Overview of Property

“Property” means anything that you can own. (See definitions.)

The federal regs classify property along two distinct axes, as discussed below.


Property can be broadly classified as either real property or personal property.

Real property is land and improvements.

Personal property is everything else, including intangible property. (See definitions.)

Personal property subdivides into the following:

Equipment – durable goods with acquisition cost (or current fair market value, at time of disposition) of USD $5k or more;

Supplies – all other tangible goods that aren’t equipment; and

Intangible property - trademarks, copyrights, patents and patent applications, loans, notes and other debt instruments, lease agreements, stock and other instruments of property ownership


Property is also classified according to the USG’s interest in the property.

Accordingly, the USG funder's interest in any given item of property is as follows:

Federally-owned property – title vests with the USG and the property is essentially understood to be on loan to the recipient.

Recipient-owned property acquired with federal funds – title vests with the recipient but the USG retains an interest in the property beyond the life of the funding award as follows:

Equipment – funder provides disposition instructions at award closeout; and

Unused supplies with aggregate value of USD 5k or more – funder provides disposition instructions at award closeout.

(Note that the regulations do not provide for the USG to retain any interest in “used supplies.” They are essentially understood to be “expended” or “used up.” See Property Disposition at Closeout.)

Exempt property – the federal funder has vested title to this property in the recipient without further obligation to the federal government. Property for which title vests in the government of the participating country (rare) and property that is donated to beneficiaries in the participating country (more common) seem to be treated similarly to exempt property.

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