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Frequently Asked Questions

What is surplus property?

It’s property belonging to the federal government which has gone through the federal agency screening cycle and is excess to all federal needs. Idaho statutes authorize the state agency to receive, warehouse, and distribute surplus property in accordance with federal laws and regulations.

What are the basic eligibility requirements?

Evidence that the organization: (1) meets a federal definition of a particular type eligible institution; (2) meets civil rights compliance requirements; (3) is tax supported or nonprofit and tax exempt under IRS 501; and (4) is approved by a State governing board or accredited by a recognized accrediting council.

How does the State acquire surplus property?

The General Services Administration (GSA), through its regional allocating offices, receives Idaho’s requests or applications, along with those of other states, and allocates the property according to needs, resources, ability to utilize and other factors which include entitlement formulas based on Idaho’s population and per capita income. Once property is allocated, Idaho is responsible for transporting, warehousing and distribution.

What is meant by “screening” property?

Screening is a method used to determine if a need exists for the available property. It normally is accompanied by visual inspection of the item, referencing the item by stock number, or determining by experience or expertise that the item would be of use to an eligible recipient in Idaho.

What is the property condition?

Property is received in both new and used condition. Normally, there is utility in all items. The quality varies but repairs or modifications are often necessary.

Are there charges for the property?

Yes. Service and handling charges are placed on all property which is distributed by this agency. The fees are based on total expenses in acquiring, transporting, warehousing and transferring the property, but are equalized by fair value and other contributing factors.

How are the service and handling charges collected?

All property is transferred on an open account basis. They may be paid either by invoice or by the agency’s end of the month statement. The agency is NOT authorized to accept personal checks, cashier’s checks, money orders, or cash. All checks in payment of service and handling charges must be issued by the eligible donee organization, and made payable to the Idaho Bureau of Federal Surplus Property.

May adjustments be made on assessed handling charges?

In certain cases. All property is transferred to the donee on an “AS IS, WHERE IS” basis WITHOUT warranty of any kind. Some credit adjustments may be approved on property returned within 30 days of issue. Such credit will be approved only on a case-by-case situation. Property transferred directly from a federal installation is NOT RETURNABLE. Property returned for credit must be returned to our Caldwell warehouse at the donee’s expense.

What happens to the collected service and handling charges?

The receipts are used ONLY for the agency operation. The Idaho Federal Surplus Property Agency is a self supporting agency which does not receive any tax funding.

Does the agency distribute a catalog?

No. It’s not practical for the agency to distribute a catalog because of the tremendous volume of property handled. The agency does list SOME of the available items on a bulletin which is distributed on at least a quarterly basis.

Does the agency repair or renovate property?

Yes, on a limited scale. As an example, Idaho Federal Surplus Property performs repairs on some vehicles and equipment prior to offering them for donation.

What is the best method of program utilization?

By far, the most efficient use of the program is through the use of the online inventory search. The inventory updates every 1/2 hour. Customers need to keep in mind that items as “bulk” online may not be available in quantities listed as other agencies may already have requests for that property. Another way to utilize the program is to make frequent, regular visits to our warehouse. There are THOUSANDS of items on display, ready for immediate transfer and new items arrive almost daily.

How many times may a donee visit the warehouse?

There are no limits on visits. The agency warehouse is open from 8:00 A.M. to 5:00 P.M., Monday through Friday.. The agency is closed on all legal holidays.

How does the agency distribute hard-to-find/high-demand items?

Any donee desiring one of more of these items must send such a request along with a letter of justification explaining the severity of need, and the proposed usage of the item. Such items are allocated to the donee who shows the greatest need and best utilization potential. Every effort is made to promote fair and equitable property distribution.

May an individual purchase or use surplus property?

NO! Federal and state law prohibits such action.

Are there restrictions on the use of surplus property?

Yes. Certification forms, distribution documents and the invoice signed upon receipt of property, outline these restrictions. The donee should be familiar with all restrictions which include, in part, that all property must be needed and placed in eligible use within 12 months and kept in eligible use for an additional 12 months. SPECIAL RESTRICTIONS APPLY on all real property, aircraft, large boats, passenger motor vehicles, special use items, and items having a unit acquisition cost of $5,000 or more.

Does the Idaho agency enforce compliance restrictions?

Yes. The Idaho Federal Surplus Property agency is authorized by federal law to conduct field utilization checks or compliance checks via mail. Any violations must be corrected or the Federal Government is notified.

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