retain title to the property.
Fabricated equipment valued at over $5,000.00 is assigned an inventory number and added to the department's inventory. Departments that are involved in fabricating equipment will have some means of keeping track of all costs related to the fabrication. When a department fabricates equipment, they must provide the Inventory Section with the item's description, cost documentation, department, and physical location.
The University often receives gifts in kind such as furniture, equipment, works of art, etc. Upon formal acceptance by the University, these non-cash gifts become property of the University. When notified in writing of a gift's acceptance, the Inventory Section will assign an inventory number and tag the item if possible. Property acquired through donation must be recorded at its estimated fair market value on the date of acquisition. The method used to appraise the value of gifts should be based on reasonable assessment. This method must be fully documented and maintained on file. All donations of property must be handled through the University's Development Office. This office ensures that proper procedures are followed in valuing the donation and filing the appropriate IRS forms. Inventory should be advised of all donations that meet the capitalization of control criteria.
Government Excess Property
Occasionally, the University obtains equipment from U.S. Government excess property sources. This surplus is available to other agencies, colleges and universities. Unless otherwise indicated in the transfer documents, equipment acquired from government excess property sources becomes University property upon acceptance by the department. If the unit value is $5,000.00 or greater, or the property is a controlled item, the Inventory Section assigns and affixes a property number to the item(s) and records the transaction on the acquiring department's inventory.
Property Acquired Under Federal Grants and Contracts
As of September 1, 2002, UTEP's capitalization threshold for federal property is $5,000.00. Equipment acquired under a federal grant or contract is University property unless specifically exempted by the terms of the agreement. The property is placed on the responsible Principal Investigator's inventory records and is noted on the inventory system as being federally funded. It should be handled and protected as University property. Principal investigators may require full time use of equipment acquired with the grant of contract funds to perform the research specified in the agreement. Such exclusive use is permissible; however, ownership of the equipment is vested with the University, not with the individual, unless specifically stated in the grant.
Grants may specify that equipment acquired with grant funds be transferred upon request by the awarding agency. The usual reason for this involves transfer of the principal investigator and the grant to a new institution. When requested, the University will provide the receiving institution and sponsoring agency with an equipment listing including the dates of purchase and acquisition costs. The receiving institution should acknowledge receipt of the equipment and furnish copies of the acknowledgement to the University.
Before transferring equipment to another institution, the PI should submit a letter to the Office of Contracts and Grants through the Dean, Director, or Department Chairperson, requesting approval. Include the grant number, grant name, the name of the receiving institution, and the name and title of the official authorized to receive the property in the letter. Also include the inventory number, item description, acquisition cost, and year acquired. In addition, a copy of the letter from the granting agency directing the transfer of the grant and equipment to the new institution should accompany the request. Do not remove the equipment from the University until the Department Head has received approval from the University's Inventory Supervisor. After approval, the department will remove the inventory tag and sent it to the Inventory Supervisor along with a copy of the transfer authorization. This will authorize the Inventory Supervisor to adjust the department's inventory.
Under no circumstances should property owned by the federal government be transferred to another department or Surplus or otherwise disposed of without acquiring clearance of ownership through the Office of Contracts and Grants. When such a transfer is requested via Property Transfer Form, copies of the ownership clearance documentation should accompany the transfer request. If the documentation is not provided, the transfer will be routed to the Office of Contracts and Grants for approval as no change can be made regarding federal property without appropriate clearance from the sponsoring federal agency.
The Asset Workflow is used to transfer equipment from department to department. Do not physically relocate any property until the receiving department has approved the transfer. Until the transaction is approved by the receiving department, the transferring department remains accountable for the property.
University departments may trade equipment (with the exception of Contracts and Grants funded equipment) for credit toward a new equipment purchase. On the new item's purchasing documents, departments should note the description of the item being traded in, its inventory number, and trade-in allowance. This is necessary to account for the traded item properly and to remove it from the inventory listings. Further, before the trade-in, the department must remove the inventory tag and send it to the Inventory Supervisor.
If the new item is not on the department's next annual inventory listing, the department should inform the Inventory Section. If available, send a copy of the new item's purchase order to the Inventory Supervisor to verify trade-in.
When University property wears out, breaks, or otherwise becomes unserviceable, the department will transfer the item(s) to Surplus via Asset Workflow. This is the proper way to dispose of excess/unserviceable property. Never discard University property haphazardly, yet do not keep property when it is excess/unserviceable to the department's needs. Upon receipt of the Asset workflow with the appropriate approvals, Surplus will in turn approve the transfer and arrange to pick up surplus property from the department or have the department arrange for its delivery. Keep the property in the best condition possible and leave the inventory tags affixed before transfer. Surplus personnel will remove inventory tags when appropriate. Surplus property will remain on the Surplus inventory listing until it is disposed of.
Departments will not dispose of property acquired from U.S. Government sources at any time or for any reason, as there may be restrictions on disposal of these items. Refer to federal property information regarding transfers to Surplus.
There are times when it is practical and economical to remove parts from an item that is obsolete, broken, or to be discarded. This practice is known as cannibalization and should be avoided. However, if the University is best served by removing parts from an item before being disposed, the department should submit a Request for Cannibalization Form to the Inventory Supervisor for permission to cannibalize equipment. The Inventory Supervisor will contact the department to inspect the property and approve/disapprove the cannibalization. Upon approval, the Inventory Department will sign the form and remove the property control number. After cannibalization, the remaining parts of the item will be transferred to Surplus via Property Transfer Form. Departments should not dispose of the remains of the item at any time.
Texas Government Code Ann. Sec. 403.27(a), (b) (Vernon Sup, 1993) reads:
- If the head of an agency has reasonable cause to believe that any state property in the agency's possession has been lost, destroyed, or damaged through the negligence or fault of any state official or employee, the agency head responsible will immediately report the loss to the State Auditor and to the Attorney General via the Comptroller's office.
- The Attorney General will investigate a report of loss, destruction, or damage to state property, and where appropriate, take legal action to recover the value of the state property. The Attorney General will determine the value to be recovered based on the value of the asset and the degree of responsibility.
University property is considered missing when it cannot be found, but no evidence of theft is apparent (i.e. forced entry, etc.). The following procedure should be followed immediately for any property determined to be missing:
The department should conduct a thorough search for the property. If it is not located, a Notification of Missing/Stolen Property form should be submitted as soon as possible with the required signatures to the General Accounting Services office. The missing property will be listed as such on the department's inventory listing for two inventory cycles after the initial report. At this time, the State Comptroller will decide whether to remove the missing item from the system or conduct a further search. Missing property is reported to the State Property Accounting System (SPA) on a quarterly basis.
University property is considered stolen when there is evidence of forced entry. The following procedure will be followed when it is determined that University property has been stolen:
- Notify Campus Police immediately.
- Complete the Missing/Stolen Property Form.
- Send the form and the campus police report to the inventory office as soon as possible. The Inventory Department is required by State law to report stolen property to the State Auditor within 24 hours of the loss.
Stolen property will remain on the department's inventory listing for two inventory cycles after the initial report. The Office of the Attorney General of the State of Texas will prosecute employees if they are involved in a theft of state property or if there is reasonable evidence that the employee showed negligence in care and security of the property.
Asset Workflow will address the following:
- Authorization to Remove Equipment Off Campus
- Authorization to Return Equipment to Campus
- Surplus Property Transfers
- Transfers between Departments
Important Phone Numbers
Phone: (915) 747-7137
Fax: (915) 747-7219
Phone: (915) 747-7811
Fax: (915) 747-5562