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Donations of Tangible and Real Property


The following statement provides procedures for accepting and reporting donations of tangible property to the University of Kansas, Lawrence campuses.

Applies to: 

All University of Kansas Departments

Table of Contents: 
Policy Statement: 
  1. Purpose

    The following statement provides procedures for accepting and reporting donations of tangible property to the University of Kansas, Lawrence campuses.

  2. General Guidelines

    University schools/departments have the authority to accept donations of tangible property. Donations of tangible property to the University include but are not limited to works of art, manuscripts, literary works, boats, airplanes, motor vehicles, computer hardware and software, and research equipment. Prior to acceptance, the Office of the University General Counsel will review all gift documents regarding any item or a group of items with an appraised value over $5,000.

    The Business & Financial Planning Office and University General Counsel shall handle gifts of real property. Real property includes improved or unimproved land, personal residences, farmland, commercial property, and rental property.

    Additionally all capital assets, which are donated to the University, must be included in the Oracle Financials Asset Management System inventory. It is the responsibility of each school/department to notify Financial Services Property Accounting team when equipment and other assets are donated to the University.

  3. Procedures

    Tangible Personal Property:

    • Donor makes initial offer of the gift in a letter or other written document to the Dean, Director or Chair. The letter should include a detailed description of the item including manufacturer, model, serial number and condition. For works of art, descriptions should include artist, title, medium, dimensions; good quality photograph(s) if possible, and documents relevant to the original source of the item if available
    • KU General Counsel must review any gifts that have a restriction prior to preliminary acceptance.
    • The school/department has authority to either accept or not accept the donation.


      • Motor Vehicles (e.g. car, truck, airplane, etc.): Due to additional licensing and insurance requirements, acceptance of all motor vehicle donations require approval by the Provost office.
      • Hazardous Materials: Departments are required to contact Environmental Health & Safety (EHS) prior to accepting any tangible property that has been exposed to potentially hazardous materials (e.g. used research equipment).
    • The donor should be notified in writing if the school/department officially accepts or rejects the offered item.
    • The University will not appraise or arrange for an appraisal of any donated item. It is the donor’s responsibility to have the material appraised if donor wishes to take a tax deduction. At most, the school/department may supply a list of appraisers from whom the donor could choose.
    • The donor should be requested to supply the school/department with a copy of the appraisal, which will be necessary for an item or group of items of a value of more than $5,000. For gifts of a lesser value, the appraisal is useful for our records, and to establish insurance values (if applicable). The appraisal is normally paid for by the donor, and has traditionally been tax deductible along with the gift. Donors should discuss gifts with their own tax preparer to keep abreast of the most current guidelines regarding deductions.
    • Once the donated property has been delivered to the school/department, the donor is sent a letter of acknowledgement. Note – The letter of acknowledgement should not reference any valuation assigned to the donated property. The letter should only recognize the receipt of the property by the school/department. Refer to attached “Sample Acknowledgement Letter.”
    • In addition to the letter of acknowledgement, the school/department is responsible for completing any additional paperwork required to complete the transfer of title from the donor to the University. Please contact Financial Services Property Accounting regarding potential documentation requirements.
    • Financial Services Property Accounting shall be notified of any donations that meet current capitalization thresholds ($5,000 and useful life greater than one year). The donated item is considered part of the department’s equipment inventory and will be assigned an asset id and bar code tag. Copies of documentation related to the gift (e.g. initial offer letter from donor describing item and independent appraisal, if obtained) shall be provided to Property Accounting to ensure proper recording of the item within the Asset Management System. If no appraisal is available, the school/department is responsible for providing an estimated value to the Property Accounting team for internal asset tracking purposes.


      • Motor Vehicles and Trailers – Since the Property Accounting team is responsible for maintaining all vehicle and trailer titles centrally, schools/departments are required to submit all motor vehicle and trailer donations to the Property Accounting team regardless of the estimated value.
    • For tax reporting purposes, donations with a fair market value (appraised or estimated) over $5,000 require the donor to complete IRS form 8283, which has a section that must be completed and signed by the University. The official signature authority for this form is the Controller. The IRS 8283 should always be accompanied by an appraisal.
    • Additionally, in order to coordinate our efforts of acknowledgement to the donor, KU Endowment has requested that the school/department also notify KU Endowment Gift Processing when any donation is received by submitting a “KU Gift In Kind Donation” form.
    • Donated property may not be disposed of within three years of the date of the gift without the approval of the Controller. If approved, FInancial Services Property Accounting is responsible for filing an information return on IRS Form 8282 and sending a copy to the donor. NOTE: It is the expectation of the University that accepted tangible property donations will be used by the school/department and not immediately sold.

    Real Property:

    • Due to the complexity of these types of transactions, questions regarding gifts of real estate should be referred to the Business & Financial Planning Office or University General Counsel.
  4. Sample Acknowledgement Letter

    Sample Acknowledgement Letter
    (To be printed on official University letterhead)


    Dear [Donor],

    Thank you for your generous donation of [detailed description of gift – do not include a dollar value for non-cash gifts] to the KU [School/Unit]. [Additional sentiments or description of how the gift will be used]

    This letter is your official acknowledgement for tax purposes that the University of Kansas has accepted your donation. No goods or services were provided in exchange for this donation. For additional details regarding whether or not this donation may be treated as a tax deduction, we recommend that you contact your tax advisor.

    We thank you for your generosity and support.



    [Dept Representative]


Controller's Office
1450 Jayhawk Blvd.
Strong Hall

Approved by: 
Approved on: 
Thursday, December 15, 2005
Effective on: 
Thursday, December 15, 2005
Review Cycle: 
Annual (As Needed)
Tangible property, real property, donation, appraisal, fair market value, IRS Form 8282, IRS Form 8283, KU Gift In Kind Donation, Donor Acknowledgement Letter
Change History: 

08/02/2023: Technical update; corrected name/title.
07/21/2023: Technical update; corrected name/title.
02/17/2023: Updated contact section.
04/15/2021: Updated Contact, Approver, and owning unit sections from Comptroller to Financial Services.
06/27/2017: Fixed broken link.
07/05/2016: Updated to remove gendered pronouns.
02/06/2015: Policy formatting cleanup (e.g., bolding, spacing).
01/17/2014: Updated to add link to form for KU Gift In Kind Donation, and add link to related policy on Guidelines for Acceptance of In-kind Gifts.
03/01/2007: Updated

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