Capital Equipment


Capital Equipment, in its simplest form, is equipment that costs over $5,000 and has a useful life of at least 1 year. There are two main types of Capital Equipment: Capital Assets (such as a Microscope) and Fabrications (such as an optical set-up consisting of many components).

Capital Equipment differs from equipment under $5,000 because Capital Expenditures are depreciated every year so that Harvard has a more accurate record of its total assets. Most Capital Equipment ordered in labs will fall into the scientific depreciation category of having a useful life of 8 years.

In order to help SEAS comply with all University and external requirements regarding the tracking of capital equipment, all equipment over $5,000 needs to have a tag number associated with it.


Please refer to FAS's Capital Equipment in the Sciences website:


  • Capital Asset – defined as equipment costing $5,000 or more. It has one tag # assigned, a primary user, a location and at least one component tracked in the equipment management system.
  • Component – defined as part of an asset and provides detailed information on assets such as Model, Manufacturer, Serial #, Warranty Information etc.
  • Depreciation - defined as allocating the cost of a capital equipment over its useful life for accounting and tax purposes. Depreciation is also a factor in setting the University's overhead rate.
  • Fabrication – defined as pieces of equipment being built over time combining components or materials to produce one identifiable unit. All components must work as one unit to be considered a fabrication. Fabrications are also known as "Work in Progress" and must be charged to object codes 6811 or 6812.
  • Government-Furnished Property or Equipment (GFP) or (GFE) - defined as equipment that is loans to the University for the purpose and duration of a sponsored project.
  • Placed in Service Date - defined as the day the equipment is producing science. For fabrications, this will be the day that the fabrication is assembled and ready for experiments.


The following are object codes that are used when a capital asset/fabrication is purchased. 90% of the time, object codes 6811-6814 will be used because they correspond with direct costs to a sponsored project.

Object Codes Descriptions
6800 Equipment, Furn+Fixtures >=$5000 (Non-Consolidating Tubs Only)
6801 Noncomputer Equip, Non-Sponsored^Equip >=$5000
 6802 Noncomputer Equip, Sponsored^Equip >=$5000
 6803 Computer, Non-Sponsored^Equip >=$5000
 6804 Computer, Sponsored^Equip >=$5000
 6805 Residential Furn+Fixtures, Non-Sponsored^Equip >=$5000
 6806 Residential Furn+Fixtures, Sponsored^Equip >=$5000
 6807 Office Furn+Fixtures, Non-Sponsored^Equip >=$5000
 6808 Office Furn+Fixtures, Sponsored^Equip >=$5000
 6809 Vehicle, Non-Sponsored^Equip >=$5000
 6810 Vehicle, Sponsored^Equip >=$5000
 6811 Non-Sponsored Work in Progress^Equip >=$5000
 6812 Sponsored Work in Progress^Equip >=$5000
 6813 Scientific Equipment, Non-Sponsored^Equip >=$5000
 6814 Scientific Equipment, Sponsored^Equip >=$5000
 6815 Software, Non-Sponsored^Equip >=$5000
 6816 Software, Sponsored ^Equip >=$5000




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